Black Walnut Peppernuts

Our peppernut supply is dwindling and Christmas is just around the corner . . . but there was time for at least one more recipe. However, this one is even more complicated than some of the others!
Barry picked up several bushel baskets of black walnuts this year. Fear not, we have several black walnut trees so there were plenty of nuts left for the squirrels! 
A black walnut husk covers the actual nut. Getting through that layer is a feat but nothing compared to trying to crack through the super-hard nut shell—Barry used a hammer with some degree of success! Then, it was time to try to pick out the nut meat. After about an hour, we had a whole 1/2 cup of black walnut meat.



Yes. A half batch of Black Walnuts Peppernuts is quite enough (as in—we can stop trying to crack these pesky nuts and we really do not need too many more sweets this holiday + it gives us a chance to test a new recipe).
So with our 1/2 cup of black walnuts on hand, I mixed up this recipe from Norma Jost Voth's cookbook, Peppernuts, Plain and Fancy (1978 ed.) and discovered yet another tasty addition to our peppernut collection.
The author credits this recipe to Margaret Harder of Hillsboro, KS. She says, "Eaten and loved by five generations of Harder children." 
A couple of observations about this recipe: The flavor relies on the strong flavor of the black walnuts and does not contain the usual spices. Rather than rolling and cutting the peppernuts, this recipe suggests snipping the ropes of dough into small pieces—this technique worked well and I may try it on other recipes.
(Note: Although I made a half batch, I am including the full recipe.)

Black Walnut Peppernuts
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup black walnuts, very finely chopped  (or the author suggests—substitute English walnuts + add 1-2 tsp. black walnut extract)
  1. Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well.
  3. Add sour cream and vanilla.
  4. Sift salt, baking powder and baking soda with flour.
  5. Add half the flour mixture; mix well. Add remaining flour and mix until incorporated.
  6. Add  nuts.

  7. Chill dough before rolling.
  8. Working with small amounts of dough on well-floured board, roll each into thin ropes.
  9. Hold a 2 to 3" strip of dough over a greased baking sheet and snip off small pieces of dough with kitchen shears dipped in cold water. Arrange snapped pieces on pan.
  10. Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned—watch closely (recipe called for just 7 minutes baking time but it took longer in our oven).
  11. Cool on a rack before storing.


Other Peppernut recipes we've made this holiday season:
Hint-of Anise

Recipe without photos . . .
Black Walnut Peppernuts
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup black walnuts, very finely chopped (or the author suggests—substitute English walnuts + add 1-2 tsp. black walnut extract)
  1. Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well.
  3. Add sour cream and vanilla.
  4. Sift salt, baking powder and baking soda with flour.
  5. Add half the flour mixture; mix well. Add remaining flour and mix until incorporated.
  6. Add  nuts.
  7. Chill dough before rolling.
  8. Working with small amounts of dough on well-floured board, roll each into thin ropes.
  9. Hold a 2 to 3" strip of dough over a greased baking sheet and snip off small pieces of dough with kitchen shears dipped in cold water. Arrange snapped pieces on pan.
  10. Bake in a preheated 400° for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned—watch closely (recipe called for just 7 minutes baking time but it took longer in our oven).

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