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Pfeffernuesse Cookies

A German holiday tradition, these fragrant cookies pack a warm rush of spices in every bite. Also called peppernuts, they go wonderfully with coffee or tea.—Joanne Nelson, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
  • Total Time
    Prep: 35 min. + chilling Bake: 15 min./batch
  • Makes
    10 dozen


  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons anise extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar


  • In a small saucepan, combine molasses, honey, butter and shortening. Cook and stir over medium heat until melted. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Stir in eggs and extract.
  • Combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, pepper and salt. Gradually add molasses mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 325°. Roll dough into 1-in. balls. Place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove cookies to wire racks. Roll warm cookies in confectioners' sugar. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Nutrition Facts
1 cookie: 42 calories, 1g fat (0 saturated fat), 4mg cholesterol, 31mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.
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Average Rating:
  • Pamela
    Dec 13, 2020

    I made the recipe as it is written. I liked the taste of the cookies, but they flattened out instead of being dome shaped. This made the a little on the hard side. I will probably try a different recipe next time.

  • Sandra
    Dec 11, 2020

    Great recipe. I didn't get10 dozen and I measured the one inch balls, but these were delicious.. Hard to put down. I'll definitely make them again. I did add a bit more cloves, pepper and cardamon as I can't seem to follow any recipe exactly!

  • Dianna
    Nov 28, 2020

    These were perfect! Easy to make and loved the spice level. Delicious with warm apple cider or tea! YUM!

  • lorelei1965
    Dec 12, 2019

    This recipe looks like my grandmother's recipe, but since she wrote it by hand, it's a little difficult to read. I haven't made it in a long time and now I have the baking bug. Thomas: you may have gotten a recipe from a different region. All the pfefferneusse recipes I've seen do not have raisins and nuts in them.

  • Thomas
    Dec 21, 2018

    real pfeffernaus cookies have seeded muscat raisins and walnuts.

  • Chargett
    Sep 22, 2017

    I so would have loved to make these cookies from my mother, but, $12.50 for 1 oz of ground cardamom, it would be cheaper to go to the grocery store and pay $3.99 for 12 cookies and say "here Mom". . .

  • Psalm127-3
    Dec 24, 2016

    oh heck yah I'll be making these BUT, being Norwegian we bump up the spices even more-can't wait.I was very disappointed with the molasses cookies I made and the ginger snaps as well. this seems sure to be a sure fire pleaser.

  • Deester
    Nov 22, 2015

    Have made these the past couple years and everyone raved about them!

  • booandollie
    Oct 23, 2013

    I thought the spices were good in this cookie but they failed to impress me, they were more like a molasses/spice cookie. I will go back to the recipe I've always used & won't make these again.