Pfeffernüsse, which means “pepper nuts” in German, are traditional cookies made in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium during Advent. The name refers both to their unique blend of spices and their small size. While pepper is not common as an ingredient to most sweet treats, the delicate, spicy, yet sweet taste of Pffernüsse is sure to enhance holiday cookie platters. These delicious cookies are a special Christmas treat to share with friends and family in this time of celebrating Christ’s birth. So, turn on your favorite Christmas music, grab your apron, and start baking!
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 tablespoon butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup powdered sugar
In a medium bowl, mix together the first six dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and light brown sugar. Add honey, egg yolk, and zest before mixing. Then add the dry ingredients until well blended. With a small ice-cream scoop, place rounded dough mounds about two inches apart. Gently flatten each ball slightly.
Bake at 350 degrees until the edges of the cookies are a light brown color, which should take about 14 minutes. After removing the cookies from the oven and letting them cool, generously sprinkle them with powdered sugar. If you don’t have powdered sugar, it is easy enough to make. Just use a food processor to blend regular sugar until it turns to powder.
The cookies store well for about two weeks. Serve them on their own or paired with a hot beverage like a steamy cup of chai tea. Pffernüsse cookies are sure to set you in the perfect Christmas spirit. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!