Pfeffernusse Dragon Stamp cookies combine the spice of the traditional German cookie with the lore and mythology of the famous Gold dragon.
The Pfeffernusse Spice
Hailing from Germany, these spice-laden treats have been enchanting taste buds for centuries. The name “Pfeffernusse” translates to “pepper nuts,” a nod to the aromatic blend of spices that gives these cookies their distinctive flavor. Originating in the 17th century, Pfeffernusse has become a cherished part of holiday celebrations, embodying the warmth and joy of the festive season.
Traditional spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, cardamom, and pepper. Interestingly, Chinese Five Spice includes cinnamon and Star anise. Star anise and anise seeds from two different plants but both contain the essential oil anethole, which is also found in licorice, fennel, Absinthe, and Ouzo.
You are free to play around with the spices. Increase the cinnamon if you don’t care too much for anise flavor. Adding more ground pepper to the mix gives it a more peppery flavor. Be sure to include freshly ground pepper as well.
Making Pfeffernusse Dragon Stamp Cookies
Stamp cookies call for dough similar to shortbread cookies that have a lot of butter. This type of cookie doesn’t have a lot of liquid to dissolve salt, so you must use either a good brand of salted butter or fine salt. I recommend fine salt because you can control the amount of salt yourself.
Brown sugar makes the dough a bit sticky. Make sure you dip the stamp in flour for every cookie you stamp.
Although a lot of stamp cookie recipes state to bake on an ungreased cookie sheet, I recommend lining a half-sheet pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper to be sure.
Wash the stamp by hand in soapy water. Do not soak the stamp. Use a toothbrush to clean it. Then, let it air dry before putting it away.
The Year of the Dragon
The Chinese Year of the Dragon starts on February 10, 2024, the second new moon after the Winter Solstice. Chinese dragons bring good fortune. They symbolize power, nobleness, honor, luck, and success in traditional Chinese culture. The Dragon is a supernatural being with no parallel for talent and excellence. Those born in 2024, 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, and 1928 were all born in the Year of the Dragon. Interestingly, 2024 happens to be the year of the Wood Dragon. The Wood Dragon is extremely creative and curious and loves to dive into and try their hand at all subjects of life and will usually come up with very original ideas and will put them to good use when they are focused.
The dragon on this stamp is a Gold dragon evidenced by its wings and two horns. Gold dragons are champions against evil and foul play. They often embark on self-appointed quests to promote good.
Pfeffernusse Dragon Stamp Cookie Recipe
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Pfeffernusse Spice Mix
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar, granulated
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon Salt, fine
- 2 ¾ cup Flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla
- ½ teaspoon rum extract.
- Mise en place
- Preheat oven to 350 °F.
- Line the half-sheet pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons nutmeg, 1 teaspoon anise, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon ground black pepperCombine the spices in a small bowl. Taste for seasoning. If it doesn't seem spicy enough, add more pepper.
- 2 3/4 cup Flour, 1 teaspoon SaltIn a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and spices.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugarPut the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat it until the butter is smooth. Add the sugars and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- 1 egg, 1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon rum extract.Beat in egg and extracts; mix well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Do not chill the dough.
- Divide dough into 2 balls.
- Pinch a 1-inch piece of dough off the main ball and roll it into a 1-inch ball. Dip the stamp in flour. Hover the stamp in the middle of the ball, then press hard to make the cookie. Some of the dough will come out on the sides. That's okay. If you want to be extra finicky, you can remove the excess with a sharp knife. Dip the cookie stamp in flour before each use.
- Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.
- Put the cookies on a cooling rack. They will harden as they cool but are very yummy while still warm.