A plate of pfeffernüsse
|Place of origin||Netherlands|
|Main ingredient(s)||Flour, brown sugar, sugar, cloves, cinnamon|
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2010)|
Pfeffernüsse (also spelled pfeffernuesse in English, in Danish: pebernødder (plural), päpanät in Plautdietsch, and pepernoten in Dutch; singular Pfeffernuss) are small, firm, round biscuits, sometimes with ground nuts.
The name translates to pepper nuts in German, Danish and Dutch, describing their spicy taste as well as the fact that many recipes actually call for almonds or walnuts. Bahlsen's pfeffernüsse has no added nuts. Despite the name they do not necessarily contain black pepper, because they are in fact not based on the recipe for pepernoten, but on that for kruidnoten (literally, 'spice nuts').
Pepernoten are originally a Dutch treat, baked during 'Sinterklaas', a feast on 5 December (6 December in Belgium and Germany) on which little children receive gifts from the holy St. Nicholas, the partial inspiration for Santa Claus. In Germany, Pfeffernüsse are traditionally made during the Christmas season.
Recipes often call for the dough to be rounded into a ball. Today they are sometimes produced with a chocolate base.
Like most baked goods, there are many variations of pfeffernüsse. While most recipes call for cloves and cinnamon, some also use nutmeg or anise. A Danish recipe for pebernødder requires white pepper, while most recipes don't use pepper at all. Some versions of pfeffernüsse contain pecans, ginger, or cardamom.
Pfeffernüsse are extremely hard when they are first baked. For at least a week, it is difficult to bite into them without first dunking into a beverage. However, they soften with age.
They are very popular at church concert receptions, especially around Christmas time.
Pfeffernüsse are often confused with Russian tea cakes because they are a similar shape and are both generally covered in powdered sugar, but Pfeffernüsse are much more bitter owing to fewer refined ingredients.
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Pfeffernüsse|