Pfeffernusse Cookies

Pfeffernusse | Bakewell Junction

Pfeffernusse | Bakewell Junction

This week I’m sharing a recipe that reminds me of the Pfeffernusse that my sisters and I loved from Stella D’Oro.  The company is still around but it’s been sold at least once and they no longer make Pfeffernusse or at least I can’t find them.  There are other cookies that we remember fondly but I haven’t found recipes for those yet.

Pfeffernusse (which means pepper nut) are a lightly spiced cookie that’s quite delicious.  Be sure to coat with powdered sugar, since the dough isn’t very sweet.  It’s a great bite-sized treat.


Yield:  75 cookies                  Cook Time:  10 – 15 minutes

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar for coating


Step 1:  Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, black pepper in a medium bowl.  Add the cloves, cinnamon and anise seeds to the flour mixture and set aside.

Step 2:  In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer.  Add the egg and beat well until light.  Beat in the almonds.  The flour mixture will be added to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the remaining ingredients.  Mix in the molasses; then mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture; then mix in the brandy; then mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture; then mix in the honey and lemon rind; then mix in the rest of the flour mixture; finally mix in the lemon juice.  Beat well.  Cover mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Step 3:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheet by covering it with parchment paper or cooking spray.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place at least 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 4:  Place powdered sugar in a small bowl.  While cookies are still warm, roll in powdered sugar until well coated.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.


Recipe from Barbara Grunes’ Joy of Baking cookbook.

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11 thoughts on “Pfeffernusse Cookies

  1. Those sound wonderful, I love all the spices in them. I really enjoy cookies that aren’t overly sweet. Thanks so much for sharing on Super Sweet Saturday.

  2. These sound yummy! I have a recipe from my grandma for Pfeffernüsse, and I have to agree that the powdered sugar might just add the extra bit of sweetness that I like. It is a traditional German christmas cookie, too.

    Following you from the blog hop =)

    Anja @

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