This is the recipe for the very traditional Danish Pebernodder which is a walnut-sized Christmas cookie in a circular/spherical shape.
In Denmark we call these small cookies pebernodder which directly translated means pepper nuts. These cookies are very popular in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands and are internationally sometimes referred to as pfeffernuesse or simply just peppernuts. In Denmark it’s properly one of the most popular and traditional Christmas cookies, even though it is competing with the very delicious Danish Jewish cookie and the Danish brown cookie.
The Pebernodder cookies are served as snacks in the whole month of December and we find that they are highly additive – once we are started eating these, we can’t stop. The origin of this cookie is not entirely known, however it’s expected that it’s somewhere in Germany or the Netherlands.
Even though this recipe is called pebernodder (peppernuts) it doesn’t contain any black pepper which is the kind most people would associate with when referred to pepper – instead one of the spices in these cookies is white pepper.
White and black pepper are both fruits picked from the pepper plant however it’s the drying process of the pepper fruits that differs the two spices from each other.
As the ingredient list, seen further down in this page, indicates these cookies does contain five different ground spices which are cinnamon, cloves, white pepper, cardamom and ginger – some places it’s possible to buy small bag where all these spices is already mixed specifically for pebernodder – however you can also just buy them separately and mix them yourself.
The recipe is relatively easy – you simple just mix all the ingredients into a dough using your hands or a stand mixer, then the dough is rolled into bars, cut into small pieces and rolled into pebernodder balls.
Find some more traditional Christmas recipes on this page.
Danish Peppernuts (Pebernodder)
100 large or 200 normal size
Preparation time: 40 min
Danish title: Pebernødder
220 g (8 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp baking soda
125 g (4.5 oz) sugar
125 g (4.5 oz) butter, soft
pinch of salt
Step 1: Sift the flour and mix it with the spices and sugar. Maybe you can find a small bag where all the spices are already mixed for you.
Step 2: Add the egg and the soften butter. Use your hands or a stand mixer to mix/knead the dough until it has a uniform consistency.
Step 3: Divide the dough into four pieces and roll them to four long bars.
Step 4: Use a knife to cut the bars into small walnut sized pieces. Roll each piece into a small peppernut ball.
Step 5: Put the peppernuts on an oven tray lined with parchment/baking paper and bake them at 200 C (400 F) for about 8-10 minutes or until they are nice and golden. The baking time depends on the size of your peppernuts.
Step 6: Let the peppernuts cool off and store them in an airtight box or jar.
By Kim Nielsen