Pfeffernuesse means pepper nuts. My husband and I became responsible for making these cookies for the family when we offered a batch made with fresh spices from The Spice House.

My great-grandmother's recipe originally called for 10 cents worth of cassia, cardamom, anise seed and orange peel. Family tradition equates that to 2 tablespoons.

Tradition also calls for these to be kept in a cloth sack and hidden while they age. My great uncle went looking for them one year and set the closet on fire with his candle.

Yield: 1 Pillow Case Full
Collections: Cookie Dessert German Spice

Featured Ingredients

Saigon cinnamon, Cinnamomum loureiroi, is our most popular cinnamon by far, and we are consistently proud of its freshness and incredibly... Size Options
$7.49 Glass jar, 1/2 cup (wt. 2.0 oz)
Cloves are the most well-known spice in the group of spices known as β€œflower spices,” and have a strong, sweet flavor. We grind two... Size Options
$7.99 Glass jar, 1/2 cup (wt. 2.2 oz)
A complex and saccharine bouquet of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg flavors. This a favorite secret ingredient in many BBQ recipes. Size Options
$6.49 Glass jar, 1/2 cup (wt. 2.2 oz)
The sweet, earthy, piney flavor of powdered nutmeg seasoning is called for in both sweet and savory dishes in cuisines worldwide. This... Size Options
$9.48 Glass jar, 1/2 cup (wt. 2.3 oz)

Pfeffernuesse Recipe

Preparation Instructions

Cream lard and sugars. Mix in spices and nuts. Combine flour with salt and add, alternating with coffee and soda water.

Dough will be stiff, almost clay like. Roll into small balls the size of nuts. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar when cool. Let age.

Yield: 1 Pillow Case Full
Helpful Hints

Using half coffee and half sweet white wine really adds to the flavor.

The flavor gets better with age. Tradition has us making these the day after Thanksgiving so they are ready for Christmas. We store them in a pillow case and hide them, so they will last until the Christmas Season.


Share Your Recipes!

Do you have a recipe you'd like to share with The Spice House community? We are currently gathering recipes to include in our collection and we would love to share yours online.

Submit Yours


Eileen F

I'm surprized that no one has reviewed this cookie. I made this cookie a few years ago and look forward to making them every Christmass. I would recommend this spicy treat to everyone. Please give the cassia bud a try, it adds that little something that the cinnamon alone can't produce. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm delish. Eileen Frye

Judith H

Love it. I purchased all the spices I needed from this site.
The cookies are in closet in pillow case and the aroma is fantastic. Of course, I did sneak a few out the other day to try, yummy!!
Judith Ann

Evan T

Looks like an amazing recipe, however are the cassia buds ground or left whole?


My mother's recipe is a lot like this one except we had no nuts or coffee/wine. She rolled these very thin and used Christmas cutters. Thery were very dark and the one I am using for an Oktoberfest are not. Is it because of the coffee. A smaller recipe has only a 1/2lb of butter with equal amounts of lard, and 1 pint of white corn syrup. Would the dark be the difference in the color. Now that I found cassia I definitely will try to make them. Thry sound amazing!

holly s

My family's recipe is rather different. Our recipe has only coffee, liquid anise, and I use pumpkin pie spice: we use honey and no lard; and a glaze frosting. It takes 3 days to make them as we leave the cookies out overnight to dry, then frost and leave them out overnight again to dry. My Oma makes them small round 1inch balls with frosting coating, mine are larger, baked less and chewy, just the way I love them..

Kathleen R

Question: How much is a "handful" of salt? 1/2 cup? 1/4? That's a lot of cookies and a lot of work and spices for something so inexact. Please inform us. Thank you.

Frank S

How much is a "handful" of salt?

Stephanie Taylor

My handful holds a teaspoon of salt. Hands are the perfect mixing tool for the amount and consistency of this dough, so my Gram would pour the salt into her hand and mix it in with the flour. Eileen, I tried it with the cassia bud and it was amazing! Thanks!!!

Deb Collins

Ingredients say water, recipe says soda water. Which is it?