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Pfeffernüsse

Prep Time:

15 minutes

Cook Time:

12 minutes

Serves:

24 Cookies

About the Recipe

As I step into the kitchen, the air is filled with the warm, comforting aroma of holiday spices – a sure sign that it's Pfeffernüsse time. These little German spice cookies were not a part of my growing up tradition, yet I do have memories of having had these from time to time as treats.
These are becoming a beloved tradition in my family now that I am grown, and the kids have fun saying the name. I hope they become a cookie that brings them memories of festive gatherings and cozy winter evenings.
The recipe, is of the type you would imagine could have been handed down through generations, is a delightful blend of molasses, honey, and a medley of spices that dance together to create a flavor symphony in each bite. The dough, with its earthy hues and enticing fragrance, comes together effortlessly, a testament to the simplicity and magic of holiday baking. Chilling in the fridge overnight only intensifies the flavors, making it a perfect make-ahead treat for busy days leading up to the festivities. Rolling the dough into perfect little spheres is a hands-on affair, and there's a certain joy in getting your hands sticky with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
As these sweet orbs of goodness bake to golden perfection, the anticipation builds, and I find myself transported to a winter wonderland of tastes and memories. The final touch – a generous glazing of powdered sugar – transforms these unassuming cookies into snowy delights, ready to be shared with loved ones or savored in a quiet moment by the fire.
Pfeffernüsse, to me, isn't just a cookie; it's a delicious bridge that connects the past with the present, a cookie that adds warmth and flavor to the holiday season.
So, armed with molasses and a pinch of nostalgia, I bring you with me to embark on another batch, ready to create more moments and memories with every aromatic, spice-infused bite.

Ingredients

Cookies:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup molasses

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons water

Preparation

I love making traditional recipes. Even though these were not a staple in our Christmas cookie box when I was growing up, they certainly are now. One of the best cookies (in my opinion) to serve along side a cup of tea.

Just the right amount of sweet and spice to warm up your soul on a cold winters day. If you would like to know more about Pfeffernusse, go check out my blog.

But for now, let's get baking!

Dry ingredients in a bowl.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, white pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

ingredients in a bowl

In another bowl, beat together the butter, molasses, honey, powdered sugar, egg, and vanilla extract until well combined.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until a dough forms. (The dough should be slihtly sticky to the touch, it will firm up when chilled. However, if you are finding that the dough is too sticky and hard to handle- add a little bit more flour).

Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight, this allows the flavors to mingle and develop).

Pfeffernusse balls unbaked

Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C) and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Liberally flour your work surface. Shape the dough into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter, and place them on the prepared baking sheets. (I like to roll my dough out into long snakes and then cut it into even sections which I then roll into balls).

freshly baked Pfeffernusse cookies.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are set.

Let the cookies cool, then dip them in the powdered sugar glaze. (I like to dip, let the glaze set and give them another dunking for a double glaze and to get the glaze to really look white).


Enjoy!

Pfeffernuse cookie that was bitten into on a white background.

Tip: this dough can also be rolled out and used with cookie cutters. It is easier to work with when chilled, so if the dough starts to warm up too much and sticks to everything, simply pop it back into the refrigerator for 20 mins. and keep going.


Snowflake shaped Pfeffernusse cookie ready to be dipped into a glass of milk.

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