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Peppernuts (Pfeffernusse Cookies): The Most Fun To Eat

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Preview: Peppernuts (Pfeffernusse Cookies) are bite-sized cookies with a European heritage. Perfect for gift-giving or holiday parties.

These cookies won the Star-Telegram Christmas cookie contest awhile back. Or maybe it was second place. I’m not sure. Anyway, I printed the details and stuck them in my someday-I-want-to-try-this file.

Crunchy Gingerbread Bites in a bowl along with cookies packaged for gift-giving

When I heard our church needed cookies for the Christmas baskets we give to the older and less mobile members, I dug out this recipe. It was the perfect opportunity to experiment because I would have something to do with them besides stuff my own face.

Why these cookies make excellent gifts:

  1. They don’t crumble.
  2. They stay fresh and delicious for up to 3 weeks or can be frozen.
  3. No decorating required.

Are peppernuts and pfeffernusse the same thing?

Yes.  Peppernuts are the English translation of pfefferneuse. You can read about it on Wikipedia.

These miniature sweets are some trouble, officially qualifying them as Christmas cookies. I’ve figured out if you want to be labeled a Christmas cookie, you must be either red, green, or labor-intensive. 

Now I’m not saying these cookies are difficult to make. They couldn’t be easier. It just takes a chunk of time to cut all those little pieces of dough. Don’t worry, the last tray only took about a third of the time of the first tray.

Rolling out peppernut cookies:

portioning dough for peppernuts

Originally, I thought I would roll each little ball by hand.  HA! There must be about a thousand per batch. People eat them by the handfuls, so trying to make them look perfect is wasted energy.

tray of Pfeffernusse

To package them, I put about 3/4 cup in each cellophane bag (available at craft stores) and tied each package with red raffia. A cute Christmas label would have been nice. (Sigh) Maybe next year.

Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and me by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating inside the recipe below. No comments required.

Hope to see you again soon!

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: paula at

Yield: 100 cookies

Peppernuts (Pfeffernusse) Recipe


These crispy bite-size cookies are reminiscent of gingerbread. Also known as Pfeffernusse.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 9 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 9 minutes


  • 1 cup butter (8 oz) (2 sticks)
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons dark syrup (I used date syrup but dark corn syrup or molasses is also good)
  • 3-1/2 cup all-purpose flour (420 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons soda
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise flavoring (optional)


  1. Whip room-temperature butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and egg and continue to beat.
  2. Add remaining ingredients in order given.
  3. Pull off small pieces of dough and roll to the thickness of a pencil. Slice into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces. Place on a cookie sheet covered with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  4. Bake at 350˚F for 7-9 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 176Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 52mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 0gSugar: 18gProtein: 2g

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