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German Spiced Cookies (Recipe)

German Spiced Cookies (Recipe)


Like gingerbread, the German holiday cookie pfeffernüsse is loaded with spices. If you’re really ambitious, you should grind the spices up yourself.




  • 1/2 Cup honey
  • 1/3 Cup unsulfured molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 Cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 Cup candied lemon peel, finely chopped
  • 1/3 Cup almonds, finely ground
  • 3/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 Teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 Teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
  • Vegetable oil for working with dough


  1. 1 Cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  2. 1-2 Tablespoons light rum
  3. 1/4 Cup candied lemon peel, finely chopped

1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook honey, molasses, and butter. Stir constantly for about 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture is hot. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside to cool. Whisk in eggs.
2. In a large bowl, stir flour, half of the lemon peel, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, cardamom and baking powder. Using a wooden spoon, beat in cooled honey-molasses-butter mixture. Beat until the mixture is well combined and becomes a dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, at least 8 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease your hands with vegetable oil, using more as needed because the dough is likely very sticky. Form the cookie dough into 1″ inch-wide balls. You should probably be able to make about 36. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and place dough on the sheets about 1″ inch apart. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies have just cracked and are a little firm. Let cool just a little on wire racks.
4. Make glaze while the cookies are still warm. In a large bowl. whisk to combine sugar, light rum and 5 teaspoons hot water. With a pastry brush, brush glaze onto cookies. Immediately sprinkle lemon peel to garnish. Let the cookies cool fully before enjoying.

Recipe Credit: Saveur.

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.


+ add your own
2:53PM PST on Dec 28, 2013

Delicious recipe,thanks for sharing

12:54AM PST on Dec 8, 2013


8:01PM PST on Dec 6, 2013

Excellent! Thank you.

8:14PM PST on Dec 5, 2013


6:32AM PST on Dec 5, 2013


6:20AM PST on Dec 5, 2013


10:17PM PST on Dec 4, 2013


9:57PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Lebkuchen are my favorite.

7:32PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Looks marvellous, spicy home made cookies just in time for the holidays. Delightful. There is nothing like home baking.

7:29PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Spices and herbs - where would we be without them? Even though (thankfully) the days are long gone when they masked the smells of rotting meat, and now are used in everything, including biscuits.

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