Thursday, March 25, 2010

Recipe: Pfeffernuesse Cookies (German)

I was looking for a cookie with Aniseed in it to replace the Aniseed Cookies my husband loves so much from the Joy of Cooking cookbook.  The kind he likes take 2 days to make and I have trays of cookies all over my kitchen drying-out prior to baking them.  Perfect for attracting all sorts of unwanted critters like mice and ants... you know we live in the country right?  So, I love him and wanted to make a nice cookie for him.

I recently purchased this 1977 cookbook "Food From Foreign Nations- Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers" at a tag sale and found a recipe for Pfeffernusse which is a German cookie with lots of spices like nutmeg, allspice, black pepper (!), cardamom and aniseed.  What a different cookie this will be!

These cookies were simple to make, with a little extra time needed to frost the cookies.  Frosting them was really easy as you can frost a dozen at a time in a large bowl by stirring them around in the frosting.

The Pfeffernuesse was spicey and sweet.  The cookie wasn't hard or chewy, but very dense.  When you eat these, the sweetness of the frosting makes you gobble them up, then your left with a spicy "burn" in the back of your throat.  Very different indeed.  My husband enjoyed these although he prefers a thinner cookie and the kids, surprisingly, ate them up without a word about the spiceyness.

I'll make these again when I'm serving German food as it will round out the meal nicely.  These cookies, however, are not for the faint of heart as they do have a certain kick to them.

from Food from Foreign Nations Cookbook

1-1/2 cups strained honey
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon each soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, and black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon aniseed

Heat honey in large saucepan, do not boil.  Add shortening; cool.  Beat in egg.  Sift remaining ingredients together except Icing.  Add to honey mixture.  Leg dough rest for 30 to 40 minutes.

Shape into 1 inch balls.  Place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 13 to 15 minutes.  (I let mine cool completely while I prepared the Icing).

2 egg whites
1 Tablespoon strained honey
1/2 teaspoon aniseed
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups confectioners' sugar
Combine egg whites, honey and spices in 1-quart mixing bowl.  Beat in sugar gradually with electric mixer.

Place 12 to 14 cookies in bowl with 2 Tablespoons of Icing.  Stir thoroughly to coat all sides.  Place on wire rack for Icing to harden.  Store in tightly closed container.  Yield: 8 to 9 dozen.

For a printable version of this recipe go here.

Linked to Ultimate Recipe Swap: Baked Goods over at Life As Mom.

from the book "The Children's Hour - Best Loved Poems"
1953 The Spencer Press, Inc.


  1. This was such a nice post. I'm sure the book you just got is a great one, I love good cook books.
    Again, I'll need to try these cookies they look so good.
    I'm not sure you know...but my homemaking blog is
    I started an art group and it's taking up my space on the blog you go to.Please come by, I just added you to my side bar...I love your blog and more ladies need a good homemaking blog to go to.

  2. Sarah, I'm really enjoying looking around your blog. I have to tell you your "Recipe Bombs - Don't Make These" page had me laughing. I've had (more than) a few recipe bombs, I should start a separate page for them too, lol! You must find Kansas a lot different than Nova Scotia, eh? ;o) Your recipe for Pfeffernuesse Cookies brought back some memories - I haven't had them in YEARS (too many to count). Thanks for stopping by my blog today, it's nice to meet you. :o)

  3. Thank you ladies.

    Rayanne, you are an inspiration to all homemakers and encourage us to take care of our families even after our children have grown. I really enjoy your blog too.

    Brenda, your blog is stuffed full of great recipes and I've flagged many to try. I am so glad I found your blog.

  4. This looks yummy! Every Friday I have a theme called "Taste the World" where I feature food from around the world. This month I'm cooking German food and this would be perfect! Please stop by and leave a comment with a link to this recipe and this recipe:

    That way I can add them to the running total of German recipes! :)


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