Pfeffernüsse | German Gingerbread Cookies


Recipe: Pfeffernüsse | German Gingerbread Cookies by The Lemon Apron


  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground DRØM black pepper
  • 1 tsp anise seed
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 9 tbsp butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp hot water Spiced icing
  • ¾ cup pure icing sugar, sieved
  • Pinch each of ground nutmeg and ground cloves Chocolate Ganache
  • 1 1⁄3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping creamMakes 36 cookies


  • Take all the spices (cinnamon through cloves) and place in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Blend until the anise seeds have broken down and mixed well into the other spices.
  • Combine the spice blend with the flour in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium high speed until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and molasses until well blended.
  • Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water then add it to the mixture and blend it in.
  • Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Now mix on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Place the dough into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (you can even let it rest overnight, if you have the patience).
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Divide the dough into 3 even sections. From each section make 12 cookies by scooping large rounded tablespoons of the dough and roll them into balls.
  • Place them on two parchment lined baking sheets, leaving 1-2 inches between each ball. You will need to bake in batches; don't crowd all 36 cookies on the two sheets.
  • Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the centre of the oven until puffed and cracked.
  • Allow cookies to cool completely for 1 to 2 hours on a rack.

Spiced Icing:

  • Combine sugar, spices and 1 tbsp water in a large bowl (it should be a thick consistency, but if you need another ¼ tsp, add it). Dip pfeffernüsse into the icing and set onto a rack to dry.

Chocolate Ganache:

  • Bring heavy cream to a simmer on the stove top, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the cream from heat and pour over chocolate chips in a medium bowl.
  • Gently swirl the bowl to make sure the cream is covering all the chocolate.
  • Cover the bowl with a lid or plate to trap the heat. Let this sit undisturbed (no mixing) for 5 minutes.
  • Swirl the chocolate chips in the cream with a whisk starting in the center and working outward until smooth. It will slowly turn into velvety ganache.
  • Dip the cookie tops into the ganache and gently swirl as you are pulling them out. Turn over and let cool completely on a rack.

Recipe Notes by Jennifer Emilson:

I used DRØM black pepper for this recipe. This isn't a case where black pepper is just in the background of a savoury dish. It is one of the key components in this spice blend. So it just seems right to use the best pepper available.
Feel free to use either icing method - or cut the recipes in half, and top with both versions!
These will keep in an airtight container for 5 days.

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