Pfeffernusse Cookies Recipe -
Pfeffernusse Cookies Recipe
  • READY IN 3 hr

Pfeffernusse Cookies

Recipe by  

"I have searched far and wide for a recipe that mimics my favorite, store-bought version of these cookies. I think, after days of thrown-out cookies, I have come as close as I can get."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 3 dozen cookies Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    15 mins

    3 hrs


  1. Stir together the molasses, honey, shortening, and margarine in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir until creamy. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the eggs.
  2. Combine the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, anise, cinnamon, baking soda, pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Add the molasses mixture and stir until thoroughly combines. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Roll the dough into acorn-sized balls. Arrange on baking sheets, spacing at least 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake in preheated oven 10 to 15 minutes. Move to a rack to cool. Dust cooled cookies with confectioners' sugar.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jan 11, 2008

My only suggestions to make this recipe closer to Pfeffernusse made in Germany, are: Use more pepper, and use white instead of black. One and a half to twice the amount of pepper will give the "nuts" a real peppery zing. Also, don't spare the XXXX sugar coating.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Dec 20, 2010

I have been told by all my relatives that pfeffernusse is a Dutch Advent treat. The spices are from the Dutch Indies - a way to show off all those spices that the Dutch were dealing in and affluent the family was. My recipes - Dutch and over 100 years old by several relatives - never use eggs, and let the dough rest overnight in a cool place. Then the dough is rolled into ropes, and the ropes sliced into small cookies about the size of a nut. Rolling into ropes then slicing it prevents working the dough too much. But if you use eggs, then I guess it doesn't matter how much you work the dough.

Oct 26, 2010

My problem is not the flavor of this recipe, which was very good, but the way it was put together. I would definitely change the order of mixing a bit. The recipe has you add the anise extract to the dry ingredients before the wet are added. This causes little unmixed bits of flower in the dough. Doesn't affect taste much, but I'm a perfectionist and care about the aesthetics of it. I would follow the recipe as it says except leave the sugars and the extract out of the dry ingredients. Instead mix those into the wet after the egg is added, then add the dry to the wet, in installments, and resume the recipe. 4 stars because the flavor is good, and the recipe can be fixed with only a few tweaks. Enjoy.

Jan 03, 2008

Love these cookies! My mom had the store bought version so my family compared the two cookies. This recipie won by far. They have a wonderful spice that gets even better after a few days. The center stays soft and moist (even after freezing!) This recipe makes a large batch of cookies. Only change i made was that i rolled the cookie dough balls in powdered sugar before placing on baking sheet. Then before serving i dusted them with a little more powdered sugar. I will be making these every christmas!

Sep 10, 2008

this is pretty close to my mums traditional german recipe. One suggestion though instead of black pepper use all spice. I haven't made pfeffernusse for a while because i moved away from home and don't have access to the recipe any more. Going through your recipe helped me to remember what was in my mums recipe. Thanks

Dec 13, 2010

Loved the recipe! Reminded me of Grandmas,(she took her traditional german recipes to the grave with her). I added 1 teaspoon of allspice and changed the black pepper to white. The spice level turned out perfect. I have not been a fan of the powdered sugar coating. A reviewer on another site had an excellent glaze coating for the cooled cookies. Beat 1 eggwhite with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1/2 teaspoon anise extract. Gradually sift in 1 cup confectioner's sugar, mixing until smooth. The other reviewer put a bit of glaze in a bowl with a few cookies and stirred until coated. I dipped the top of the cookies in the glaze and placed on a drying rack until coating hardens. Thanks again, I am happy I am able to bring back an old tradition to the family Christmas .

Nov 12, 2010

Absolutely delicious! I added 1/2 cup butter instead of 1/4 cup margarine, followed all the rest exactly as written in recipe. Just like my Aunt's in Germany! If you like ginger will LOVE this cookie...think ginger snaps on steroids....FANTASTIC!

Dec 24, 2008

Great recipe. These came out just like my German gradmother made them. I did add slightly more ginger to spice them up a little more. They were a big hit with my family and the people at work.


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  • Calories
  • 284 kcal
  • 14%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 53.9 g
  • 17%
  • Cholesterol
  • 21 mg
  • 7%
  • Fat
  • 6.3 g
  • 10%
  • Fiber
  • 1.1 g
  • 4%
  • Protein
  • 3.7 g
  • 7%
  • Sodium
  • 213 mg
  • 9%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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