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Whether called Pfeffernusse in Germany, Pebernodder in Denmark or Peppernotter in Sweden, these spicy drop cookies are found throughout Northern Europe at Christmas time.

3 eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup white sugar
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon finely minced citron (optional)
1 tablespoon finely minced candied orange peel (optional)
1/2 cup grated blanched almonds
2 1/2 cups flour, approximately
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves
1/2 teaspoon powdered allspice
1/4 teaspoon powdered cardamom
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
Rum, brandy or arrack

Confectioners' sugar or White Sugar Glaze

Beat eggs with both sugars until mixture is very thick and almost white. Add lemon rind, fruit, peel, and almonds and mix well. Sift flour with baking powder and spices and stir into egg mixture.

Knead on a floured board until smooth. Shape into long rolls about 1 inch in diameter and cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices.

Arrange on 3 or 4 large buttered cookie sheets and let DRY uncovered in a cool room or refrigerator overnight.

Just before baking, turn over each cookie and sprinkle with rum, brandy, or arrack. Bake in preheated 300 F. oven for about 20 minutes.

Roll each cookie in confectioner's sugar while warm, or let cool and ice. These last for weeks if stored in an airtight container. Makes about 9 dozen cookies.

VARIATION: Any of spices mentioned are optional and to taste. Candied fruits are usually omitted in Scandinavia and
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger is substituted for pepper.

In Pennsylvania Dutch country this dough (Pefferniss) is allowed to ripe at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, after which it is shaped into rolls, chilled and cut as described.
It is then baked without being dried.


For cookies and cakes, and especially for Lebkuchen.

1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tablespons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1 teaspoon rum or brandy (optional)
1/2 to 1 1/4 tablespoons hot water, or as needed.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, flavoring and rum or brandy.
Gradually stir in hot water, a tablespoonful at a time, until you have a smooth thick paste. Spread on warm cookies.
If mixture cools and thickens as you work, thin with additional hot water. Sugar sprinkles can be scattered on the glaze before it hardens. Makes 1/4 cup, or enough to ice about fifteen 1 1/2 inch cookies.

Visions Of Sugarplums






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Last updated October 18, 2004