Snowed in, but that's ok too

What is this? I'm baking and I'm *not* stuck in the middle of a cornfield? Yes, that's right. However, I find myself a day ahead of schedule as I'm stuck in the middle of a large snowdrift instead.

I left Champaign on Wednesday to get closer to home, and stopped over in Ann Arbor to visit friends, and to eventually drive a friend to the airport so she can go to Germany for break. But my car was stuck in the snow today and the roads were in all kinds of bad condition, so she rescheduled her flight (and consequently, I rescheduled my triumphant homecoming) for Saturday.

Having little to do, we decided to call it an early cookie day!

These cookies are called Pfeffernüssen (25), which, in German, means pepper nuts. These cookies are flavored with molasses, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and, as their name indicates, black pepper. There are no nuts involved, apparently their name has more to do with what they look like. Oh, right, and they're covered in powdered sugar.

Unlike the chocolate crackled cookies I made a few weeks ago, there is only one layer of sugar on the outside of these cookies, and boy was it fun to cover them: the instructions called for putting confectioner's sugar in a paper bag, dropping a few warm cookies in, and then shaking them until they were covered. Good times.

I was really looking forward to making these cookies, as pepper in dessert foods is an unfamiliar idea to me, and I find that I am not disappointed. The pepper is not especially strong, but it sits well with the other flavors so that these aren't just some lumpy gingerbread cookies. Even with slightly burnt bottoms (which I think is a side effect of the pan I chose to use), I think these cookies are going to stay in my top ten favorites.

In other news, I'm proud to say that I made it through my first semester of grad school, while being able to maintain this project. This means we're in for another 3 years of cookies, so those of you who are around me on Sundays or Mondays, look forward to lots of new interesting things (actually, my family should also expect some good stuff over vacation, since I can do some of the smaller batch things). I may even start talking about things other than my baking experiments, but we'll have to see.

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