• vegane Pfeffernüsse – pepernoten – pebernødder •
These vegan Pfeffernüsse Cookies are a soft, dense, and spicy German treat. Perfect with a big mug of coffee!
Start your engines…it’s cookie season! Ok…who am I kidding, every season is cookie season. It’s just that this time of year is when I seem to make them on a daily basis. These Pfeffernüsse Cookies are a real treat and I’m certain that you’ll enjoy them. Quick to make and not fussy at all, you can bake a whole bunch of these with relatively little effort.
I first tasted these cookies when I was studying in Germany while in college. During Christmastime especially, these cookies are found in many shops and markets. I unashamedly ate more than my fair share of them. They are very nicely flavored with a blend of warm spices like cinnamon, anise, clove, and pepper, which gives them a very subtle bite. In fact, the name of these cookies translates to pepper nuts.
A similar cookie is made in the surrounding countries, like Denmark and the Netherlands, but some of those versions have a longer bake time resulting in a crisp cookie. Still good if you ask me! The German version, though, is soft and a bit chewy. While they are traditionally made with butter and eggs, I’ve come up with a vegan recipe to mimic the dense texture of those spicy cookies. Because I was living in Southern Germany where candied orange and lemon peel are often included in the recipe, my version contains orange and lemon zest to preserve that taste I grew to love.
- 2 cups flour (I use half all-purpose, half whole wheat pastry)
- ½ cup almond meal (finely ground almonds)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons water
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon molasses
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground anise
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon clove
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- powdered sugar
- Combine the flour, almond meal, and baking soda together in a large bowl.
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, brown sugar, molasses, and coconut oil. Stir and bring the mixture just to a simmer so that the sugar is dissolved, then remove from the heat. Let cool for 5 minutes, then add the ground flax seed, cinnamon, anise, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, clove, orange zest, lemon zest, and salt. Mix well to combine.
- When this mixture is fully cooled, pour it all into the flour and almond mixture and stir with a large spoon to fully incorporate. The dough may appear sticky at first but it will absorb the excess moisture. When your cookie dough has completely come together, seal it in an airtight container and refrigerate for an hour.
- After one hour remove from the fridge. Preheat oven to 350°F. The dough should feel more dense now. Pinch off small, uniform pieces of dough and roll between your hands into a ball. You want them to be about 1 inch or so in diameter. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes. Turn one over to check doneness--if the bottom is golden browned, it's done. Remove from oven and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Cool them completely then toss them around in a bowl of powdered sugar to finish them. Store in an airtight container.