German Pffernusse (Pepper Nut) Cookies are a favourite in my household! They are rich in spice without being spicy and a great addition to any Christmas baking. Here is my favourite recipe that I use year after year.

*This dough does need to rest for a few hours in the fridge so make sure you leave enough time for this! I usually make the dough the day before I plan to bake it.


German Pepper Nut Cookies


2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon crushed anise seed
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3⁄4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1⁄4 cup light molasses (unsulfured)
1 egg
2 cups confectioners’ sugar


  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, pepper, anise, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice, nutmeg and cloves.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electic mixer set on medium speed, beat together the butter, brown sugar and molasses until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg into the large bowl mixture and beat until mixed.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add in the flour mixture.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. (I usually pre-make this dough the day before I bake it)
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Scoop up pieces of dough and roll between the palms of your hand into balls 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  8. Place the balls on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake about 14 minutes until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom and firm to the touch.
  10. Transfer the baking sheets to racks and let the cookies cool slightly on the sheets.
  11. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a sturdy paper bag, drop a few cookies into the bag, close the top securely, and shake gently to coat the warm cookies with the sugar. (If you don’t have a paper bag a ziplock will work, but not quite as well as a paper bag because you will have to brush off the excess sugar from the cookies.)
  12. Transfer the cookies to a wired rack and let cool completely.
  13. Repeat with the remaining cookies.