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German Pfeffernüsse Cookies

Author: Gaby Dalkin


  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons anise extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground freshly cracked black pepper cracked as finely as possible
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar for dusting


  • In a large heavy bottom pot over low heat, combine the molasses, honey, and butter. Stir everything together until the butter is just melted and the ingredients all come together, making sure not to let the mixture come to a boil.
  • Once the butter is melted, remove the pot from the heat. Pour the mixture into a large KitchenAid bowl attachment and set it aside to cool.
  • Once mostly cooled, stir in the eggs and the anise extract.
  • Sift together the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, black pepper, and salt in a separate bowl.
  • Add the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture in the KitchenAid and mix on low until everything is thoroughly combined, At this point the dough will be quite thick and stiff, cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
  • Using a small 1-inch cookie scoop, roll the dough into small balls and place them on a baking sheet – about 15 per sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes until done. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cookies cool slightly before transferring them to a cooling rack. Once the cookies are cooling, repeat the baking process for the remaining dough.
  • Once all of the cookies have been baked and cooled, roll each cookie in the powdered sugar before serving.