World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0005664739
Reproduction Date:

Title: Pfeffernüsse  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Anise, Christmas cookie, List of cookies, Plautdietsch language, Pepernoot
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


German-American Peppernuts
Alternative names Pimpernüsse
Type Biscuit
Place of origin Netherlands
Main ingredients Flour, brown sugar, sugar, cloves, cinnamon
Cookbook: Pfeffernüsse 

Pfeffernüsse are tiny spice cookies, popular as a holiday treat in Germany, Denmark, and The Netherlands, as well as among ethnic Mennonites in North America.[1][2][3][4] They are called pepernoten in Dutch (plural), päpanät in Plautdietsch, pfeffernuesse or peppernuts in English, and pebernødder in Danish.


  • History 1
  • Ingredients 2
  • Kruidnoten and Russian Tea Cakes 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


While the exact origin of the biscuit is uncertain, the traditional Dutch belief links the pepernoten to the feast of Sinterklaas, celebrated on December 5 in The Netherlands and December 6 in Germany and Belgium. This is when children receive gifts from St. Nicholas, who is partially the inspiration for the Santa Claus tradition. In Germany, the pfeffernüsse is more closely associated with Christmas. The biscuit has been part of European yuletide celebrations since the 1850s.

The name peppernut (Pfeffernüsse, peppernoder etc.) does not mean it contains nuts, though occasional varieties do. The cookies are roughly the size of nuts and can be eaten by the handful, which may account for the name.[5]


Throughout the years, the popularity of the pfeffernüsse has caused many bakers to create their own recipes. Though recipes differ, all contain aromatic spices - most commonly cinnamon, cloves, and anise. Some variations are dusted with powdered sugar, though that is not a traditional ingredient. Molasses and honey are also used to sweeten [6] the biscuits.

For the dough, most versions still use 19th century ingredients such as potash (potassium carbonate) and ammonium carbonate as leavening agents to get the sticky and dense consistency of the original mixture. It is then either kneaded by hand or through the use of an electric mixer.[7]

Kruidnoten and Russian Tea Cakes

The pfeffernüsse is commonly mistaken for the kruidnoten or spicy nuts in English. While they are both famous holiday biscuits, the kruidnoten is harder, has a lighter brown color, and has a different shape. Its ingredients are more similar to the ones used in making speculoos.

Russian tea cakes are also confused with the pfeffernüsse, especially when dusted in powdered sugar. In this case, the pfeffernüsse biscuits are more bitter than the Russian treats because the ingredients of the pfeffernüsse are less refined.

See also


  1. ^ [5]
  2. ^ [6]
  3. ^ [7]
  4. ^ [8]
  5. ^ "Day 271 Pepper Nuts". 366dayswiththeberlincookbook. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Caruso, Aimee. “Pfeffernusse: Spicy Holiday Cookies.” Retrieved 21 July 2013
  7. ^ Broyles, Addie (December 11, 2012). "Relish Austin: Pfeffernüsse, a quirky Christmas cookie and so much more". American Statesman. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 

External links

  • Pfeffernusse
  • Happy National Pfeffernusse Day!
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.