Peppernut Snowmen Cookies

Peppernut Snowmen Cookies

cookies & brownies, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, winter
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Peppernut Snowmen

Peppernut cookies, or Pfeffernusse in German, are traditionally tiny spice cookies (the size of a nut) and are loaded with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg.  There’s molasses, too, for a deep flavor and a splash of brandy for brightness.  But, the ingredient that sets these little guys apart is pepper!

I got the idea to turn my peppernut cookies into snowmen from a happy accident made by Heavenly Homemakers, who found that when she put three cookie dough balls near each other on the tray, they merged together into a snowman.  I put my dough balls close on purpose. :)

My tasters were scared of these peppernut snowmen, however there was no reason for them to be.  The pepper in peppernut cookies gives them a little spunk and, once one peppernut cookie was happily eaten, word spread about how tasty they were.  Soon, people weren’t only trying them, but having seconds and thirds.

CK Products 4 Ounce Sanding Sugar Bottle, White

To decorate the snowmen, I used white sanding sugar.

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Wilton 710-1341 Easter Bunny and Carrot Sprinkles Mix Bottle, 3.4-Ounce

Their noses are carrot sprinkles.  Carrot sprinkles are hard to find when it’s not Easter-time.  But, you can buy some online or you could actually use a piece of a carrot.

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Whole Pink Peppercorns Tin

I used pink peppercorns both in the cookies and for the buttons.  This adds even more pepper flavor and makes the peppernut cookies even spicier.  If you prefer a less spicy cookie, you could use red sprinkles.  Fun fact: Pink peppercorns are actually berries, but they sure taste like peppercorns.

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Peppernut Snowmen Cookies Recipe

Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies

My peppernut cookie recipe is modified from the one in this book to use pink peppercorns and to be shaped like a snowman.  The original recipe also included candied orange peel and lemon zest which I chose not to include.

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Peppernut Snowmen Cookies

Yield: 16 snowmen

Peppernut Snowmen Cookies


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pink peppercorns (you can smash them with a mortar and pestle or use a spice grinder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • pinch cloves
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped almonds
  • white sanding sugar, for decorating
  • 32 black peppercorns, for decorating
  • 16 carrot sprinkles, for decorating
  • 48 pink peppercorns, for decorating


  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, ground pink peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a small cup, mix molasses and brandy.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Mix in egg yolk.
  5. Mix in chopped almonds.
  6. Alternately add flour mixture and molasses/brandy to the butter/sugar mixture in thirds until everything is added.
  7. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least eight hours or up to three days to allow the flavors to meld.
  8. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F.
  9. Remove dough from the refrigerator and pull off three tiny pieces (each about 3/4 inch, but one slightly smaller and one slightly larger). Roll each piece into a little ball.
  10. Line the three balls up like a snowman - just touching each other - on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  11. Repeat for the rest of the dough, keeping snowmen one inch apart from each other on the cookie sheet.
  12. Bake for 8 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with white sanding sugar.
  14. Give each snowman black peppercorn eyes, a carrot sprinkle nose, and pink peppercorn buttons.
  15. Return to the oven for another four to six minutes until the cookies are slightly darker on the edges.
  16. Cool the cookies on a cooling rack.
  17. Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks.

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One comment on “Peppernut Snowmen Cookies”

  1. Claire says:

    These look so cute, and sound delicious. I wish I had found these earlier.

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