Pfeffernüsse (Spice Cookies)

Share this recipe!

Prep 30min (+20min cooling time)Bake 15minMakes about 50

Often associated with Christmas in Germany, these bite-sized mouthfuls of gingerbread deliciousness actually originated in Scandinavia. The combination of a soft, highly spiced centre hidden beneath a crisp, sugar-powdered outer coat is pure, festive heaven.


  • 125g unsalted butter, softened slightly
  • 110g (½ cup, firmly packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated
  • 1 orange, zest finely grated
  • 90g (60 ml/¼ cup) honey
  • 1 egg
  • 40g (¼ cup) finely chopped candied citrus rind
  • 350g (2⅓ cups) plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed aniseed
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 125g (1 cup) pure icing sugar, to dust


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Line two large oven trays with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar and citrus zest until just creamy. Add the honey and beat until just combined. Add the egg and beat until evenly combine. Mix in the candied citrus rind.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on lowest possible speed until just combined and a soft dough forms.
  4. Roll heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place 5cm apart on the lined trays. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, swapping the trays halfway through baking, or until they start to crack and are just cooked through.
  5. Sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Add about 6 warm biscuits to the icing sugar and toss to coat generously. Place on a wire rack to cool and repeat with the remaining biscuits.

Baker's Tips

  • The uncooked dough will keep covered in the fridge for up to 2 days. Roll and bake straight from the fridge.
  • These biscuits will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.
This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column, Bakeproof: Festive Cookies.
CLICK HERE for more Bakeproof recipes.

Photography by China Squirrel.