Mommy Sugar's Pepper Nuts (Pfeffernusse-Pebernodder)

Beth Carlton


This is a very old recipe from Germany. These cookies are usually served with coffee or tea and enjoyed mainly at Christmastime. There is no shortening or butter in this recipe. Citron can be found during the holiday season in the produce or baking section with the candied fruit used to make fruitcake. Citron can be hard to find so I stock up when I find it and it freezes very well. It can also be purchased online.

Traditionally these cookies are bite-size nuggets, but our family makes them into cookies. Feel free to experiment with different sizes, shapes, & add-ins. Enjoy!

Blue Ribbon Recipe

From gingerbread to Linzer, German cookies are world famous and really special. These Pfeffernusse are no different. They're filled with fall spices, chopped pecans and a bit of citrus flavor from the orange zest and citron. Molasses gives the pepper nut cookie a wonderfully chewy texture. Typically these old-fashioned cookies are dusted with powdered sugar or drizzled with a glaze - both ways are delicious. Test Kitchen Avatar The Test Kitchen


★★★★☆ 3 votes

24 Hr 30 Min
15 Min


  • 2-1/2 c
    cane sugar
  • 4 large
    eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c
  • 4 c
    plain all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp
    baking powder
  • 1 tsp
    ground cloves
  • 1 tsp
    ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp
    ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp
    nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 tsp
    fresh orange zest
  • 2 tsp
    vanilla extract
  • 2 pkg
    4 oz candied citron
  • 1 c
    nuts (pecans or walnuts)

How to Make Mommy Sugar's Pepper Nuts (Pfeffernusse-Pebernodder)


  1. With a heavy duty mixer, blend together eggs and sugar. Beat until creamy.
  2. Add molasses, vanilla, and orange zest. Beat 3-4 minutes on medium speed until well blended.
  3. Measure 4 level cups of plain flour and reserve 1/2 cup for later. Sift together remaining 3-1/2 cups plain flour, baking powder, and spices.
  4. In a bowl, coat candied citron and nuts with the reserved 1/2 cup of plain flour.
  5. Slowly add flour and spice mixture to batter and blend on fold/low speed just until blended.
  6. Gently fold in citron & nuts. Dough will be very thick and sticky.
  7. Place dough in air tight container and refrigerate overnight. This allows your spices to combine together for maximum spiciness! :)
  8. Roll dough out onto floured surface.
  9. Cut out with cookie cutters OR drop by rounded spoonfuls and flatten out. Decorate as desired.
  10. Place on a cookie-sheet coated with cooking spray or parchment paper.
  11. Bake 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Edges should be slightly browned.

Printable Recipe Card

About Mommy Sugar's Pepper Nuts (Pfeffernusse-Pebernodder)

Course/Dish: Cookies
Main Ingredient: Flour
Regional Style: German
Collection: Christmas Cookies
Other Tag: Heirloom

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