Pfeffernussen – German “Pepper Nut” Cookies

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Pfeffernussen are traditional German cookies. Mildly sweet, and full of flavor, these are a holiday favorite!

How to make traditional German Pfeffernussen Cookies | Get the recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

The holidays mean many things to many people. They mean family and friends. Travel and reunions. Memories and great food. Often, the holidays mean a carrying on of traditions that have been passed down for generations.

These little cookies are a nod to my German ancestry.

Pfeffernussen get their name from the array of spices contained in them…in particular a spice you wouldn’t ordinarily think of in cookies. Black Pepper. But don’t let that scare you!

Their size & shape look like little nuts, and so pepper nuts is where the name comes from.

~

To begin, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

You will then combine your dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl: 2 1/4 flour, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. finely ground black pepper, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger and 1/4 tsp cloves. Stir them together and set them aside.

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In your mixing bowl combine 1/4 cup molasses…

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3/4 cup brown sugar

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1 stick (1/2 c) room temperature butter, and a half teaspoon of vanilla. Cream those all together until smooth.

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Add in one egg, and mix until incorporated, being sure to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula.

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Mix in your dry ingredients, until just combined.

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This will make a very stiff dough.

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Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a measuring scoop or spoon for equal portions, scoop a tablespoon of dough into your hand, and roll it into a smooth ball, that is just over an inch in size. Place it on the parchment paper. Continue to roll balls of dough, placing them about an inch and a half apart. These cookies do not expand a great deal, so I will bake 16 at a time on a standard-sized baking sheet.

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Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, or until the cookies are rather firm to the touch, and have little cracks on them.

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Allow them to cool for about 10 minutes. While they are cooling, put about a cup or so of powdered sugar in a paper sack.

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After they have cooled 10 minutes, take a couple cookies at a time, and place them in the bag. Roll the top shut, and give it a shake to coat them. Take them out and set them on a rack to finish cooling.

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Repeat the process with the remaining dough.

Note: these cookies are very firm. If you feel they are too hard for your liking, place them in an air-tight container with a slice of apple. The moisture from the apple can soften them just a tad.

How to make traditional German Pfeffernussen Cookies | Get the recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

Enjoy!

How to make traditional German Pfeffernussen Cookies | Get the recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

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Yield: about 3 dozen

Pfeffernussen - Traditional German Cookies

How to make traditional German Pfeffernussen Cookies | Get the recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

Pfeffernussen are traditional German cookies. Mildly sweet, and full of flavor, these are a holiday favorite!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 flour
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t finely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/2 t ginger
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 c molasses
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 c) butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c powdered sugar, for coating

Instructions

  1. To begin, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. You will then combine the flour, baking soda, finely ground black pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and cloves in a medium-sized bowl. Stir them together and set them aside.
  3. In your mixing bowl, combine the molasses, brown sugar, butter and vanilla. Cream those all together until smooth. Mix in the egg until it is incorporated. Be sure to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Mix in your dry ingredients, until just combined. This will make a very stiff dough.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Using a measuring scoop for equal portions, scoop a tablespoon of dough into your hand, and roll it into a smooth ball, that is just over an inch in size. Place it on the parchment paper. Continue to roll balls of dough, placing them about an inch and a half apart. These cookies do not expand a great deal, so I will bake 16 at a time on a standard-sized baking sheet.
  7. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, or until the cookies are rather firm to the touch, and have little cracks on them.
  8. Allow them to cool for about 10 minutes. While they are cooling, put about a cup or so of confectioner/powdered sugar in a paper sack. After they have cooled 10 minutes, take a couple cookies at a time, and place them in the bag. Roll the top shut, and give it a shake to coat them. Take them out and set them on a rack to finish cooling.
  9. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
  10. Enjoy!

Notes

Note: these cookies are very firm. If you feel they are too hard for your liking, place them in an air-tight container with a slice of apple. The moisture from the apple can soften them just a tad.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

36

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 65Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 13mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 1g

Nutritional Disclaimer: Nutritional data is provided as a courtesy and estimated by a service called Nutritionix. That is a web-based nutritional calculator and is not guaranteed to be accurate. If the nutritional information is vital to you please verify it using your favorite trusted source.

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This recipe was shared in “Goodie Plan Monday.”

31 thoughts on “Pfeffernussen – German “Pepper Nut” Cookies”

  1. I've been drooling over these ever since you posted them on facebook. They look spectacular. Adding to my must make list! Happy New Year! Are you buried in 5' of snow in Alaska? We just got our first accumulating snow today.

    Reply
    • We do have a good bunch of snow. We got a ton around Thanksgiving. Thankfully we don't get as much snow as the southern part of the state…but only because it is too cold to snow! It would be miserable having to shovel at -40!

      Reply
  2. Conni, I just had these cookies for the first time this year at a Christmas cookie exchange a few weeks ago and I love them! What a fantastic blend of spices and flavours (the black pepper doesn't scare me at all ;). While I can't pronounce the name of these babies, I'd gladly inhale a plate-ful of them. I hope you had a very merry Christmas and are still enjoying the holidays with your loved ones!

    Reply
  3. I grew up with pfeffernussen being a part of a spread of holiday cookies. Although my mom would buy them from a local German bakery. I'm glad you shared this recipe so I can make them and surprise her with them one day.

    Reply
  4. There is a shop locally that sells these every Christmas and my husband begs me to try and make them every year yet somehow it just hasn't made it on my Christmas list. But they look so good, I should try it

    Reply
  5. These look so good. I can't wait to try them… Thank you for being such a big part of #SundaySupper this past year. I love your recipes and love hearing about all your adventures! Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    Reply

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