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These traditional Pfeffernüsse Cookies are delightfully spiced and easy to make! Look no further for your new favorite Christmas cookie! 

Day 5 (Part 2) of the annual 12 Days of Christmas Cookies 2021!

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

So, I totally made these cookies because the name looked really cool. I’m not ashamed.

Pfeffernüsse Cookies
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I also have no regrets because they are a delight! 
I’m just going to throw something out there that might be super controversial…nobody does Christmas cookies like Eastern European countries. They have that magical combination of spices, molasses and sugar on lock. Over the years I have made dozens of traditional Christmas cookies from vintage books, deep in the overlooked part of the baking internet, and heirloom recipes. I just can’t get enough of that spice + molasses combo.

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

Like the Moravian Spice Cookies or my favorite Gingerbread Boys. Gingersnaps and speculoos for the year-round win!

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

What are Pfeffernüsse Cookies? 

When I saw this recipe in my vintage, Better Homes and Gardens’ Cookies and Candies cookbook, I couldn’t resist a quick Google to see what Pfeffernusse cookies were all about. I was already hooked by the name and intriguing mixing method, but the photos of little, bite-sized spiced cookies coated in powdered sugar really just did me in.

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

Apparently German for “pepper nut” Pfeffernuesse cookies are named for the pinch of pepper added to the dough before it is baked!

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

Part 1 of Day 5 was the wondrous: Moravian Christmas Cookie!

We all loved Day 4 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Orange Financiers!

Day 3 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Pistachio Cranberry Sablee Cookies!

We had Day 2 of the 12 Day Christmas Cookie celebration: Cashew Caramel Pretzel Blondies!

Don’t forget about Part One of Day 2 of the 12 Day Cookie Extravaganza: Hungarian Walnut Rolls!

And who could leave out Day 1, Italian Pizzelles!? Make them all!

Pfeffernusse Cookies interior detail
5 from 46 ratings

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

These traditional Pfeffernüsse Cookies are delightfully spiced and easy to make! Look no further for your new favorite Christmas cookie!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 32 minutes
Servings: 54 Cookies



  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper.
  • In a large pot, melt molasses and butter. Cool to room temperature.
  • Whisk the egg into the molasses mixture. Mix in the dry ingredients.
  • Place a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter and turn dough out onto plastic. Shape in a ball, wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line several baking sheets with parchment.
  • Shape chilled dough into 1-inch balls. Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes.
  • Cool and toss in confectioner’s sugar.


I made a half batch with great success!
Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens Cookies & Candies 1966 Edition
Yield: 4 ½ dozen cookies


Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 43mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 62IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Germany
Calories: 79
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Pfeffernüsse Cookies
Pfeffernüsse Cookies

Hi, I’m Chef Lindsey!

I am the baker, recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Chef Lindsey Farr. I believe in delicious homemade food and the power of dessert!

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