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Pfeffernusse Cookies Recipe

User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)


Pfeffernusse are cookies traditionally served during the Christmas holidays in Germany, but these spiced, peppery cookies are popular year-round. These are best if you let them sit to ripen for about 2 weeks, so plan ahead.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 13 minutes

Total Time: 33 minutes


  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon mace
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground anise seeds
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 Tablespoons shortening
  • 1 egg
  • Confectioner's sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, cardamom, baking powder, allspice, salt, mace, baking, soda, pepper, and anise.

Heat the honey but do not boil. Add the shortening, then cool. Beat in the egg, then stir in dry ingredients just until blended. Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes to allow it to stiffen.

Shape dough into 1-1/2-inch balls. Place the balls onto a greased cookie sheet (you may flatten them slightly if you wish). Bake for 12 to 13 minutes.

Cool the cookies well. Place the cookies in an airtight bowl, cover tightly, and allow to ripen for about 2 weeks. Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.

Yield: 3 dozen

Recipe Source: Minnesota Heritage Cookbook: Hand-Me-Down Recipes by American Cancer Society Staff (Favorite Recipes Press)
Reprinted with permission.

User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
An Old Favorite Rediscovered, Member CookECutter

This recipe has been a family favorite for over 20 years. I lost the recipe, and am so happy to have found it again. The one I originally used had a glaze coating instead of just rolling it in powdered sugar, and I think that makes a big difference in taste as well as its keeping quality. In fact, stored in tins, this cookie's flavor improves. Here's the glaze recipe: Beat one egg white with 1 T honey and 1/4 tsp ground anise seed. Gradually add 1C sifted confectioner's sugar and mix til smooth. Put 2T glaze in medium bowl and add 6 cookies, stir until coated, then lift with a fork onto a wire rack to dry.

32 out of 32 people found this helpful.

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