Pfeffernusse (German Pepper Nut Cookies)

These are sooo good! You can’t save them for Christmas time, as they are traditionally made then. Make them anytime…

Adapted from recipe.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed anise seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light molasses (unsulfured)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (icing)


  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, pepper, aniseeds, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. Mix with a whisk and set aside.
  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. The mixture will be quite stiff. Take out of the bowl and shape into a long log on some cling wrap. Try to get the log evenly shaped – about 5cm in diameter.
  6. Wrap up completely with cling wrap and refrigerate for several hours.
  7. Position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
  8. Take the log out of the fridge and cut into discs.  Roll between your palms into balls 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  9. Place the balls on the cookie sheets spacing them about 2 inches apart.
  10. Bake until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom and firm to the touch, about 14 minutes.
  11. Transfer the baking sheets to racks and let the cookies cool slightly on the sheets.
  12. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a ziplock bag, drop a few cookies into the bag, close the top securely, and shake gently to coat the warm cookies with the sugar.
  13. Transfer to racks and let cool completely.
  14. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
  15. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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Posted in Baking

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