Mom's Old Fashioned Pfefferneusse (Peppernut cookies)

Pam Ellingson


My Greatgrandmother came to the US in 1889 from Germany and taught my mother to cook at an early age. Mother made all the famous German cookies for Christmas. Liebkuchen, Springerle, and Pfefferneusse were all baked in Late October, or early November to be ready and softened for the Holidays. Don't let the ingredient list intimidate you. Afterall, you only make them once a year. I hope you try these as they are different than most and sooooo good.

★★★★★ 3 votes
a Huge amount LOL


4 1/2 c
brown sugar, firmly packed
1 lb
raisins, ground
1 lb
shelled brazil nuts, ground
1 lb
english walnuts, ground
1/2 lb
candied orange and citron peel, chopped fine
1 1/2 c
warm water
eggs, well beaten, large size
2 tsp
baking soda, level
1 1/2 tsp
fresh nutmeg, ground
1 tsp
ground cloves
1 Tbsp
4 1/2 lb
all purpose flour
4 tsp
baking powder
2 Tbsp
ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp
ground allspice
1 Tbsp
anise seed (and/ or some anise extract)


2 c
2 c


1 box
powdered sugar (or about 1 pound.)


1In medium saucepan, mix glaze ingredients and boil together for 3-5 minutes to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2Grind fruit and nuts individually in either an old fasioned hand grinder, or food processor, until pieces are larger than rice, but smaller than small peas. Should be fairly evenly sized. Place in Very large bowl as they are ground.
3In the very Large bowl, mix ground fruit, sugar and ground nuts, peels, water and eggs together well.
4Sift all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
5Mix wet and dry ingredients together well, adding a little more water or flour to adjust the texture if too dry or wet. (Needs to be able to be rolled into balls.) Usually you only need to add a little water if the humidity is low and flour is dry.
6Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
7Using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon, measure out and form the dough into small walnut sized balls. Place on greased Baking sheet. (These do not spread, so you can put them close together, about 1/2 inch between cookies) Bake for 10-15 minutes until very light golden brown and set to the touch. They will feel soft, but set. Move to a cooling rack and let cool to room temp.
8Dip cooled cookies into sugar glaze and let dry for 5-10 minutes,
9Toss in powdered sugar to coat. Store in an airtight container for 2-4 weeks with a whole apple to soften. Check periodically to make sure the apple is not molding. If so, replace. It will shrivel as the moisture is drawn out into the cookies.
10Best way to determine if they are softened is to eat one occasionally. LOL Will last almost indefinitely.
11Forgot to note that these will lose their powdered sugar coating as they ripen and soften, so recoat with powdered sugar just before serving. :)

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Cookies
Main Ingredient: Flour
Regional Style: German