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Karen Citino's Pfeffernusse

From Karen Citino, pastry chef at Stellina in Watertown, who bakes holiday cookies from family recipes. Karen spent time with each of her four Citino aunts and chose the best of their recipes. This is from Aunt Mary. Store cookies with an apple slice.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 teaspoon anise oil or extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Onto a piece of wax paper, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, egg, molasses, and anise oil or extract until well blended. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Roll the dough out into 1-inch balls and arrange 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops feel firm when lightly touched. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Place the confectioners' sugar in a large bowl; add about 6 cookies and toss with a large spoon to coat. Repeat with the remaining cookies.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

By Jean Kressy, Globe Correspondent

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