The Great Cookie Experiment – Pfeffernuesse (pepper nuts)

She’s baaaack….  Julie and the Great Cookie Experiment

The Great Cookie Experiment- Pfeffernuesse (pepper nuts)

I grew up in Junction City, Oregon.  Every year in August, they would have a Scandinavian festival to celebrate the origins of the towns first settlers.  Every church, club or organization had some kind of a booth where they would sell authentic treats, crafts, artwork, and so forth.  One of my favorite treats would be to get bags of these tiny little cookies called Pepper Nuts, or Pfeffernuesse.  They really were the size of nuts, and were spicy and rich.   I have searched for the recipe over the years, but haven’t ever found a cookie that tasted like the ones I remember.  When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to give it a chance.  This one was different from many of the others, using whipping cream, and honey in the cookie dough.  Maybe this would be the end of my long search?

Nope.  These didn’t taste anything like the cookies I remember.  Of course, by now, after so many years, I’m not sure I could remember the taste well enough to recognize it if I did find it.  In the meantime, however, these cookies are really delicious.  I had interesting reactions from my family.  I loved them right away.  My girls tasted them and said that they were “weird” or they weren’t their favorite.  My husband tasted one, and frowned a little.  “Not the best you’ve made,” he said.  He grabbed four more from the pan, and ate them.  “Kind of spicy,” he mentioned, as he grabbed four more.  “I liked some of the other cookies better, definitely,” he said as he grabbed yet another four cookies and left the kitchen.  My friends all said they liked them- even my friends who don’t like black licorice and may otherwise have been turned off by the anise flavor.   I would stick to sharing these with grownups who can appreciate the spicy taste.

The only other drawback to the cookie is that they are crispy- REALLY crispy.  This makes a lot of cookies, so I put some in my girls lunches for school.  When I asked my youngest how her lunch was, she said she was really surprised that the cookies were so hard.  She and a friend used one as a hockey puck and pushed it around the table with their milk straws.  SIGH.  See my previous note on sharing these with grownups.  You may want to provide milk for dunking.


½ cup butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

½ cup heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup corn syrup

2 Tbl honey

1 tsp anise extract

½ tsp vanilla extract

4 cups flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp cream of  tartar

½ tsp each ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg

¼ tsp ground allspice

¼ tsp black pepper

Cream butter and sugars.  Add the egg, cream, corn syrup, honey, and extracts.  Mix well.  Combine dry ingredients.  Gradually add to the creamed mixture.  Refrigerate overnight.  Roll the dough into 1 inch balls.  Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.  Bake at 400 for 10-11 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to wire racks to cool.  Makes 5 ½ dozen.

Great Cookie Experiment


Remember we’ll be at the NASFT Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C. July 10-13th.  Booth 5348!  Come by and see us!


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