Authentic German Pfeffernusse Recipe for the Holidays

authentic german pfeffernuesse recipe

This is an authentic German Pfeffernusse recipe as you would find in Germany. German Pfeffernusse are traditional Christmas cookies and very popular. You can find them in any bakery or supermarket in Germany. Get some German tradition into your home with this recipe. The ingredient Hirschhornsalz, in English Hartshorn or Ammonium Carbonate, is a traditional Gingerbread (Lebkuchen) ingredient since hundreds of years and was originally taken from deer’s antlers. What is the difference to regular baking powder then? It makes the dough raise but not in height, it makes it wider. Happy Baking!

Ingredients Authentic German Pfeffernusse Recipe

(for about 20 pieces)
125 g honey
50 g sugar
2 tbsp butter
250 g flour, all purpose, unbleached
1/2 tsp Hirschhornsalz (Ammonium Carbonate)
Ammonium Carbonate (Baker’s Ammonia) 2.7 oz
1 egg
2 tsp ginger bread spice – Such as Edora Lebkuchen Spice, 1 package – 0.5oz – see below
1/4 tsp white pepper (point of knife = Messerspitze, that is a tiny amount)
– How to Make Lebkuchen Spice – 
1 dash salt
125 g powdered sugar
1 tbsp rum or natural rum flavor

Make someone Smile with this Special German Gift!

german christmas box


Baking Instructions

– Combine butter, honey and sugar, warm it until it has melted.
– Mix flour, egg, Hirschhornsalz and spices, add honey dough and knead it thoroughly with a hand mixer using the kneading hooks or use your hands.
– Form balls out of the dough and bake them on 190 C or 375 F for 12 minutes.
– Bake next portion only for 10 minutes.
– Make the glaze out of powdered sugar and rum and a bit of water by mixing all ingredients well until smooth.
– Spread glaze over the cooled off cookies and let them dry.
– These cookies are hard at the beginning. Keep them at least 2 days in a tin box with a piece of bread or a piece of apple aside; this will make the cookies soft.

If you like you can make  a dark chocolate glaze and spread it on half of the cookies, and have the other half side white.

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