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German Spice Cookies

You might know these as pfeffernusse spice cookies, but no matter what you call them... they are delicious!

German Spice Cookies
German Spice Cookies
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These small German Spice Cookies (pfeffernusse) will bring a ton of holiday flavor to your family party this year. This Christmas cookie recipe has all the goodness of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. They're sweetened with a hint of molasses and honey to help balance out the aromatic spices. These easy cookies will be your new go-to holiday treats after you have just one bite, and they are right at home alongside other German dessert favorites like crumb cake or German apple cobbler.

They'll quickly disappear off the tray, so save one or two for yourself! And don't forget to serve with a big mug of tea or coffee.

Preparation Time30 min

Chilling Time2 hr

Cooking Time11 min

Cooking MethodOven

Cooking Vessel SizeBaking sheet


  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (optional)

German Spice Cookies Recipe


  1. Combine honey, molasses, and coconut oil in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Turn off heat and set aside.

  2. In a bowl, combine egg and anise extract. Once molasses mixture has cooled, slow add it to the egg mixture. Be sure that the egg does not cook as you do this. Whisk everything together until well combined.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and spices. Add molasses mixture to bowl and stir gently until everything is combined.

  4. Wrap dough in plastic and place in the refrigerator until chilled, about 2 hours.

  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and lightly grease two baking sheets.

  6. Form dough into small balls, about 1" in diameter. Roll the balls through 1/4 cup of the confectioner's sugar to coat, and then place them on the baking sheet about 1" apart.

    Note: 1/4 cup of the confectioner's sugar should be held back in a separate bowl so that the finished cookies can be garnished. Do not use the same sugar to roll the raw dough and the finished cookies.

  7. Bake for 11 minutes until the cookies are mostly set on the top and the edges are crisp. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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I tried pfeffernusse for the first time a couple of years ago and can't get enough! I'll definitely be making these this Christmas.

These remind me of my grandma! I love old-fashioned spice cookies like this!

I love this recipe! I wish I could give it four stars.


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