Pfeffernusse (German Pepper Nut Cookies )

Total Time
Prep 45 mins
Cook 14 mins

This is from Williams Sonoma and it has been a family favorite for years. It is a great twist on Gingerbread cookies.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, pepper, aniseeds, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice, nutmeg and cloves.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electic mixer set on medium speed, beat together the butter, brown sugar and molasses until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  3. Beat in the egg.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
  6. Position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
  7. Butter 2 baking sheets, scoop up pieces of dough and roll between your palms into balls 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  8. Place the balls on the cookie sheets spacing them about 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom and firm to the touch, about 14 minutes.
  10. Transfer the baking sheets to racks and let the cookies cool slightly on the sheets.
  11. Place the confectioners' sugar in a sturdy paper bag, drop a few cookies into the bag, close the top securely, and shake gently to coat the warm cookies with the sugar.
  12. Transfer to racks and let cool completely.
  13. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
  14. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.


Most Helpful

1st of all, I have to say I personally HATE this cookie...always have, always will - just not my thing! That said - my husband was lying in bed reminissing over his mothers perfect pepper cookies - sigh, I never got the recipe, one evening this week.

Leave it to 'Zaar - here is one that is simple, great dough to work with and tastes just like his moms!


Stacey in BG!!! December 23, 2012

Even better with a lemon glaze. Use the icing sugar and enough lemon juice to make a thick paste, and coat the cookies with the glaze.

Red Jenny November 29, 2009

My German grandmother always had pfeffernusse on hand for the holidays, though I don't recall her ever making them from scratch. This past Christmas, I was feeling especially nostalgic and decided that I *needed* Pfeffernusse, and that store-bought just wouldn't do. I searched and searched for just the right recipe. THIS is IT. This was my first time making pfeffernusse, and they came out perfect. I brought a huge platter of them to my new fiance's family for their Christmas party, where the cookies were a huge hit. I took the rest and made a holiday "tree" out of them -- decorated with fake berries and leaves -- which I used as an edible centerpiece at our own holiday party. The only problem? Guests thought it was too pretty to eat! :)

Lynne the Pirate Queen September 19, 2008

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