Pfeffernusse with Rum and Orange Liqueur Glaze

by Laura on November 17, 2010

My Dear Husband’s wonderful grandmother baked peppernuts, or Pfeffernusse, every year for Christmas.  They were spiced little bite-sized cookies which she cut into squares, and they were distinctively hers.  I have her recipe, but not her guidance, and though we’ve been without her for some years now, it’s still too hard to think of baking them without her.  I know they wouldn’t be the same anyway.  So, when I saw this recipe for Pfeffernusse in Saveur magazine a few years ago, I thought I would try it.  I baked the cookies thinking of her and missing her terribly.  They don’t compare to Grandma Ione’s peppernuts, but they are delicious in their own right and have become a new tradition.

Pfeffernusse are traditional in Germany, and the Scandinavian countries have their own versions, too.  In Minnesota, then, they’re right at home.  Pfeffernusse are a cousin to Lebkuchen and another spicy, cake-like Christmas staple.  They have a papery thin icing laced with rum, and they are flavored with pepper, molasses, and honey in addition to the customary warm gingerbread spices.   They are delicious with a cup of strong coffee or with a glass of mulled wine.

Music for baking German Pfeffernusse:
Minnneapolis native and mandolin and fiddle player Peter Ostroushko’s Heartland Holiday is charming.

    *Resources for hard-to-find ingredients here.

    *Storage tips here.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jill November 17, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Such special memories…

2 Fløysviken March 9, 2011 at 7:29 am

Those look good! In Norwegian they’re called peparnøtter.

There is a recipe for Norwegian peparnøtter here (you’ll have to scroll down)

3 Laura March 9, 2011 at 8:42 am

Thank you so much! I’m trying to learn more about Norwegian cooking and baking this year. My grandfather was Norwegian.

4 Fløysviken March 9, 2011 at 8:57 am

Do you know which part of Norway he was from?

5 Laura March 15, 2011 at 7:45 am

I apologize for not responding sooner. I just saw your comment. I’m am embarrassed to say that I don’t know and, even more surprising, my mother doesn’t know either. You have prompted me to do some searching. Thank you.

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