4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper (optional)
3/4 cup light molasses
1/2 (1 stick) butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup walnuts or almonds, finely chopped or ground (optional)
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Heat molasses and butter in a small saucepan and stir until butter has melted. Cool to room temperature and stir in beaten eggs. Add dry ingredients and nuts to mixture and mix well. Cover and chill dough overnight.
To bake, shape chilled dough into 1-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar while still warm.
Makes about 5 dozen.
Based on a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.