Pfeffernusse (German spiced biscuits)

When we were in Germany I had to bring back some treats for friends, family and work.  I brought back some delicious little Pfeffernusse biscuits and I had to try to make my own.

It took me a little while – I’ve been busy of late.  But I finally found a recipe to give them a go.

pfeffernuss, gingerbread, ginger bread, german, spiced cookies, biscuits

Made with allspice, cinnamon and ground black pepper they are a bit more, I don’t know, spicy than gingerbread.  I loved hard icing coating on the ones I brought back from Germany.  the recipe I had just coated them in icing sugar while still warm, which didn’t add the same crunch, but actually mine seemed to have a crunchy shell anyway.

Beautifully crisp on the outside and soft and a bit cakey on the inside.

pfeffernusse, pepper nut biscuit, German, spiced, cookie, iced, They are great served with a cup of tea, or crumbled over ice cream.  I bet they would be good crumbled over porridge now the weather is getting more autumnal.

Pfeffernusse German Spiced biscuits

  • 325g plain flour
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp allspice
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp baking powder
  • 2 small/medium eggs
  • 4tbsp treacle
  • 85g light brown sugar
  • 85g unsalted butter
  • Icing sugar to coat

Makes 24 cookies

  1. In a bowl mix together the flour, spices, salt and pepper and baking powder
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and treacle until light and smooth
  3. Beat in both eggs
  4. Pour the wet ingredients onto the flour mixture and stir until combined and no patches of flour remain.  I thought it was never going to mix in, but it did!
  5. Place the dough in a plastic bag and place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, or until needed (I mean within reason – don’t make it now expecting it to be ok for Christmas! oh, and try not to eat it all before you’ve made the cookies!)
  6. If the dough has survived, preheat the oven to 180C/350F
  7. Prepare a couple of baking trays, I only have one so I made this in two batches
  8. Wet your hands and roll a heaped teaspoon of mixture into a bowl.  Place on the baking sheet about 2 cm apart from each other.  Repeat until you have 24 balls.
  9. Bake until the biscuits are golden (how can you tell – they’re dark brown?!) ok, until they are firm to the touch and dry on the bottom, about 14 minutes.
  10. Allow the biscuits to cool until you can handle them, I don’t need long, I have asbestos hands!
  11. Pour your icing sugar in a bowl, and coat each biscuit one or two at a time until they are all coated.
  12. The recipe said you could store in an airtight container for up to 1 week, but actually I preferred them fresh and slightly warm from the oven.  Obviously I don’t condone eating all 24 in one sitting.  I don’t condone it – but I won’t judge you either!

This is a question that I like to ask as a bit of a conversation starter – you don’t know someone until you know their favourite biscuit/cookie…. What is your favourite biscuit/cookie?

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