For me Pfeffernüsse or German Gingerbread-style Cookies are all part of the tradition of celebrating Christmas. These are vegan, nut- and gluten-free, as well as processed sugar-free.
Only 8 days ’till Christmas. Have you been counting? I sure have been. To celebrate, and as part of the December SABH hosted by Christina, I made Pfeffernüsse to hand out to our friends and neighbours as a little treat. Loosely translated as Peppernuts they also contain a mixture of lovely gingerbread spices that when baked, fill the house with Christmas cheer!
Traditionally they are iced, covered in chocolate or dusted with a thick coating of icing sugar. The un-iced Pfeffernüsse cookies are a much healthier alternative though and safe for most little visitors as they are gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free and soy-free. To healthy them up even more – since we all know there will be plenty of other food indulgences at the Christmas table, they are sweetened with rice malt syrup and rapadura sugar. If you would like to ice them make sure to check out my older post for traditional gingerbread icing.
Best of all you can make them into more traditional festive shapes using cookie cutters. Poke a hole in each using a drinking straw, bake, thread a piece of string through the hole and you have instant edible Christmas tree decorations!
As a bonus, any leftover scraps can be baked and made into Gingerbread ice cream! *spoken in a German accent:* Good, no?
So, tell me, what is your favourite Christmas food indulgence? Is it sweet or savoury?
Pfeffernusse – German Gingerbread Cookies
- 60 g butter or coconut oil
- 1/4 cup rapadura sugar
- 1/3 cup rice malt syrup
- 1 tbsp Chinese five spice mix
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1.5 tbsp boiling hot water
- 250 gluten-free flour
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- 1 tsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
To make the Pfeffernusse:
- Place butter or coconut oil, rapadura sugar, rice malt syrup and five spice mix into a small saucepan.
- Heat, stirring, over low heat until the spread is melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, mix together ground flaxseed and boiling water until the mixture resembles egg consistency. Set aside to cool.
Once all liquids are cooled to room temperature:
- Place gluten-free flour into a large bowl. Sift in bicarb soda and cacao powder.
- Whisk flaxseed mixture into the cooled butter or coconut oil and sugar mixture.
- Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir together with a spoon until dough forms. It may seem a little sticky but that's ok.
Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced, 350F, gas mark 4). Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
- Shape about 1 tablespoon of the dough into balls and flatten gently. Or roll flatten small batches of dough to about 1/4 inch onto a sheet of baking paper and cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters. Remove scraps and repeat.
- Bake on the middle shelf in a preheated oven for about 11 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.