Sugar, spice, and everything nice is what this treat is made of! This peppernuts recipe is an old family favorite every year at Christmas and once you try them, you’ll be grabbing them by the handful too.
Old family recipes always seem to have a way of making the holiday season so much better. The recipe that, although you could make it anytime and maybe you do, is often reserved just for this time of the year.
These cookies, which we call peppernut cookies, are just that. I’m not sure where the recipe originated but my grandmother always used to make them. She didn’t live nearby so she would mail us a big bag of them and my brother and I would look forward to their arrival every year.
Although she hasn’t been around for a long time to make them herself, I continue to make them every year for my own family. I have her recipe handwritten by her in my family recipe book.
My own children now look forward to these tiny yet tasty little cookies every year at Christmas time. They aren’t the simplest to make and take quite a bit of time but they are well worth the effort.
Maybe you have tried your own version of this peppernuts recipe but if not, I hope you enjoy ours. These cookies are crunchy and best eaten by the handful. They aren’t messy at all and perfect for little hands to grab!
Ingredients for Peppernut Cookies
- 1 cup of butter, softened.
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar, I use organic pure cane sugar.
- 2 eggs, I like to bake with duck eggs but chicken eggs work too.
- 2 tbsp molasses, or substitute with pure maple syrup if you don’t have molasses on hand.
- 1/2 tsp pure anise extract, can be left out but adds a nice scent and flavor.
- 3 3/4 cups of flour, I use all-purpose for this recipe.
- 2 tsp of baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
Tools You Will Need
- Stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment
- Large mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats
- Cooling rack
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves) and mix well. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed. Slowly pour in the sugar and continue to cream for several minutes until well combined.
Add in the eggs, molasses, and anise extract (if using) and mix well.
Reduce the speed to low and pour in the dry ingredients. Mix for a minute or two until well combined into a thick dough.
Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least several hours.
Remove the bowl from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before handling.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grab a small handful of dough and begin to roll into a long rope, about the diameter of a dime.
using a small, sharp knife, slice the rope about every 1/4 of an inch all the way across.
One by one, take each slice and place it on a lined cookie sheet. Don’t let them touch! They don’t spread out too much but try to leave a little space between them.
Once you fill the cookie sheet, pop it in the oven and bake for about 7 to 8 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned.
I like to work with two cookie sheets so when one is baking, I’m working on filling the next one up. I can get about 80 little cookies on my standard sheet pans.
Continue to grab handfuls of dough, make ropes, and slice over and over!
Once removed from the oven, allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two then use a spatula to move to a cooling rack.
This recipe yields about 18 cups of cookies! I’m not sure how many dozen that is, but it’s a lot!
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks or freeze for up to three months.
Tips for Making Peppernut Recipe
- This is the perfect recipe for getting young bakers involved! My girls always help me roll the dough into ropes, slice the ropes, and place the dough pieces on the cookie sheets. It’s the perfect assembly line for getting everyone involved.
- The dough is best after being refrigerated overnight but in a pinch, a couple of hours in the fridge will do.
- This dough is not sticky at all so no need to flour the work surface when rolling it out into ropes.
- I like to set a bowl of these out as an evening treat during Christmas time. It’s a great snack for everyone and not too sweet for late in the day, and they’re not messy at all!
- Set aside about two hours to cut and bake all of these cookies. They take some time but they are definitely worth it and with the amount that you get, they last quite a while.
- These cookies make a great treat to share with others. Simply package them in a bag with some pretty ribbon and make someone’s day.
I hope you enjoy this peppernuts recipe and making it for, or even better, with your family! These cookies are a fun addition to the long list of delicious Christmas cookies and you will love having them to snack on while watching your favorite holiday movie or decorating the tree.
- Stand mixer
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cookie sheets
- Cooling rack
- 1 cup Butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups Sugar
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 2 tbsp Molasses
- 1/2 tsp Anise extract
- 3 3/4 cups All-purpose flour
- 2 tsp Baking soda
- 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp Ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp Ground cloves
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed for a few minutes until well combined.
- Add in the beaten eggs, syrup, and anise extract and mix well.
- Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour in the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. You will have a light brown, thick dough.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least several hours.
- Remove from the fridge and allow to warm up for a few minutes before handling.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Pull out a handful of dough and roll into a long rope, about the diameter of a dime.
- With a sharp knife, slice about every 1/4 of an inch and lay each cookie on the cookie sheet, not touching.
- Bake for about 8 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.
- Cool for one minute and them move from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack.