Pfeffernüsse

November 30, 2012

Post image for Pfeffernüsse

I have many fond memories of enjoying Pfeffernüsse cookies during the holiday season while living in Switzerland. Pronounced [fef-fur-noose], these delightful German cookies translate to “pepper nuts” and are truly one of my favorite holiday treats. These spicy cookies, full of cloves, nutmeg, ground black pepper, ginger and cardamom, are not for the faint of heart and best reserved for those who love these distinct spices (although I challenge the non-spicy folks to give them a try as well – they are delicious and so worth it!). In Germany (and its neighboring Switzerland), Pfeffernüsse is a very old, if not ancient, recipe that has been passed down for generations and enjoyed throughout many European countries. I recall picking up a box of Pfeffernüsse from my local bakery in Lugano along with my daily espresso and subsequently bringing dozens home when I went back to the States.

big Natale 2011 %C3%94%C3%87%C3%B4 02084 Pfeffernüsse{ Christmas “Natale” in Lugano, Switzerland }

Since the flavor of Pfeffernüsse deepens and sharpens with age, they are the first cookies I bake every year since you can enjoy them throughout the whole month of December. Best of all, when you bake them, a rush of warm spices and all of the smells of Christmas cheer fill your kitchen. As an added bonus, these cookies do not contain any butter or oil so they are one of the most low-fat cookies you can bake, without sacrificing any of the authentic flavor or texture of the cookies. Happy Holiday Baking!

IMG 19713 Pfeffernüsse

Pfeffernüsse

Ingredients
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups white flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 eggs, large
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/3 cup powdered sugar, for rolling

IMG 1873 Pfeffernüsse

Directions

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Prep 2 cookie sheets by spraying with cooking spray or lining with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, ginger, cardamom, baking soda, white flour and wheat flour.

IMG 1888 Pfeffernüsse

Using an electic mixer set on medium speed, beat together the brown sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Reduce the speed of the electric mixer to low. Gradually add the dry ingredients and beat until completely blended. Batter will be very dry and crumbly – this is how it should to be! Slowly add in the chopped walnuts and beat until combined.

IMG 1897 Pfeffernüsse

IMG 1903 Pfeffernüsse

Using damp hands, pinch off dough in tablespoon amounts; roll into 1-inch balls. Arrange balls 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. It will make about 45 balls. Make sure your hands have water on them while rolling the balls – it will help tremendously to bind the dough together.

IMG 1908 Pfeffernüsse

Bake for 11 – 14 minutes, or until just starting to become golden.

Transfer sheets to a wire rack to cool, about 15-20 minutes.

IMG 1917 Pfeffernüsse

IMG 1923 Pfeffernüsse

Working in batches, carefully roll cookies in powdered sugar until covered completely.

IMG 1933 Pfeffernüsse

Let cool completely on wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

IMG 19602 Pfeffernüsse

IMG 19461 Pfeffernüsse

IMG 19353 Pfeffernüsse

 

Pfeffernüsse
 
IMG 19461 Pfeffernüsse
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: German
 
A delicious, spicy cookie for Christmastime.
Ingredients
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1¼ cups white flour
  • 1¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar, for rolling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Prep 2 cookie sheets by spraying with cooking spray or lining with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, ginger, cardamom, baking soda, white flour and wheat flour.
  4. Using an electic mixer set on medium speed, beat together the brown sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  5. Reduce the speed of the electric mixer to low. Gradually add the dry ingredients and beat until completely blended. Batter will be very dry and crumbly – this is how it should to be! Slowly add in the chopped walnuts and beat until combined.
  6. Using damp hands, pinch off dough in tablespoon amounts; roll into 1-inch balls. Arrange balls 1½ inches apart on prepared baking sheets. It will make about 45 balls. Make sure your hands have water on them while rolling the balls – it will help tremendously to bind the dough together.
  7. Bake for 11 – 14 minutes, or until just starting to become golden.
  8. Transfer sheets to a wire rack to cool, about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Working in batches, carefully roll cookies in powdered sugar until covered completely.
  10. Let cool completely on wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

 

 

button print gry20 Pfeffernüsse
  • http://www.honeyandlulu.blogspot.com.au Chloe & Sarah

    These look just divine! I love traditional christmas sweets and these look perfect for the occasion! I can’t wait to make these in the coming weeks :)

    Chloe & Sarah

    • Janelle

      Thank you ~ they are certainly the perfect cookie to get excited about the holiday season! Enjoy & let me know how they come out! :) x

      • http://www.honeyandlulu.blogspot.com.au Chloe & Sarah

        The flavours just look great – will definately let you know how they go :)

        We have awarded The Chic Brulee with the Sunshine Blogger Award – http://honeyandlulu.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/yo-yo-biscuits-sunshine-award.html

        Congratulations!! You most definately deserve it! We are big fans of your blog and absolutely love the mix of content :)

        Have a lovely weekend,

        Chloe & Sarah

  • Ann

    No butter?!

    • Janelle

      yes, it is amazing, but true! Happy Holidays! :)

  • Nova

    Just curious, is the inclusion of wheat flour authentic, or a personal tweak? I’m trying to re-create my great grandmother’s recipe and I’m doubtful she kept two different kinds of flour around. She made Pfeffernüsse every year until she died, and sadly never wrote her recipe down.

    Pfeffernüsse

    • http://thechicbrulee.com/ Janelle

      Hi! Thank you for reading! How lovely you are recreating your grandmother’s recipe :) How did it turn out? You can certainly use all white flour if you prefer – the wheat flour isn’t necessarily traditional, but the darker color contributes nicely to the look of the cookie so that is why I used it. Totally up to you though! x Janelle

      • Nova

        I ended up making two batches, one with wheat and one without. The one without tasted almost exactly the same (probably just need to swap the amounts of cardamom and nutmeg), but the one with wheat had a little more…I’m not sure how to describe it…sort of a little extra something-something. Both were very good and my family was happy we could have a little remembrance of Granny. Thank you from all of us for posting this recipe :)

  • Dani

    I was so excited to try these. Being from South Dakota, they are very well known, however I couldn’t for the life of me hardly get the dough to bind together in order to form into balls, even with damp hands. Am I just not patient? Lol

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