These tiny ball-shaped cookies are full of spices and the ingredient for which they're named--pepper. Traditionally served at Christmastime, the Danish twist includes the use of white pepper rather than black and mace instead of nutmeg.
Contrary to popular belief, traditional peppernuts DO NOT contain anise oil or anise seeds. There are a myriad amount of recipes containing everything from honey to corn syrup, molasses, or anise, but they are not authentically Pebernodder.
The pfeffernuesse that you see in the United States are often made with baking soda and even baking powder. They’re also made into 3/4” balls before baking so that they’re a larger, fluffier cookie. When they cool off a little, they’re coated with powdered sugar -- delicious, but not authentic.
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two to three baking sheets.
Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in the cardamom, cinnamon, mace or nutmeg, cloves, pepper, and salt until well blended.
Bake in preheated oven until bottom of cookies are light tan, 10 to 12 minutes.