Pfeffernüsse, aka pepper nuts, are a traditional German cookie featuring aromatic spices and a sweet icing. Like any good cookie recipe, there are dozens and dozens of variations of the spices and ingredients used, but all bakers agree that the result is a spicy, dry cookie that is small enough to grab by the handful!
As I was looking through various pfeffernüsse recipes, I was especially drawn to those that feature cardamom. Ever since Shaina made pear italian soda with cardamom cream at our house, cardamom has been among my favorite spices, and since I don’t have anise on hand (another popular pfeffernüsse spice), cardamom was the perfect alternative.
These cookies are easy to make, and I really do love that the cookies themselves are spicy but not overly sweet, especially with the sweet citrus icing on top!
Adapted from Rosa’s Yummy Yums
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons castor sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1-1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, combine butter, honey and sugar and heat on low until all three ingredients are melted and incorporated. Remove from heat to cool.
In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Form a well in the flour for the warm butter mixture. Mix to form a smooth dough.
Shape 3/4″ dough balls and place them on a cookie sheet or stone. Bake for 20-23 minutes until the cookies look dry.
Brush or drizzle icing over each cookie.
Transfer to a rack to cool.
For even smaller cookies, roll the dough into a small log (1/2″ in diameter) and cut 1/4″ slices from the log.
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