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8th Annual Peppernut Contest & Recipes

Our 8th Annual Peppernut Contest was held at the store on Saturday, December 9.   I have to admit I was slightly blown away by the amount of entries this year!  Last year we had a mere 3 people turn in peppernuts, and this year we had 21 separate entries by 15 individuals.  Talk about exponential growth!!!  Thank you to all who participated and to the judges who gave up their time to sample all of the delicious entries.  We had Adam Strunk, editor for the Newton Now and Johanna Spencer, our store’s resident peppernut expert.  Each entry was judged on 4 categories:  Taste, Texture, Appearance & Uniformity.  An overall score was also given to each entry.  The winners were determined by adding up the scores and finding those that had the highest average score.

If anyone would like to volunteer for the job of judge next year, just let me know.  We like to have different people every year due to the vastly differing opinions on what makes a great peppernut.


The winners from this year’s contest were

1st place–Kathy Loewen

2nd place (tie)–Tami Lakey & Kathy Balzer

3rd place–Elaine Schmidt  (incidentally this was our 21st entry to the contest that arrived just as they were starting, and I’m so glad she made it in)

Each winner was awarded a gift card to the store and bragging rights to all of their friends and family for the next year.

Here are the recipes we had turned in from the contest.  If you had an entry but didn’t turn in a recipe and would like to, just drop it by the store or email it to us and I’ll add it to the page.


8th Annual Peppernut Contest Recipes

1st Place Winner


Kathy Loewen


1 c. butter

4 c. brown sugar

1 T. baking soda (in 1 T. hot water)

1 t. salt

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. ground cloves

1 t. nutmeg

1 t. anise seed

4 eggs

6½ c. flour


Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and baking soda/water mixture.  Mix well.  Add dry ingredients and mix.  Roll dough into ½”  “snakes” and freeze.  Slice ¼” thick.  Bake at 350° for about 10 minutes.


3rd Place Winner

Melt in Your Mouth Peppernuts

Elaine Schmidt


1 c. butter

1½ c. sugar

1 egg

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. cloves

1 t. ginger

1 t. nutmeg

2 t. baking soda

2 T. dark corn syrup

3¾ c. flour

1 t. anise oil


Mix dry ingredients.  Add to butter, sugar, and egg.  Roll into small rolls and chill.  Cut and put on cookie sheet.  Bake at 350° for 7-8 minutes.


Gluten-Free Anise Peppernuts

Gladys Weinbrenner Voth


1½ c. sugar

1 c. non-dairy butter

1 egg

2 T. corn syrup

½ t. anise oil OR  2 t. anise extract

3 c. gluten-free flour blend that contains sorghum flour

¾ c. sweet rice flour

1½ t. guar gum

2 t. baking soda

2 t. cinnamon

2 t. cloves

1 t. ground ginger


Preheat oven to 375°.  Place parchment paper onto baking sheet.

Beat eggs, sugar, and non-dairy butter until creamy, 2-3 minutes.  Stir in syrup, anise, and guar gum.

In another bowl, stir together gluten-free flour blend, sweet rice flour, baking soda, and spices.  Gradually add the flour mixture into the liquid ingredients.

On plastic cutting board, place a fist-sized amount of dough.  If needed, use a sprinkling of gluten-free flour.  Lightly roll into dime-sized ropes.  Slice into ½ inch pieces.  Place dough balls one inch apart on baking sheet, to allow peppernuts to expand.  Bake for 5-7 minutes.  Cool.

These crisp peppernuts keep in covered containers.  Makes about ten cups of peppernuts.

Dark Peppernuts

Zelly Walker


1 c. brown sugar

1 c. dark syrup

¾ c. butter

¾ c. sour cream

1-2 eggs

¼ c. milk

1 ½ t. anise oil

½ t. cardamom

½ t. cloves

1 t. cinnamon

¾ t. ginger

1 t. baking soda

7 c. flour


Roll out, refrigerate dough overnight.  Roll into pencil size ropes, cut into slices (¼”).  Bake at 375° about 7-10 minutes.


Zelly Walker


3 c. white sugar

3 c. brown sugar

¾ c. melted butter

½ c. melted lard

2 eggs, beaten well


Mix and add ¾ c. hot water


In another bowl mix:

7 c. flour

Pinch of salt

2 tsp. Ginger

2 tsp. Cinnamon

2 tsp. Cloves

1 tsp. Baking powder

2 tsp. Anise oil


Combine mixtures.  Roll.  Bake at 375° for 15 min.

Simple Peppernut Recipe

Zelly Walker


“I always dreaded the time it took to make my regular peppernuts.  Then a few years ago a friend gave me this recipe.  I find it much simpler, “ says Mrs. Herberts Scmidt, formerly of Newton Kans., now of Asuncion, Paraguay.”


1 ½ c. sugar

1 c. margarine or butter

1 egg, beaten

2 tsp. Soda

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Cloves

1 tsp. Ginger

½ tsp. Oil of anise

2 T white Syrup

3 ½ c. flour