Sourdough Pfefferneusse Cookies

twoΒ It’s interesting how many of our Christmas traditions originated in Germany. The Christmas tree, marzipan, and these delightfully spicy cookies known as “pepper nuts.”

I am not a big cookie eater. In fact, I’ve been know to say that I could go the rest of my life without another cookie and be just fine. But I’ve always had a soft spot for for anything made with ginger or anise. So when this month’s Sourdough Surprise was cookies, I knew just what to make.

I imagine that not every cookie recipe would lend itself to the addition of sourdough. Light and delicate cookies could easily become overwhelmed by the sourdough acidity. But there are enough spices in Pfefferneusse to hold their own. Here the sourdough enhances rather than overwhelms.

These cookies are super simple to make and are even better after sitting for a few days. I made one batch and mailed them all to family on the east coast, so I’ll be making another batch for us soon!


  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup butter

Cook over low heat until the butter has melted. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Stir in:

  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here)

Sift together:

  • 4 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground mace
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp aniseseed

Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture. Stir to combine. Chill for at least 2 hours. (This step is to help make the dough more manageable.)

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll into small balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Remove from oven. Immediately roll cookies in confectionery sugar and let cool. Makes about 7 dozen cookies.

Note: Be sure to check out all the other inspiring sourdough cookie recipes at Sourdough Surprises. Enough to keep us all cooking right through Christmas Day. The only problem – deciding which recipe to make first!

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at and

Comments (10)

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  1. I’ve never heard of these cookies before, but they look and sound amazing!! I am definitely going to have to try them out! Thanks for baking with us this month! πŸ™‚

    • Jenni, Pfefferneusse are even good when stale! And they are great tea dunking cookies. I almost always make something for each challenge, just don’t always get my post written on time. πŸ™‚

  2. Shelley C says:

    Oh my gosh, I have always wondered about making pfefferneusse, but to see them made with sourdough?? Now I HAVE to try! Thank you so much for baking along with us this month and for sharing your delicious looking recipe!

  3. jojo54 says:

    Oh these sound tasty and spicy! Yum!

  4. Amanda Embry says:

    I’ve never had a pfefferneusse cookie, but if they have molasses I’m sure I’d like them. Plus, it’s just fun to say. Pfefferneusse.

    • Amanda, I too am a molasses lover! I blame it on my New England heritage. When we first moved west, I was in a group of people complaining because I couldn’t buy molasses by the gallon anywhere. My new neighbors couldn’t imagine WHY anyone would want a whole gallon of molasses. They are missing out.


  5. robynfuoco says:

    I’ve always loved the name of these cookies, but never had one or knew what was in them. They sound delicious, they’re going on the short list of things to try!

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