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German Pfeffernüsse Cookies

German Pfeffernusse Cookies – A traditional spiced German cookie covered in powdered sugar. The perfect cookie for a Christmas cookie exchange!

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

German Pfeffernusse Cookies

Have you ever tried a German pfeffernüsse cookies before? If you haven’t, these cookies are going to be a new Christmas favorite! They are soft, spicy cookies with a more toned down molasses base than normal gingerbread with a bit of honey too.  I liked how the spices shined through more than traditional gingerbread cookies.  Because of their prevalence, they create such an incredible flavor!

These traditional German cookies is the second recipe in my international cookie series of posts leading up to Christmas.  My first post was the French Palmier Cookies and for this one I popped over to their neighbor, Germany, for a traditional Christmas cookie recipe! Germany is near and dear to my heart with a few good friends from there and I speak German (kind of).  Frohe Weinachten (Merry Christmas)! I’m not quite sure what international cookie recipe will be up next, I have two Italian cookies lined up for the first week of December but none for next week!

This Pfeffernusse Cookies recipe was the first time I’ve had the chance to use star anise or anise extract.  I finally got to pull that out of the pantry which was weirdly exciting! I had gotten some a while back but just hadn’t come across any recipe with it in it!

Pfeffernusse Cookies

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Notes on traditional german pfeffernüsse cookies recipe

  • This recipe makes about 16 cookies, you are going to want to make a double batch if you are making these for a cookie exchange or having guests over.

German Pfeffernusse Cookies

Yield: 16

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

A traditional spiced German cookie covered in powdered sugar. The perfect cookie for a Christmas cookie exchange!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp anise extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, for dusting


  1. In a small saucepan, combine butter, molasses, and honey over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Add egg and anise extract to butter mixture. Stir and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, ground pepper, ground ginger, and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until well combined. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let cool in a fridge for 2-3 hours.
  5. Once the dough has cooled, preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Roll cookie dough into 1" balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Once cookies have cooled, roll in powdered sugar.

Traditional Pfeffernusse Cookies

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Mary Barlow

Friday 6th of December 2019

I made these cookies but they came out flat.I have made other cookies and they also came out flat.I used new baking soda and powder.HELP.

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Monday 15th of January 2018

I baked these cookies today, through trial and error l found a way of baking the cookies that worked for me. I added a tea of vanilla. I also rolled the cookies in regular sugar, after 10 mins l patted the cookies down just a lit' then back in the oven for 2 more minutes. The cookies do not flatten down as shown in picture. I also halved spices, personal preference. Cookies remind us of ginger snaps ?

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