These traditional German cookies are generally eaten around Christmas time. They certainly were the major feature of our bunte teller each year, made for us by Poppy.
The literal translation is “pepper nut” which is the whole reason why these cookies are so special. They are peppery and spicy and not super sweet. Usually just big enough to pop one on your mouth and enjoy with a dark cup of coffee. Germans love spicy cookies, like pfeffernüsse, lebkuchen, zimtsterne and springerle. These ones look similar to Russian tea cakes, but the taste is quite something else.
Makes about 40
- 3 c flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3 Tbsp vegetable shortening
- 1 c honey
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground black or white pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- optional extra spices:
- (1/4 tsp each of ground cardamom, mace, star anise and allspice)
- confectioner’s sugar for rolling
Preheat oven to 180ºC (350°F). Line 2 large baking sheets.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
In another bowl, beat the shortening and honey together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg, then lower mixer speed and gradually mix in the dry, beating just until blended. Let the dough chill for about 10 minutes to firm up.
Dust hands with confectioner’s sugar to prevent sticking while forming cookies. Scoop tablespoon-sized balls and roll into balls. Place balls an inch apart on prepared baking sheets and bake about 15 minutes, or until golden and slightly cracked. When cookies are still lightly warm, roll in confectioner’s sugar to completely coat the cookies. Store in an airtight container. Sometimes cookies with spices taste best around 3 days after baking, when the flavors have settled.
Recipe from: The German Cookbook: A complete guide to mastering authentic German cooking by Mimi Sheraton