2nd Prize, South Dakota State Fair, 2014


Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance


Picnics and Family Reunions


South Dakota State Fair

August 31, 2014


Second Prize Winner



Glenda Maxted, South Dakota


pfeffernusse cookies south dakota state fair greater midwest foodways alliance

(Image by Catherine Lambrecht)


Second Prize:


Glenda Maxted, South Dakota



While preparing the Heirloom Recipe Contest I would often remember the time our family traveled with my maternal grandparents to family reunions in the Bowdle, SD area and the years of gatherings during Easter and Christmas. Several food traditions have been passed down from my great-grandparents as a result. The one tradition that has been a sweet memory to my mom, and now is a part of my legacy is Pfeffernusse Cookies.


Our recipe began in Russia with my great-great grandmother, Magdalena (Kirschman) Buechler. My great grandmother, Magdalena (Buechler) Schlecht, emigrated from Russia to Bowdle, South Dakota, as a young girl. I am sure she and Grandma Buechler had no idea that such a simple cookie would, years later, become a memorable, sensory filled tradition. When served at family gatherings, the taste of anise would bring to memory the years of company and Christmas memories.


My mom, Lexie, recalls Grandma Maggie baking the cookies at Christmas. Her home would be filled with the warmth of the oven followed by the rushing scent of anise, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. “We would bake a lot of cookies before Christmas and freeze them to be served all year ’round Grandma Maggie always served them with coffee,”  Lexie recalls as she shares the Pfeffernusse Cookie recipe.


In the reminiscing my mom remembers spending a lot of time at Grandma Maggie’s home. When company would come to the home she would hand her guest a simple little plate with the cookies and coffee served in a cup with a saucer.


As a child and young teenager I remember the Saturday visits. Upon entering Great-­Grandma Maggie’s yard flowers and vegetables filled the garden with beauty and scent. Stepping into her house she would great us with a hug, a smile, and “Guten Tag!”  The kitchen smelled of warm coffee as my eyes would catch the African Violets lined in the window sill of the dining room. My mom, grandmother, Aunt Lydia, and Great-­Grandma Maggie would visit, eating Pfeffernusse Cookies while my sister and I played in the living room. Even now I can hear the clack of the coffee cups upon the sauce plates and Grandma Maggie in her soft, broken English-German accented voice.


The familiar warm scents now fill my home. It is with a sense of richness, which doesn’t come with means or money, but understanding the love and honor given to one with the simplest of things and ingredients, with which I hope to honor guests in my home and pass on to my son the love and memories of his Great-Great Grandma Maggie.



Pfeffernuse family photos south dakota state fair greater midwest foodways alliance



Second Prize:


Glenda Maxted, South Dakota


3 cups of honey

4 cups white sugar

6 eggs

1 cup butter, unsalted, melted or softened

1 1/2 cups black coffee

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice

I teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon anise

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoons baking soda

12 cups all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put honey in a pan let It get hot. CooL Mix in the coffee, butter, eggs, and then add the dry ingredients. Mix ingredients well. Roll into small balls, place in refrigerate overnight. In the morning, bake for 12 minutes; after they are baked roll in powdered sugar.