…is easily one of my favourite all times words to say. It’s the funnest! The P is silent, and ü makes a nice ooo sound. It’s a real pleasure, trust me. Put on your best German accent and try it sometime. But before you do that, bake a batch. Because they are one hell of a holiday cookie!
The traditional pfeffernüsse is very dark and spicy. The direct translation is ‘pepper nuts’ – are you surprised I stuck with pfeffernüsse? – and they definitely live up to the peppy name. My recipe takes out the darker elements, like molasses and cloves and masses of black pepper and replaces them with lighter, more golden tones.
I like my cookie to be fragrant with a nice flowery honey, and spicy with ginger, but in a bright way instead of being dark and heavy. Which isn’t to say that I have no time for dark and spicy gingerbread, quite the opposite, but I wanted the flavour of the honey to shine through in these.
And it really does SHINE. It’s important to use a honey that you like the flavour of, and this is the perfect place to showcase something a little different. I used a chestnut honey that was beautiful. But I have to say, these would be equally good with any old squeeze bottle honey as well.
They are the perfect cookie for packing up and giving out as gifts. As you can see, I dipped half into dark chocolate, and the other half got dredged in icing sugar. Either option is delicious, but I am a fiend for chocolate so those are my favourites. If I was giving them as a gift I would probably do the powdered sugar ones though, because I live in Australia, and it’s way too hot to be transporting chocolate around right now.
These Honey & Ginger Pfeffernüsse tick all my cookie boxes. They’re buttery and crumbly, packed with flavour and spice, and they are easily eaten in two bites. I love a two bite cookie, because it somehow makes eating a shedload of them feel more acceptable. They’re dainty.
Also, do you like my paper snowflakes? I made them myself using this tutorial over on High Walls. They’re talented over there that’s for sure. I am 100% craftily challenged, and even I could make these! So, are you stuck into your holiday baking yet? Or trying any crafts this year? I’d love to hear what you’re making.
Honey and Ginger Pfeffernusse
An original recipe by Sarah Coates for The Sugar Hit.
Makes 40 small cookies.
1 stick + 1 tbsp (125g) butter
1/2 cup (120g) firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (65g) honey
2 1/3 cups (350g) plain flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated if you can)
1/2 tsp allspice
Optional: icing/powdered sugar or melted chocolate to decorate.
Cream together the butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy, and then add the egg and continue to beat until slightly lighter in colour, about 20-30 seconds. Sift in the remaining ingredients, and then mix together until completely combined, before wrapping the dough in plastic wrap and placing in the fridge to rest for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 160C/325F and line two baking sheets with baking paper. Pinch off walnut sized pieces of dough and roll them in your hands briefly before placing them on the cookie sheet, spaced 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, or until they are lightly golden and feel firm to the touch. If you want to, you can toss the warm cookies in powdered sugar, or wait until they are cool and dip them in melted chocolate.
Spicy+Chocolate=yesyesyesyesyes!! Also, I like a fragrant cookie and think those pics are the BOMB!
Thanks Abby! You’re the bomb.
Ohh now these look good.. I get down with buttery cookies and chocolate dipped is always a win… I don’t know if I could say that name tho.. :)
HAHA, thanks Erika. I’m probably totally saying it wrong. PFEFFERNUSSE!
These cookies are genius! I love ginger and honey together!!!!! Plus those snowflakes!!!!!! PRETTTTTTTTTTTYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!! :)
I love Pfeffernusse! How could you not love a cookie with a name like that?? Your’s look so delicious. I’d love to get my hands on some chestnut honey, never seen it but I bet it makes these amazing.
It’s beautiful stuff! Mine was from Italy if that helps?
I LOVE pfeffernusse! Is it cool though if I don’t give these out as gifts and just keep them all for myself? ;)
I’ve never heard of these before… and I dont think I have any idea how to say it, even with the explanation :)
Ok, I’ll be saying pfeffernusse all day now! These look great! I’m always looking for something new to bake for the holidays :)
Yum! These are one of my dad’s fav cookies – your version looks so yummy!
I want to make these, too! Good contender for cookie tins. This year I want to make gingerbread cookies that actually have good flavor and texture, because I got adorable woodland creature cookie cutters at IKEA. They have a fairytale theme going on there now, you should check it out if they have those in Aussieland. I came home with an impulse-buy stuffed badger.
I love IKEA! And that stuffed badger sounds awesome.
I think your paper snowflakes are awesome. Such a smart idea. Cookies look awesome too!
German words are always fun to say haha. Not to mention they have a super complicated word for just about everything. These cookies look great! I feel like it would be dangerous to have them around though since they look so easy to pop into your mouth in one go.
I have no idea how to pronounce this AT ALL. Ummm pefefsenusese? Feooonus? Don’t care. Looks tasty. Also -I love making paper snowflakes.
HA, love this.
not only do these look amazing, but I just loved everything about your writing – great post and recipe!
Are these cookies SOFT OR HARD AFTER BAKING?
Hi Heather, they are crunchy, definitely. Hard is an ugly word for a cookie, but if I had to pick I’d go with that.
My very first thought was — these are HUGE! But of course one can make cookies however one likes :) Growing up, my great-grandma, a German of course, made pepper nuts (we skipped the German name usually) EVERY Christmas, no matter what. in fact, all the ladies in my familymade them, and each of their versions were different. My favorite were Great-Grandmas because they were tiny, like marble-sized, crunchy like brain-rattling when bitten into, and TOnS of pepper flavor. Kind of shiny on top and just study enough to keep in my pocket. I ate them non-stop, haha!
I love your version of these, the two-bite size, the honey, and the chocolate… I will have to try! Thanks for reminding me of a wonderful family tradish.
I can’t even explain how much I LOVE these!!! They’re totes making the xmas cookie platter.
Hi Sarah! Oh my goodness these look so scrumptious! I’m so glad my snowflake tutorial was helpful :) Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go and read ALL of your archives….
how much is a STICK of butter
Hi Mary! A stick is an American measurement which is 113g – so 1 stick plus 1 tbsp is roughly 125g, which is the correct measure. It’s also just over half a cup, if that helps. xx Sarah
1.5 C aren’t 350g. Not sure what to use now ;-(
Sorry I couldn’t get back to you straight away! The flour measure is 350g, which you’re totally right is NOT 1.5C – it should be 2 + 1/3 cups. That problem was caused when I implemented a new recipe schema on my blog – I thought I had caught them all, but I obviously missed one. So sorry about this! xx Sarah
Thanks Sarah. I also think that the temperature doesn’t translate right
You’re right, it should be 325F. x