Holiday Pfeffernusse Cookies

Pfeffernusse Cookies.JPG

What are you baking this holiday season?

I love these festive cookies for their addictive spiciness, petite size, and pillowy texture. Pfefferneuse (‘peppernut’) cookies are traditional German, Dutch and Danish spiced Christmas cookies that I remember eating as a child. They have a licorice-like anise flavor that may be a bit polarizing, but that I find festive and perfect during this season. I recreated the traditional cookie in gluten free, egg-free, and refined sugar-free form— and the result is perfect! Bake them in your own home as you embrace the darkness of the winter season and the soon-to-be return of the light.

Holiday Pfeffernusse Cookies

These cookies can be easily frozen and ahead of when you want to serve them.

Pfeffernusse Cookies 2.JPG
  • 1 tbsp ground chia seed (+ 3 tbsp water)

  • 2 1/4 cups gluten free flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill GF 1-to-1 flour blend)

  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ginger

  • 1/4 tsp cloves

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp allspice

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined salt

  • 1/2 cup unsalted organic grassfed butter

  • 2 tsp anise extract

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar

  • 1/4 cup molasses (use blackstrap molasses for a less sweet, more deeply flavored cookie)

  • 1/8 cup coconut sugar, blended into powder (can sub conventional powdered sugar if desired)

 

DIRECTIONS

In a small dish, whisk together chia seed and water and set aside to gel.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a large bowl, beat butter, anise extract, coconut sugar and molasses. Stir in the chia mixture, and then slowly incorporate the dry ingredients. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll 1” balls of dough, flattened slightly on the bottom, and place onto greased baking sheets. Bake until the cookies start to brown on the bottom, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a baking rack and cool slightly.

Pour powdered coconut sugar into a plastic bag and drop cookies into bag, one by one, to coat them with sugar.

Warm Pear Bake with Cocoa-Plum Crust

warm pear bake bite.JPG

This winter, eat more cranberries and pears! These two naturally sweet beauty foods are ideal for cool weather, as they reduce inflammation and detoxify naturally. Eat them raw, or use as little added sugar as possible when you cook with them, to preserve their benefits. 

Here's a perfect way to use them in a naturally sweet dish that you can cozy up to all winter long:

Warm Pear Bake with Cocoa-Plum Crust

This quick-to-make dessert is packed with skin benefits from fresh pear, cranberries, cinnamon, cocoa, and walnuts. Dried plums, also called prunes (which just never sounds as appealing) are packed with iron, antioxidants, and natural sweetness, and fabulous for digestion and elimination in small amounts. Enjoy this simple treat when you have a sweet craving this season.

warm pear bake square.JPG

Makes 3 individual servings

INGREDIENTS

3 ripe pears, cored and chopped

½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

unrefined salt

Heaping 1 cup raw walnut halves

12 dried plums/prunes

4 tsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder

Equipment: 3 ramekins

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Toss pears and cranberries with ¼ tsp cinnamon and a dash of salt. Divide pear/berry mixture among three ramekins. In a food processor, combine walnuts, plums, and cocoa powder, and add in a generous sprinkling of salt. Divide and roll mixture into three even-sized balls and flatten each to create a top crust for your ramekin. Carefully (use a spatula if needed) transfer one crust to the top of each ramekin.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool slightly and serve.


Beauty Food Focus:

Cranberries. You’ll only find these berries readily available in stores from about October through January, so don’t miss your chance to take in their powerful skin and body benefits. The skins of cranberries contain anthocyanin pigments that protect our cells and collagen. These anthocyanins also lower inflammation, reducing redness, blemishes, and slowing the wrinkling process. Other phytochemicals in cranberries increase your skin’s UV tolerance and blood flow, giving you a radiant complexion. Cranberries support healthy digestion and lymph flow, making them perfect for the cold weather months when we’re eating larger meals. Be sure you don't just eat cranberries sweetened with refined sugars; try the Warm Pear Bake for a sweet way to eat them without added sugar.

Pears. Pears are beauty foods with so much natural sweetness, making them ideal choices for desserts or sweet snacks. Their pectin fiber helps detoxify the body, as well as support good digestion and elimination—keys for radiant skin. Phytochemicals in pear skins reduce inflammation in the body, which supports a gorgeous complexion, good moods, and a healthy weight. All varieties of pears have beauty benefits, but red-skinned pears are especially high in anthocyanins that protect your skin’s natural elasticity.

Favorite Beauty-Friendly Holiday Recipes

During this busy time of year, remember that you can make simple, nourishing dishes like the ones below that celebrate the ingredients of the season and fuel your body and beauty with the best foods around. I hope you'll try one or more of these beautifying holiday recipe favorites— they were all created with gorgeous skin, energy, and a slim waistline in mind! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for joining me in eating pretty this year! xo

For a warm, satisfying sip... (cacao boosts circulation to your skin and relieved redness!):

For a sweet snack while you're wrapping presents... (free of refined sugar and packed with hair-boosting protein):

For an elegant appetizer to serve at your holiday soiree... (vegan and full of blemish-fighting vitamin A):

For a blood-sugar stabilizing, immune-boosting breakfast...(packed with healthy fats and an aromatherapy boost for bleak winter days):