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Pfeffernusse Cookies - a German spice cookies dusted in powder sugar on a wooden board.



A German spice holiday cookie, these Pfeffernusse Cookies are richly fragrant and flavorful, perfect for your morning coffee or tea.



½ cup molasses

¼ cup honey

¼ cup shortening

¼ cup butter

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons anise extract

4 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon allspice

1 ½ teaspoons cardamom

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons white pepper

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups powdered sugar


In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the molasses, honey, shortening, and butter.  Cook, stirring constantly until well combined and the shortening and butter have melted.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

When the mixture is cool, whisk in the eggs and anise extract.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, both sugars, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, pepper, and salt.

Add the molasses mixture and stir just until combined and no streaks of flour remain.  

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

Use a small cookie scoop to remove the chilled dough and roll into balls.  Place on the prepared baking sheet at least 1-inch apart.

Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until the cookies feel firm to the touch.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet until you are able to handle them.

Meanwhile, dump the powdered sugar into a large ziplock bag.

Add a few of the warm cookies to the bag and shake to coat completely.  Place them on a wire rack to cool completely.  Continue with the remainder of the warm cookies.

When the cookies are completely cool, shake them again in the powdered sugar.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes + chilling time
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: German

Keywords: pfeffernusse cookies, German food, Christmas cookies, dessert recipes, spice cookies

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