It's always a struggle each year to decide what I'm going to enter in the fair.  I have to eliminate everything that I judge, which fortunately does not include baked goods.  But deciding what baked goods to enter is really hard too.  Sometimes I'm excited to try something new, while sometimes I want to make an old favorite.  More often than not, my choices depend on what the delivery date is for each particular item.  Life is so busy that I need to schedule in my baking and delivery well in advance.  This is how I ended up entering in the "Ethnic Cookies" category.  

My grandmother, Elfrieda Reifenberger, made Pfeffernuesse every Christmas without fail.  Pfeffernuesse are traditional German cookies.  The name translates to “pepper nuts,” as they traditionally contain both pepper and nuts.  My grandma made them without nuts, so that is the version I make.  Here are the seven I selected for the judges:

And here are three on display at the fair:

Another second place!  I entered four things and got second on all of them.  That's unusual.  I love the fair!


                   4. c. flour                                              ¼ tsp. black pepper
                   ½ c. sugar                                             ¾ c. molasses
                   1¼ tsp. baking soda                              ½ c. butter
                   1½ tsp. ground cinnamon                       2 eggs, beaten
                   ½ tsp. ground cloves                              powdered sugar
                   ½ tsp. ground nutmeg

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and spices. In a saucepan combine molasses and butter; heat and stir until butter melts. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in eggs. Add molasses mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. Wrap and chill several hours or overnight. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350º for 12-14 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar. Makes about 5 dozen.


  1. Congrats on going 4-for-4! I remember you making these for an ethnic Christmas cookie exchange in college. It's fun to see what comes around, goes around!

  2. Congrats on all the recognition at the the fair!! That is awesome and these sound YUMMY! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)


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