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Recipe Thu Dec 06 2007
Many children awoke this morning to find the empty shoes they had placed outside their door last night full of candy and small gifts from St. Nick.
In the United States the story of Saint Nicholas is fairly innocuous, promising gifts to good children and coal to bad children. However, the tale was historically quite sinister in parts of Central Europe. German children feared a visit from Saint Nicholas' goat-legged companion, Knecht Ruprecht, who might beat the bad children or sometimes eat them. In Switzerland, Schmutzli would punish bad behavior by putting children in a sack and taking them to the Black Forest where he might drown them in a river. And in Croatia, Krampus might leave a metal rod for the parents to beat their misbehaved children.
However you choose to celebrate, the Saint Nicholas Center has a vast number of recipes to aid you. I'm especially intrigued by the Dutch Peppernut Cookies, made with white pepper. Find the recipe after the jump.
Pepernoten (Dutch Peppernut Cookies)
From Festive Recipes and Festival Menus by Sula Benet
2 cups sifted flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 tablespoons finely cut citron
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 eggs separated (beat egg whites stiffly)
Mix flour, soda, salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, orange rind, citron, and lemon rind. Cream butter and sugar. Beat egg yolks well and add to butter and sugar mixture, beating until creamy. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Combine with stiffly beaten egg whites and gently blend all ingredients. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour and let stand overnight at room temperature. Roll out dough about ½-inch thick and cut into small circles. Place on buttered cookie sheets and bake about 20 minutes at 300º. Immediately upon taking out of the oven, sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar.