Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas in a Lick

The making of Pfeffernusse has become highly linked to Christmas for me. While I eat store bought ones all year round the MAKING of these tasty treats smells like Christmas. It's the mix of the spices and honey I think. I was going to make these earlier in the week but I love making them on Christmas Eve and I ran out of time earlier in the week. If you don't know what they are they are a slightly cakey German/Dutch gingerbread in little dollops rather than figures or shapes. They are usually iced in a thin layer of crunchy white icing. Sometimes I ice mine with icing, sometimes with melted chocolate and sometimes with just icing sugar. All are very tasty but the icing sugar ones last a bit longer.

Here is the recipe that I use courtesy of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.


  • 200g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground mace
  • A pinch of salt
  • 225g honey
  • 30g butter, plus a little extra for greasing
  • 2 eggs

For finishing

  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • A little plum jam
  • About 150g dark chocolate

Method: How to make pfeffernusse

1. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt. (This stage smells so good.)

2. Melt the honey and butter together in a saucepan then leave to cool until lukewarm.

3. Whisk the eggs into the cooled honey and butter, then add this to the flour mix and beat together with a wooden spoon. Cover and refrigerate for an hour, to firm up. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/325F/gas mark 3.
4. Lightly grease a baking tray with butter. Take dessert spoonfuls of the mix, roll into balls using floured hands, and place on the baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

The next couple of steps are up to you depending on how you want to ice them.
5. Whisk together the icing sugar and water. Melt the chocolate gently in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Dip half the pfeffernusse in the icing, and put them back on the rack. When the icing has set, dip again. Cut the tops off the other half, scoop out a little of the inside, and dab in a little plum jam. Replace the tops, and dip in the chocolate. Return to the wire rack.
6. Remove the pfeffernusse to a silicone mat or baking parchment before they set completely, to stop them welding themselves to the rack. They don’t keep well - eat within two days.

 Merry Christmas!


  1. Homemade Pfeffernüsse.
    Look different but I'm sure they taste thousand times better.
    Merry Christmas!

  2. ooh thanks for this!! absolutely love these, will be making them this holiday for sure :) xxx