Pfeffernüsse {peppernuts}

Pfeffernüsse {peppernuts}

I’m amazed that I let this recipe pass for as many years as I did. The last time I made pfeffernüsse was 7 years ago when we lived in a Pyrmont apartment, baking them as a gift for a gathering of friends where someone’s father happens to be German. Pfeffernüsse is traditionally made during the Christmas season in Germany as well as a few other areas in Europe. These sugar-dusted cookies are spiced with a variety of ingredients, and rather than using the traditional black pepper I’ve gone with the Australian native pepperberry for a slightly different flavour.

The original recipe I used for these cookies is a bit of a mystery as it’s been sitting in my recipe folder for well over a decade. I’m really not sure where I printed it from. The version I’ve made incorporates buckwheat flour, plus of course the pepperberries, and marsala instead of the traditional brandy. Once made, the cookies are quite hard to the bite as they’re meant to sit for several days to soften and for the flavours to develop. The hardest part is the waiting!

Pfeffernusse recipe

Pfeffernusse recipe

Pfeffernusse recipe


makes about 44


  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground pepperberries
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ each of ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground allspice & ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp espresso, cooled
  • 20 ml marsala wine (or brandy)
  • 1 egg white
  • 70 g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns, roughly pounded, to garnish


Place the flours, almonds, baking powder, pepperberries, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients to combine and aerate them.

In a separate medium bowl combine the eggs and brown sugar. Mix with electric beaters until thick and pale. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients to form a firm dough. Divide the dough into quarters and then roll each piece into 2½ cm (1 inch) diameter logs. Wrap each log with cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Cut each log into 1 cm-thick slices and place each piece onto a non-stick or greased baking tray. Leave the uncooked biscuits to sit, unrefrigerated, on the tray for 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Turn each biscuit over and brush the moist underside with a little marsala. Leave the rum-side up and bake immediately for 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Combine the egg white with 70 g icing sugar in a small bowl until smooth. Brush each cookie all over with the glaze, adding a little water if it thickens. Place the cookies onto a rack until almost set then dust generously with more icing sugar. Store the cookies in an airtight container for at least 4 days before serving. Sprinkle over the crushed pink peppercorns to garnish.

Real Time Analytics