Pfefferneusse…which is German for “peppernut”…are a traditional spice cookie found at Christmas time. They can have an optional chocolate glaze or be sprinkled with powdered sugar.   These cookies are loaded with spices, chopped nuts, citrus zest, and freshly ground pepper.

I am not exaggerating with the spices:

  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • nutmeg
  • cardamon
  • pepper
  • dry mustard

I don’t think I have ever made cookies with dry mustard in them. The recipe tells us that it has the effect of making all the other spices sparkle.  🙂

I made half a batch of these cookies, which was plenty to share.  I think I came out with 2o.  They were easy to make and had me looking for new ingredients which is always fun…and what this is all about.  I opted to make the cookies with both toppings to see which we would prefer.  One was the simple dusting with powdered sugar and the other with the chocolate glaze.  This however is no ordinary glaze.  You start with bittersweet chocolate and then add to it the butter, but you continue adding…espresso ( I used instant coffee flakes) and then the option is to top the dipped cookies with freshly ground peppercorn.  If you look closely at the picture you can actually see it. I can’t recall ever adding pepper to a glaze on a cookie.

I couldn’t wait to try them out and also see what everyone else thought. Everyone loved the spice cookie…preferred the dusting with powdered sugar BUT everyone had something to say about the chocolate one.  It was SO interesting and different…very complex flavor with many levels to the experience.  It was weird and good at the same time.  You could really taste the chocolate and coffee flavors and then the pepper would hit you with a zing…literally!  So strange, but at the same time intriguing.  Most everyone thought they weren’t sure they liked it but ended up eating the whole cookie and changing their mind about it.  THIS is what I love about this baking group…trying out new things!!  It just never gets old! 🙂

15 thoughts on “Pfefferneusse

  1. Yes! I can see the pepper! So cool. I don’t think I have ever tried cookies like that. I’m looking forward to making them later in the month. Was it hard to find the dried mustard. It sounds like such a weird thing to put into cookies! Your cookies look great!

  2. I’ve made both the chocolate glaze and the dusting of confectioners’ sugar. And I prefer the ones with the sugar too! Agree with you, these cookies are weird but good at the same time! Definitely a new one for me, and glad that I have tried it!

  3. Oh yours look so pretty on that plate. I am hopeless at staging food nicely…I sort of just pile them on a plate and “here you go…” and my NY’s resolution really has to be to get better at the photo part. Yours look lovely. I agree, wonderful spicing in these!

  4. I’m looking forward to trying the glaze! I made them and then froze almost all of them for Christmas, so I just dusted the ‘tasters’ with powdered sugar to try. Yours look beautiful and I really love your description of the cookie and the glaze.

  5. Just discovered your blog and “Is this a keeper?” is exactly the question I ask my family when I try a new recipe! Have Dorie’s new cookie book, but haven’t tried anything yet though i am eyeballing the pfefferneusse.recipe. Every Christmas I make a Martha Stewart recipe from “Holiday Cookies” 2006–pg 50–Chocolate Black Pepper Cookies. DELICIOUS. Slice and bake-can freeze logs of dough and bake as needed. Roll in coarse sugar and top with a grinding of black pepper. Wonderful addition to a cookie tray, nice contrast to sweet, confectioners’ sugar standard Xmas stuff.

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