Traditions are a funny thing. Sometimes you don't realize how unique a family tradition is until you get away from your family.
So it is with peppernuts and me.
Every year, RIGHT after Thanksgiving, my Grandma would start baking batches and batches of peppernuts. Growing up, I didn't even really like them, but couldn't resist popping one after another in my mouth. Peppernuts taste like Christmas to me. Simple as that.
So, imagine my surprise when I moved to Tennessee and discovered that NO ONE knows what peppernuts are! (My Kansas readers may be shocked at this news, but it's true.) Since moving here, every year, I get a package in the mail right after Thanksgiving from my Grandma full of peppernuts. (I guess some traditions can't be contained by distance) Even though I wasn't home I felt a little bit closer just by tasting those yummy little irresistible cookies.
Once I got married, I too began to make peppernuts right after Thanksgiving—sharing an old family tradition with my new husband and my new family. I even started bringing them to work to spread the joy of peppernuts!
This year was especially fun because the sisters were able to "help." They at least thought it was fun to stand on the stool and help pour ingredients into the bowl and watch the mixer's paddle go around. Big sister even helped make snakes—although I am somewhat confident that she ate all hers before they ever got to the oven.
So for those of you who are new to peppernuts, here's my family's recipe. I know my Grandma has been making it for the almost 30 years of my lifetime and who knows how long before that. I hope you enjoy! And if you give it a try, I'm willing to bet that you'll be hooked. :)
Melt in Your Mouth Peppernuts
1 cup butter
1 and 1/2 C. sugar
1 beaten egg
2 T. dark syrup
3 and 3/4 C. flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cloves
1 t. ginger
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. anise oil
Cream butter, sugar, syrup and egg. Add dry ingredients and anise oil. Chill dough. Roll out into long rolls the size of you little finger. Keep chilled. Slice into small pieces and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. (my gas oven only takes 7 minutes)
Let me know how you like them!