De Ma Cuisine



November 2011



Christmas Memories

Written by , Posted in Baking, Cookies, Dessert, Holiday, Kid-Friendly, Legacy


It doesn’t feel like Christmas is less than a month away. It’s starting to feel more like it now that Thanksgiving dinner has been eaten, and we’ve almost finished decorating for Christmas. But, tomorrow it’s supposed to be 80 degrees F. The song White Christmas will be playing for sure! 🙂 In any case, no matter what time of year the weather makes me think it is, the holidays are upon us!

I’m reflecting on holidays past, and feeling a bit sentimental. I remember walking into the living room and seeing my Cabbage Patch Kid doll waiting just for me. I remember the day after Christmas (boxing day, in Canada) we’d all drive to Oma and Opa’s for the big family Christmas. As kids, we couldn’t wait to be finished with dinner and the Christmas carols so we could open presents! I remember the smells of Christmas morning – Mom would always make a cinnamon bread wreath that had icing and cranberries on top. Cinnamon always smells like comfort, like Christmas to me. I remember making Pfeffernusse with my mom every year. She’d make a huge batch of dough and we’d roll them into long skinny lines and then chop them into bite-sized pieces. The windows would get all foggy with condensation. It was cold and snowy outside, warm and cozy inside.

I remember my first Christmas as a newly married couple. Decorating our own place, starting our own traditions, like watching Home Alone as we put up Christmas decorations. I remember two years ago, a friend gave us some reindeer antlers. We put them on our dog and tried to take pictures of him. They stayed on his head for about thirty seconds.

And this year, we’ll make new memories, explore new traditions, repeat old ones. (Antlers on dog, check. Photo taken, check.) We’ll drink cider, sing carols, get a Christmas tree, try to get the dog to keep the antlers on for a little longer (success!!), drink peppermint hot chocolate (from Trader Joe’s – have you tried it?! We’re slightly obsessed with it!)…

Of all the Christmas memories, I could never pick a favorite. But one of the best was making Pfeffernusse. The ones we make are the tiny, sweet, minty cookies (not the brown spicy ones – also good, just not our tradition). This year one of my brothers is coming to visit. Maybe we’ll make some together! (What do you think, Josh?) I forgot to ask my mom for the recipe – I was going to post it, and I guess I’ll need it if Josh and I are going to bake them… whoops! (I wasn’t going to admit that, and was going to post another recipe, but that’s really the one that goes with this post… so I’ll leave it, and you’ll know for sure that I’m far from perfect. I’ll post it when Mom emails it to me, in case you want to start a new tradition with your family. :)) (Update: Success! We have the recipe! Thanks, Mom!)

Enjoy the holidays, friends! Happy memory-making!

Merry Christmastime!

Pfeffernuesse - From the Melting Pot of Mennonite Cookery

My Great Grandmother Harder used to make these and my mom taught us to make them. We'll continue the tradition for a 4th generation.


  • 2 cups shortening/butter or combo
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cream/milk or combo
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • salt
  • 1 cup milk


  1. Cream together: shortening/butter or combo and sugar.
  2. Add: cream/milk or combo and peppermint extract.
  3. Sift: flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Combine and add alternately with dry ingredients: milk.
  5. Beat until a medium soft dough is formed. Chill for several hours or overnight.
  6. Divide into 6 parts; Roll out 1/2" thick; cut into long strips and roll into long fingers.
  7. Cut across sereral rows at a time, making pieces the size of a small marble.
  8. Place on greased baking sheet.
  9. Bake in preheated 425' oven for ~ 7 min, until a light golden brown.


  1. Jennifer

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