Pfeffernusse (Pepper Nuts) "The German Christmas Cookie"

Sarah Prieb


This is a VERY spicey version of this cookie! If you like less spice start with a quarter of the spices and add to taste.


★★★★★ 4 votes

35-50 cookies


  • 1 c
  • 1/2 c
  • 1
  • 2 Tbsp
  • 1/2 Tbsp
  • 1/2 c
    candied orage peel (see bottom for recipe)
  • 1
    large lemon (zest + juice)
  • 3 tsp
  • 1 tsp
    ground cloves
  • 2 tsp
    ground pepper
  • 2 tsp
  • 2 3/4 c
    all purpose flour
  • 1 c
    walnuts or almonds, coarsely ground

  • 1 c
    powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp
    lemon juice (+ or -)

  • 3
  • 1/4 c
  • 1 c

How to Make Pfeffernusse (Pepper Nuts) "The German Christmas Cookie"


  1. This cookie seems difficult but if you prep everything a head then all you have to do is throw it in the bowl. So, candy the orange peel, zest and juice the lemon, measure the spices, and use a food processor or nut grinder to get the nuts to a coarse grind.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and egg.
  3. Add molasses and vanilla, stir to combine.
  4. Add candied orage peel, lemon zest, juice, and spices, stir to combine.
  5. Slowly add flour and nuts.
  6. Cover and refrigerate over night.
  7. Shape into 3/4 in. balls (or scoop with sml cookie dough scoop) onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheet.
  8. Bake at 325 F for 15-18 mins. until cookies are set and bottoms are LIGHT golden brown. They will firm as they cool. Over baking will result in a hard cookie. Let cool on cookie sheet for a minute then place on cooling rack that is over a sheet of foil.
  9. TIME TO GLAZE: Mix lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth with the consistancy of warm honey. Hold cookie by bottom and dip the top portion in the glaze, replace on cooling rack. Glaze the cookies while still warm.
  10. CANDIED ORANGE PEEL: Cut top and bottoms off oranges so they can sit flat. With a knife or vegtable peeler cut the skin off the orange so that it has a little of the pith as possible. Pulse in the food processor until coarsely ground.
  11. To make the peel less bitter add to a pot of boiling water. Boil 1 minute, let stand 10 mins. Strain through sieve.
  12. Bring sugar and water to a low boil. add the peel and simmer 3 mins. strain through sieve and spread out on waxed paper. Let dry.

Printable Recipe Card

About Pfeffernusse (Pepper Nuts) "The German Christmas Cookie"

Course/Dish: Cookies

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