Prep 20 min
Total 6 hours 45 min
Plus 2 hours drying time
Makes makes 48 cookies



1/3 cup
1/4 cup
unsalted butter
1/4 cup
packed brown sugar
1/4 cup
1 tsp
ground anise seed
1 tsp
1/2 tsp
ground allspice
1/2 tsp
ground cardamom
1/2 tsp
ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp
white pepper
1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp
2/3 cup
ground walnuts
1/2 cup
minced candied lemon peel, plus more for garnish


2 cups
2 tbsp + 2 tsp


  • COMBINE molasses, butter, sugar and honey in a medium saucepan over medium, stirring until sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool, 10 min.
  • WHISK flour, spices, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs into molasses mixture. Stir in flour mixture, then fold in walnuts and candied peel (dough will be sticky and soft). Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Flatten into discs and refrigerate until firm, at least 6 hr (preferably overnight).
  • PREHEAT oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  • DIVIDE each disc in half. Roll 1 half of dough into a log, then cut log into 12 equal pieces. Lightly dust hands with flour, then roll pieces into balls and place on prepared sheet. Bake until slightly firm and cracked on top, 12 to 14 min. Cool for 2 min, then transfer to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • GLAZE: Stir icing sugar and water in a small bowl. Dip tops of cookies into glaze, then sprinkle with candied lemon peel. Let dry, about 2 hr.

Kitchen Tip: Pfeffernüsse translates to “peppernut” in German, referring to the pepper and ground nuts traditionally used in this Christmas cookie. Pfeffernüsse are often made well in advance of Christmas. People dunk them in coffee or tea to soften them up.


  • Visit our Holiday Cookies page for 160 recipes


Calories 75, Protein 1 g, Carbohydrates 14 g, Fat 2 g, Sodium 43 mg.
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