Peppernuts Cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies)

 This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy, spicy, slightly sweet and very tasty! These cookies are a wonderful gift for giving during the holidays!

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

My husband is from Kansas and in the community where he lived there was a significant amount of German Mennonites. They brought this traditional German cookie recipe with them and it is very popular at holiday get togethers. 

Here is the original Mennonite Peppernuts recipe card that was his mother’s card. You can tell the age with it being written on a typewriter and having darkened with age and baking stains. This is a well-loved recipe! We have improved the instructions that are quite lacking in this card as well as the baking temperature and time, so use the updated recipe at the end.

This Peppernuts recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy, slightly sweet and addictive cookies!

What are Peppernuts? 

Peppernuts are small spice cookies from Germany and also called German crunch cookies by some. In Germany they are known as Pfeffernüsse. They are called Pebernødder in Danish, Pepernoten in Dutch, and pfeffernuesse or peppernuts in English.

These cookies are small and crunchy like a nut, hence their name. They are crunchy, just slightly sweet and so easy to eat by the handful. And then another handful. Okay, just one more, maybe! They are so yummy!

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

You might notice the anise oil in the recipe. That is the flavor of black licorice, but don’t let that scare you. I don’t like black licorice, but I love the taste of these cookies.

The cinnamon and cloves add the spice to these cookies and the molasses also adds to the flavor.

One of the best things about these cookies is that they keep for a month and are best when they have had some time to dry out and get crunchier. So, these are often made a month before Christmas and stored in metal tins to age. Being in Texas, when my husband was growing up they often received a Collin Street Bakery DeLuxe Fruitcake in a holiday tin like the one shown below. These they saved and reused to store the Peppernut cookies and we continue that tradition today.

 

Holiday Tin for Storing Peppernuts. Peppernuts are traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy, slightly sweet and addictive cookies!

This recipe makes a lot of these little cookies, but don’t even think about halving this recipe. You are going to want to give some of these as gifts. They make great gifts for friends, family and school teachers. You can find small jars to put these in and decorate them up with Christmas colors.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

These look so festive!

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

How to Make Peppernuts

Here is how to make these delicious Peppernuts cookies.

First, get your ingredients together. There are a few more ingredients to these cookies than most, but that is okay, it is what makes them so tasty.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

In a large mixing bowl (preferably a Kitchenaid stand mixing bowl), add the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, molasses, and cream and mix well.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Add the eggs, salt, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, anise oil, baking soda and baking powder and mix well.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Add one cup of flour at a time.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Mix until the flour is absorbed into the dough. You do not have to over mix it. Note that the dough gets very stiff and can easily burn out hand mixer motors. For this reason, you should use a heavy duty stand mixer. In either case, if your mixer is struggling, then stop using the mixer and mix in the rest of the flour by hand. It can be quite a workout!

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Put the bowl of dough into the refrigerator for 30 minutes and allow the dough to get a little stiffer.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. If you have a double oven, then preheat both ovens.

Lay out aluminum foil for the baked cookies to cool on.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Tape wax paper to the top of your table, counter, island, or other kitchen work area.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Scoop out a lemon-sized amount of dough.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Roll it into a ball in your hands.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Place the dough ball onto the wax paper and use your palm and fingers to roll it out into a thin rope of dough 1/4 inch in diameter. The key is to be consistent and make these all the same size so they will cook in the same amount of time. If the dough is sticking to the wax paper, then sprinkle a small amount of flour on the wax paper to prevent this.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Use a knife to cut the rope into small nut sized pieces of dough.This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Place them on a baking sheet where they are not touching and there is room for them to grow as they bake so that the baked cookies won’t be touching each other.This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-12 minutes until they are a golden brown color. Check them at eight minutes and bake them longer if needed. Make sure that you do not bake them too long or the underside will burn.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking pans for 5 minutes, then transfer them to the aluminum foil. The cookies will be a little soft when they first come out of the oven but will become very crunchy as they cool.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

Repeat rolling the dough, cutting the dough, loading the baking sheets and baking the cookies until all of the dough is used. This is a fun activity to get your whole family involved in for baking these holiday cookies.

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy and filled with spices for slightly sweet, addictive cookies! These cookies are wonderful for gift giving during the holidays!

After the cookies have completely cooled, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. If the cookies are not quite crunchy, you can leave the lid off of the container for a few hours and they will get crunchy.

Here’s the Recipe!

This Peppernuts recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy, slightly sweet and addictive cookies!

Peppernuts Cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies)

Yield: About 25 cups of small cookies
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours

This Peppernuts cookies recipe makes traditional German cookies (Pfeffernüsse Cookies) that are small, crunchy, spicy, slightly sweet and very tasty! These cookies are a wonderful gift for giving during the holidays!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon anise oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 level teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 cups of all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl (preferably a Kitchenaid stand mixing bowl), add the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, molasses, and cream and mix well.
  2. Add the eggs, salt, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, anise oil, baking soda and baking powder and mix well.
  3. Add one cup of flour at a time and mix until the flour is absorbed into the dough. You do not have to over mix it. Note that the dough gets very stiff and can easily burn out hand mixer motors. For this reason, you should use a heavy duty stand mixer. In either case, if your mixer is struggling, then stop using the mixer and mix in the rest of the flour by hand. It can be quite a workout!
  4. Put the bowl of dough into the refrigerator for 30 minutes and allow the dough to get a little stiffer.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. If you have a double oven, then preheat both ovens.
  6. Lay out aluminum foil for the baked cookies to cool on.
  7. Tape wax paper to the top of your table, counter, island, or other kitchen work area.
  8. Scoop out a lemon-sized amount of dough and roll it into a ball in your hands.
  9. Place the dough ball onto the wax paper and use your palm and fingers to roll it out into a thin rope of dough 1/4 inch in diameter. The key is to be consistent and make these all the same size so they will cook in the same amount of time. If the dough is sticking to the wax paper, then sprinkle a small amount of flour on the wax paper to prevent this.
  10. Use a knife to cut the rope into small nut sized pieces of dough and place them on a baking sheet where they are not touching and there is room for them to grow as they bake so that the baked cookies won’t be touching each other.
  11. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-12 minutes until they are a golden brown color. Check them at eight minutes and bake them longer if needed. Make sure that you do not bake them too long or the underside will burn.
  12. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking pans for 5 minutes, then transfer them to the aluminum foil. The cookies will be a little soft when they first come out of the oven but will become very crunchy as they cool.
  13. Repeat rolling the dough, cutting the dough, loading the baking sheets and baking the cookies until all of the dough is used. This is a fun activity to get your whole family involved in for baking these holiday cookies.
  14. After the cookies have completely cooled, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. If the cookies are not quite crunchy, you can leave the lid off of the container for a few hours and they will get crunchy.

Notes

You can make this cookie dough up to 3 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 100 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 96Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 11mgSodium 46mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 0gSugar 8gProtein 1g

Nutrition information has been auto-calculated for your convenience.

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This Peppernuts recipe is also called by these names: Mennonite peppernuts recipe, peppernuts anise cookies recipe, German pepper nut cookies recipe, pepper nut cookie recipe, pepper nuts recipe, and German pfeffernusse recipe.

November 28, 2020 | Last Updated on December 20, 2020 by Linda

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