Pfeffernüsse or German Gingerbread cookies have been a staple in my life for years now. I have always bought the store versions and have found them to be overly sweet. With notes of cinnamon and ginger, these cookies will surely not last.
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German Gingerbread Cookies
What is your favorite dessert? My favorite is gingerbread during the holiday season. More specifically, glazed German gingerbread, also more commonly known in Europe as pfeffernüsse. These cookies have always been my favorite, ever since I was a little girl. I made them for the first time and they are now my favorite again. I especially like homemade dishes because they don’t have the overly sweetness of the glaze that is put on during the process.
When I was little, I grew up on these delicious confections. Sometimes going as far as, begging or sneaking a bag up to my room. These cookies are deliciously warm, sweet and complex.
This recipe is just the start of my Christmas cookie countdown to Christmas. I may be a little late, making cookies everyday during the month of December. However, I am sure that I will be making up multiple cookies in one day and individually talking about them.
The spices are what make this delectable dessert so iconic. All within one cookie, there are hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, allspice, and cloves. If you make the spices together they make what is called lebkuchengewurz or German gingerbread spice.
If you’re looking for a new Christmas tradition or trying to remember a taste from your childhood, I am excited for you to give these treats a try.
What Are Pfeffernüsse Cookies
Pfeffernüsse cookies are small spiced cookies that are super popular in European countries. They are typically served on December 5th or 6th, when people celebrate the name day of Saint Nicholas.
Everyone has their own version of these cookies. I glaze mine with a homemade glaze, that doesn’t overpower the spices in the cookie, as well as it is sweetened with a molasses and sugar mixture.
What you need to make Pfeffernüsse cookies
- measuring cups and spoons
- 2 baking sheets
- Parchment Paper
- Mixing bowl
- a small cooking pot
- your hands
- small spatula
How To Make Pfeffernüsse Cookies
Don’t worry, the process is a lot easier than trying to spell the name of these cookies. Here’s how you do it.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Measure your ingredients, as the first 2 are crucial and important. Please make sure that all ingredients are ready for insertion.
Pour the molasses and the granulated sugar into a pot. Turn the heat to medium and proceed to heat up the two ingredients. Constantly stir to prevent burning, as well as stirring to the point where the sugar has melted and the molasses is no longer grainy.
Next, take the pot off of the heat and immediately mix in the spices. Let cool to a touch and mix in the baking powder, milk and egg. I find that the sugar molasses mixture starts to harden, so I put the pot back onto the heat for 2 minutes to soften. After its soft, I mix the next 3 ingredients into the mixture.
After you add those 3 ingredients, it will foam up like in the photo below.
After this, place a cup of flour at a time into the mixture. Mix until all the flour is incorporated. You may have to transfer to a mixing bowl to knead. Knead once you are unable to stir any longer.
Knead until the dough is tacky and the rest of the flour is incorporated into the dough.
Once the dough comes together, take out the kitchen scale, pinch off and measure 20g of dough. Otherwise you will have inconsistent sizing. Roll into a ball.
Place the balls onto a baking sheet covered by parchment paper and bake for 9-11 minutes. While those are baking make the glaze.
Mix together the 2 ingredients and coat the baked cookies. You can either dip the cookies or you can brush them on with a pastry brush.
- Mixing bowl
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- baking sheets
- parchment paper
- cooking pot
- ¼ cup molasses
- 6 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp Whole Milk cold from the refrigerator
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 egg cold from the refrigerator
- 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Pour the molasses and sugar into a pot, stir until the sugar is melted and the molasses is not grainy.
- Take the pot off of heat and pour the spices into the mixture and stir. Cool until just warm to the touch. It may be a little difficult to stir for the next step. I usually place the pot back onto the heat to heat up the molasses until easier to stir.
- Insert the egg, milk and baking soda and stir until fully incorporated.The mixture will foam up as you stir. This is normal.
- Add flour, one cup at a time, until the dough starts to form. Transfer to a mixing bowl and need until all the flour is incorporated.
- Pinch off a small 20g, 1 inch ball and place on baking sheets. Continue until all dough is used.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes. While the cookies are baking, make the glaze
- In a separate bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and 1 tbsp. of water. The mixture should be a little runny but still firm.
- After cookies are baked, let them cool so not scalding, but hot enough to let the glaze stick and to be handled.
- You can either brush the glaze on, or you can take the cookie, turn it upside down and dip it into the glaze, making sure to get the whole sphere.
- Let it cool completely and enjoy.