Pfeffernusse Cookies

Pfeffernüsse are German Christmas cookies spiced with black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and other spices. I have searched far and wide for a recipe that mimics my favorite, store-bought version of these cookies. After days of thrown-out cookies, I think I have come as close as I can get.

Pfeffernusse Cookies
  • ½ cup molasses

  • ¼ cup honey

  • ¼ cup shortening

  • ¼ cup margarine

  • 2 large eggs

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • ¾ cup white sugar

  • ½ cup brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons anise extract

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting

    1. Place molasses, honey, shortening, and margarine in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir until creamy.
    2. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Beat in eggs.
    3. Combine flour, white sugar, brown sugar, anise, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, black pepper, and salt in a large bowl.
    4. Add molasses mixture; stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate dough until well chilled, about 2 hours.
    5. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

    6. Roll dough into acorn-sized balls and place 1 inch apart on baking sheets.

    7. Bake in the preheated oven until firm to the touch with slight cracking, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets briefly before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

    8. Dust cooled cookies with confectioners' sugar. Store in an airtight container.

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