Cakespy: Peppernuts Cookies Recipe


Quirky, cute, sometimes controversial, always delicious recipes from Jessie Oleson.

Cakespy: Peppernuts Cookies Recipe

[Original artwork and photographs: Jessie Oleson]

Forget old letters and diaries—for me, old recipes are far more interesting. Not only do they teach us about the past, but they also offer the opportunity to share an intimate moment with the bakers of yesteryear.

So when I came across this employee-submitted recipe for Peppernuts (or Pfeffernusse in German), a small nut-shaped cookie in the Wilton Cookie Exchange book, described as being handed down over at least three generations, I immediately knew I wanted to give it a try.

While the first sheet came out crunchy, spicy, and overall pretty tasty, they had one fatal flaw: they were hopelessly unattractive.


I decided to divide the remaining dough by making half of the cookies in the traditional way (by scattering bits of dough on the sheet and baking lumpy little cookies) and half by carefully shaping the cookies into rounds.

Though both versions tasted the same, the prettier ones disappeared faster.

Peppernuts Cookies

  • Yield:about 12 cups of traditional cookies, or 4 dozen round cookies


  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs


  1. 1.

    Preheat oven to 325°F. Line cookie pans with parchment paper.

  2. 2.

    In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, cloves, salt, ginger, allspice, nugmeg, and black pepper; set aside. In a separate large bowl, combine brown sugar and eggs; mix well. Add dry ingredients bit by bit to the egg mixture, forming a soft dough.

  3. 3.

    For the traditional cookies, roll dough into logs about the thickness of a pencil; cut crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces (about the size of a peanut). Sprinkle dough pieces onto prepared cookie pans; separate any bits that are stuck together. Or if you'd rather have more uniform-looking cookies, form them into balls (about an inch and a half in diameter) and place them on the baking sheet with about 2 inches of space around each cookie (they might require a minute or two more baking this way).

  4. 4.

    Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

  5. 5.

    Cookies will become crunchy as they cool; break apart any that have baked together by hand. Store in airtight containers.