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Traditional Spiced Pfeffernüsse Cookies

4.77 from 26 votes
My Pfeffernüsse recipe makes deliciously warm, sweet, and complex spiced cookies perfect for the holiday.
Pfeffernüsse cookies next to a tin of cookies.

Hi Bold Bakers!

Pfeffernüsse cookies, also known as peppernuts, are deliciously warming, sweet, and complex spiced cookies. If you love gingerbread or molasses cookies, you will absolutely love these! My homemade pfeffernusse recipe turns out amazingly chewy and flavorful. It’s no wonder they’re a Christmas cookie staple around the world!

The spices really are what make pfeffernusse so iconic. All within one cookie, you have cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, along with black pepper, allspice, cloves, cardamom, and the tour de force: anise extract. 

If you’re looking for a new Christmas tradition or trying to remember a taste from your childhood, I am so excited for you all to give these a go! 

A plate of Pfeffernüsse cookies next to a mug of hot chocolate.

What Are Pfeffernusse Cookies

Pfeffernusse cookies are small, spiced cookies that are super popular in Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands. They’re typically served around December 5 or 6th, when people in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium celebrate the name day of Saint Nicholas.

A lot of people have created their own spin on pfeffernusse cookies. In my recipe, I dust mine with powdered sugar and sweeten the cookie with molasses. 

What You Need To Make Pfeffernusse Cookies

How To Make Pfeffernusse Cookies

Don’t worry. These cookies are a lot easier to make than they are to spell. Here’s how you do it (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and prep by lining two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. Using an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar, molasses, egg, and anise extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, salt, cloves, and cardamom. 
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.
  5. Scoop the dough into 1 1/1 tablespoon-sized scoops, roll the scoops into a ball, and place on your prepped baking sheets.
  6. Bake for around 10-12 minutes, until the edges are set. All the cookies to cool until warm to the touch, then roll them in powdered sugar until coated. I dip them twice for a really good coating!

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Pfeffernusse Cookies

  • Anise extract can be hard to find, but it really makes these cookies so distinctive. Please seek it out if you plan to make these!
  • Instead of powder sugar, you can dip these cookies into a sugar glaze. Combine 2 1/2 cups sifted (10oz/284g) sifted powdered sugar with 3-4 tablespoons water to make the glaze. Dip the cookies when they are completely cool and leave them on a rack to set and dry before storing.
  • If you glaze these cookies, sprinkle them with colorful sprinkles for a festive touch! 
  • These cookies taste even better after a day or two. The time sitting really helps to develop the flavors.
  • These would make a wonderful holiday gift! Stack 10 in a clear bag and tie with a colorful ribbon for a delicious edible present.

A Pfeffernüsse cookie with a bit taken out of it.

How Do I Store Pfeffernusse Cookies?

Be sure to let the cookies cool before storing them in an airtight container. Homemade pfeffernusse cookies can be kept at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Make More Cookies At Home!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Traditional Spiced Pfeffernüsse Cookies Recipe

4.77 from 26 votes
My Pfeffernüsse recipe makes deliciously warm, sweet, and complex spiced cookies perfect for the holiday.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 20 cookies
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
My Pfeffernüsse recipe makes deliciously warm, sweet, and complex spiced cookies perfect for the holiday.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (4floz/115ml) butter melted
  • ½ cup (4oz/115g) granulated sugar
  • cup (4oz/115g) molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract
  • 2 cups (10oz/284g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup (4oz/115g) powdered sugar sifted

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • With an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar, molasses, egg, and anise extract.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, salt, cloves, and cardamom together, and then gradually add to the butter mixture.
  • Scoop the dough into 1 ½ tablespoons sized scoops, roll into a ball, and place on the prepared cookie sheets.
  • Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until the edges are set. Allow to cool until warm to the touch, then roll in the powdered sugar until coated. I like to dip them twice to get a really good coating.
  • Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. These cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to five days.

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Karine
5 months ago

Wow! Very hard to pronounce but so Eeeezeree to eat.👍.
Karine

4 months ago

It have created monsters my whole family wants these.

Dimple
Dimple
5 months ago

Substitute for eggs please

2 months ago

Love these cookies. Linda remind me of ginger cookies. My son and his girlfriend asked for these cookies for stocking stuffer instead of candy. I Originally made them for my dad. Who really loves them too. This recipe is far better then the one I had.

Lana
5 months ago

Hi Gemma…thanks for this recipe. So part of my tradition eating Pfeffernusse and Lebkuchenduring this festive season. Would like to know what could be substituted using the molasses please?

Robert409
5 months ago

Pfeffernusse must have just the right flavor and texture. I’ve tried other recipes but they weren’t even close. Gemma’s recipe is absolutely perfect! Everyone loves these Pfeffernusse. Thank you, Gemma! I would change the title of this recipe to, “Best Ever Pfeffernusse!”

Anagha B
Anagha B
5 months ago

Hey Gemma, I really want to make this recipe for Christmas. I can’t find anise extract here. Can I use ground anise instead? If yes, how to substitute?

Molly T.
Molly T.
5 months ago

Very good. Much more complex than standard gingerbread.
Dare I say it, I could go for more spice in there! Will up the spices next time.

Phyllis
5 months ago

My daughter and I just finished making and dusting these cookies and WOW! They’re so delicious and just as we remember from a now-closed German bakery in the next town. Absolute perfection of flavor and so easy to make!

Thanks for another winner, Gemma!

Vikki
Vikki
5 months ago

Hi I’m having trouble finding cardamom. Can I replace it with something else

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!