Christmas cookies and cinnamon rolls

December 16, 2013

We discovered a new cookie this year for our Christmas repertoire. New to us, that is. Pfeffernusse is an old German cookie redolent with spicy goodness.

It contains freshly ground pepper, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. The pepper is what gives it its name. "Pfeffernusse" literally means "pepper nuts" in German.

I didn't have any cardamom on hand, but I remembered some cardamom pods in my pantry that I had used in a dish I took to a Moroccan dinner hosted by a friend recently.

I had to crack them open, take out the tiny seeds inside, and then whirl them in my coffee grinder. I had to tilt the grinder to one side to make sure the seeds hit the blades whirling around. A little more work, but faster than running to the store, and oh, so delicious smelling. What a difference freshly ground spices makes!

Here's the recipe:


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 large egg
Powdered sugar

(I only had light molasses, so that's what I used.)

1. Grease the cookie sheets; set aside. Place flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, cloves, cardamom, and pepper in a large bowl; stir to combine.

2. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. Gradually add flour mixture. Beat at low speed until dough forms. Form dough into a disc; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.

4. Remove cookies to wire racks; dust with sifted powdered sugar. Cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature or freeze up to 3 months.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

They go quickly!

We also made cinnamon rolls.

I just re-watched "The Last Holiday" with Queen Latifah. There is a line in it where Chef Didier tells  her that "you and I, we know the secret to life. . ." She laughs, and together they exclaim, " It's butter!"
 How can something that starts out like this not be good? 

Extra frosting on the side for those self-induced sugar comas.

Stay hydrated, everyone. It'll flush all that sugar right through!

I am linking up with today for her online Christmas cookie party. Hope I can figure out how to do this! Thank you for joining me!


  1. I used to bake Pepernoten (Pfeffernusse) every year in celebration of Sinterklaas. Thank you for the memory.

    1. sounds like a wonderful memory . . . thanks for stopping by


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