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from Roy Denman

These are a fascinating version of this classic German Christmas cookie, that puff in the center and keep their base. Thank you to Cheryl Frey for donating the pictures and some notes.

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8 Eggs
4 cups sugar
4 oz finely chopped citron
1 ½ teaspoons nutmeg
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 / 2 teaspoon salt
7 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon Bakers Ammonia

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1. Break Eggs into a mixing bowl
Add sugar and beat with an electric mixer 15 min.

2. Stir in citron, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and salt.
Mix thoroughly.

3. Sift the flour and ammonium carbonate, (Bakers ammonia) an old fashioned leavening agent that helps them pop.

4. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir until well blended. The dough will be quite stiff. Roll out to about
3 / 4 inch thickness. the thicker they are the better they puff. Cut with a small round cutter about 1 -1 / 4 inches in diameter.

5. Turn cut out cookies over and place on cookie sheets or counter top to dry. Let dry 3 days. That is a long time, but it is necessary.

6. When ready to bake, turn them over so moist side is up. Dampen the top of each with a drop of brandy, wine or bourbon. This helps them puff during baking.

7. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 15-20 min. They won't brown, just pop when done.

Notes by Cheryl Frey

I saw a similar recipe online - they bake them way too hot (350) for the same amount of time, so must turn out very hard.  Ron Denman's recipe is delicious and my family all gave the cookies a thumbs up. I cooked one pan at 315 and the second one at 320, for about 20-22.  Although they seemed a bit underdone before I gave them that last 2 minutes, I now think they would be best removed at the 20min time/315.  They definately hardened up after cooling, but the first pan still has a bit of softness to the inner part. I will treat them like a Spingerle when baking them in the future.  I am storing them in a ziplock freezer bag to keep them from drying out. These are very unique looking and would make a fun addition to any cookie tray.  Because they don't need frosting, and have a fun "mushrooom" shape they are an easy choice for times when multiple cookies are needed. I used a 1 1/4 inch zig-zag circle to cut the shape, and rolled the dough to 1/2 inch.   Thanks so much to Ron for sharing these. They are a real "keeper" for my German recipe book.     Cheryl Frey

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