Yield: 48 Cookies
Pfeffernusse Cookie Recipe

Pfeffernusse Cookie Recipe

I have great respect for a cookie recipe that calls for ground black pepper. Pop one of these confectioners’ sugar-encased cookies in your mouth and your taste buds won’t know what hit them. With five spices plus black pepper (and did I mention molasses?), pfeffernusse cookies provide the perfect kick to your holiday cookie platter.


  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup dark molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Sifted confectioners’ sugar to roll cookies in


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom, ground pepper, allspice, and baking soda. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until a soft dough forms. Cover dough and refrigerate until firm; about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet or two with parchment paper. Form cookie dough into inch balls. Place balls about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Let cookies cool on pan for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling racks. Dust generously with powdered sugar and store in an airtight container. When ready to serve, place individual cookies in decorative paper muffin liners.
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October 17, 2021 — Mary DiSomma