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5 from 1 vote

Peppernut Cookies

Peppernuts, or Pfeffernusse, are German cookies with Christmas spices and a little kick from ground pepper.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Chill Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 27 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Servings: 16
Calories: 124kcal
Author: Stefani


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper use white pepper if you don't want to see the black specks
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons molasses any kind except blackstrap
  • 3 tablespoons brandy substitute rum or apple juice if you don't want to use brandy
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar for decorating


  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a small cup, mix molasses and brandy.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in egg yolks.
  • Mix in chopped almonds.
  • Alternately mix flour mixture and molasses/brandy into the butter/sugar mixture in thirds, mixing between each addition until just combined.
  • Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least eight hours or up to three days to allow the flavors to meld.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Roll small balls of dough and place a few inches apart from each other on a cookie sheet. The smaller you make the balls, the crunchier the cookies will be. For softer cookies, make larger balls.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until set.
  • Cool the cookies on a cooling rack for a few minutes and then toss in powdered sugar.
  • Store loosely covered for crispy cookies or in an airtight container for soft cookies.


Adapted from Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies.
These cookies actually taste better as they age. So, if you can wait, let them sit a few days before eating them.


Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 57mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 121IU | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg