Day 12: Pfeffernüsse (Peppernuts)

5:00 AM

Another year, and we're at the end of the 12 Days of Cookies!  I hope you've had as much fun with them as I have!  This recipe is one that I've had around for a long time- since my wedding in fact!  We had a beautiful cookie bar at our reception, and a dear friend offered to make all of the cookies for us.  Afterward, she sent us home with a cookbook that included all the recipes she had used.  It was such a thoughtful thing, and has come in handy many times over the years!  This is one of the recipes that was included.  

Pfeffernüsse are small nut-sized cookies filled with pepper and spice (hence the name). Perfect for filling small bags, boxes, or jars, and sharing with friends or giving as a gift. This is a traditional German Christmas cookie, although many different European countries have similar versions (the Danish Pebernodder, for example).  This recipe leaves them as is, but it is just as common to dust them with powdered sugar while still warm from the oven, or even dunk in a powdered sugar/water glaze.  

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Pfeffernüsse (Peppernuts)
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cups shortening 
  • 1 egg, at room temperature 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 3/4 cups flour 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp allspice 
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg 
  • 1/4 tsp cloves 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp black pepper 


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. 

Cream together the brown sugar and shortening until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and sour cream until well combined. 

Sift together flour, baking powder and soda, and spices. 

Mix dry ingredients into wet, one half at a time, until well combined. 

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. 

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