A traditional Christmas treat from Germany, Pfeffernusse translates to ‘pepper nuts’ so you can imagine just how flavoursome these little biscuits are. My brother and I were always fond of the store bought ones. We loved biting through the hard sugary icing into the soft spicy biscuit. And while I don’t remember my aunty ever baking them, they do remind us of our little German Aunty Lorna. She was forever feeding us baked treats, especially cake, every time we would visit her. So Pfeffernusse hold a special place in my heart and my tummy. I am sure you will be as addicted as me to these little morsels once you make them for yourself.
- 1 cup brown sugar or 1/3 cup brown sugar and 2/3 cup honey
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp lemon extract(optional)
- 1/2 tsp anise extract (optional)
- 1 1/1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp each ground allspice, nutmeg, ginger
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 3/4 cup plain flour
- 100 g icing sugar
- 1 egg white or water or The Kitchen Lioness suggests Kirsch (cherry brandy)
In a medium bowl mix the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
Add 2 eggs and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
Add extracts and mix.
Fold through spices and flour until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate until firm.
Preheat oven to 180℃
Take teaspoon size amounts and roll into balls, placing them onto a tray lined with baking paper.
Bake for 10 mins or until lightly browned. The biscuits will harden when cooled.
For the icing, mix ingredients to a smooth thick consistency. Dip the tops of the Pfefernusse into the icing or use a spoon to dribble the icing on top, then allow to set hard.
I like to dust them with icing sugar but I wouldn’t mind trying The Kitchen Lioness recipe using crushed pink peppercorns to decorate the iced Pfeffernusse with. Not only do they look so festive, but I a little bite of pepper would finish off these ‘pepper nuts’ perfectly.