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Pfeffernusse biscuits

A white plate filled with home made Pfeffernusse Cookies biscuits

Pfeffernusse biscuits my way! That would be the easy way, Yes? Let’s start off by talking about just exactly what they, and perhaps how to pronounce them.

I’m going to start with this; if you like gingerbread, you will love these. These are small spice cookies, popular in Germany, but other countries also make similar biscuits too.

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The traditional flavours of this biscuit are ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper. Yep pepper. The translation for this recipe is Peppernuts. I’m only adding a pinch in my new recipe to keep the tradition, but you could use up to a 1/4 tsp or even more if you like pepper.

You can make these Pfeffernüsse biscuits (or cookies) plain, with no topping at all, or;

  • You could simply dust them in icing sugar.
  • Use a plain icing (as seen below). Simply add a touch of boiling water to some icing sugar, make a thick slurry and dip. It has to be pretty thick, or it will run off.
Pfeffernusse biscuits on a wire rack.
White simple icing on these Pfeffernüsse biscuits
  • But my favourite so far has been to bake off the cookies first, then make a quick meringue, dip the tops in the meringue and set them in the oven at 100°C for around 20 minutes. This leaves you with a crunchy white top. Just like a bought ones, but even better.
Pfeffernusse biscuits with meringue topping.
Meringue topped Pfeffernüsse biscuits. Easier than you think…

Pfeffernusse biscuits

5 from 6 votes

5 stars tells us you love the recipe

becs-table.com.au
Small German biscuits, typically shared at Christmas time. If you love gingerbread these are another brilliant option.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Course Afternoon Tea, Christmas, Christmas Fare, Lunch Box Treat
Cuisine German
Servings 28
Method Thermomix

Equipment

  • 1 Thermomix

Ingredients
  

  • 350 g plain flour
  • 150 g dark brown sugar use dark brown here for great flavour
  • 1 Tbsp of ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg ground
  • 1/4 tsp clove ground
  • Pinch of ground pepper a chef's pinch don't be shy (although it's optional)
  • Pinch of cardamom again a chef's pinch, again optional
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 120 g unsalted butter small cold cubes for the Thermomix
  • 115 g molasses
  • 1 egg

Instructions
 

  • Weigh the flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and bicarb into the TM bowl (or food processor mix to combine) TM: 5 sec/speed 6
  • Add the butter and set 5 seconds/speed 6 blending the butter throughout the dry mix.
  • Weigh in the molasses and egg and mix again for 5 seconds/speed 6, remove the lid and lift and scrape the mixture down
  • Then set to knead 30 seconds. Check the mix, it should be even in colour and crumbly at this stage, if not tip the contents out of the bowl and bring together by hand.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and roll up into 25g – 30g balls placing them on a tray and set them in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes (or longer). We want the balls quite firm so they hold their shape when baked off.
  • Set the oven to 170°C
  • Place them in the oven on prepared baking trays. I left around a 5cm gap between mine. It depends on how hard you want these. If you want them soft in the centre bake them for around 12 minutes, or if you want them harder up to 15 is good. If you're going to re-bake with the meringue topping you would be best going for the softer cookie as they will firm up when you pop them back in to dry out the meringue.
  • Now for the icing.
  • It's up to you how you'd like to do this. You can even leave them plain if you wish. Read my post to get some ideas. Or if you'd like to go with the meringue, check out the next recipe.

Notes

I like to leave the balls round, they come out with a lovely high dome. So they don’t roll around on the tray I sort of drop them from a height onto the tray. No I don’t stand on a chair, 15″ (or 40cm) is all it needs. This keeps the tops really round just like a bought one.
I’ve got a couple of traditional ingredients in these Pfeffernusse that you could leave out if you’ve got fussy family members like me, but seriously, life is all about a little spice 🙂

Meringue topping for Pfeffernusse

5 from 3 votes

5 stars tells us you love the recipe

becs-table.com.au
This meringue topping works really well baked on top of these biscuits. I love the crunch it gives them.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Course Topping
Cuisine German
Servings 30
Method Thermomix

Equipment

  • 1 Thermomix

Ingredients
  

  • 1 egg white
  • 130 g icing sugar either soft or pure will work

Instructions
 

  • Set the oven to 100°C fan and line your baking sheets with non stick paper. Yep even for USA pans, this stuff really sticks. 😉
  • Make sure your TM bowl and butterfly is clean and dry weigh in the egg white and icing sugar.
  • Set the TM bowl with the MC out for 3 minutes/speed 3.5
  • Scrape the thick meringue mix into a small shallow bowl. Something that will be easy for you to dip your cookies in.
  • Take each cookie one at a time and dip the tops into the meringue mix, You can gently tap the top of the cookie on the side of the bowl to remove any excess, then set them on your prepared trays.
  • Bake until the meringue is set and dry. It should take around 15 – 20 at this temp. Keep checking and remove as soon as they're dry on top.

Notes

Note: 
It’s essential that you don’t overbake the cookies the first time if you want them to be soft after you add the meringue.  
If you accidentally overbake them and the cookies are crunchy all the way through, and you want them soft, seal them in a jar with a slice of bread.  

Did you know that we have an Online Cookie Course?

I share all my tips to make “Perfect Slices“. Our online courses are all on demand. Just like Netflix, you can watch them whenever you want on any device and as many times as you like. How cool is technology today?

4 Comments

  1. These sound great. When you say you can make these early, do you mean now, for Christmas? Just keep them (iced or meringued?) in an airtight container, or freeze?
    I’m definitely going for the extra pepper! Thanks

  2. 5 stars
    Bec I (we) LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these!! Thanks for such a brilliant recipe. Only minor changes I made, were rolling 20gm balls and adding a scant 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper (‘cos we love the peppery spiciness).

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