It’s day 11 of our 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Around the World and today we have pfeffernusse, a German iced gingerbread cookie.

While the exact origin of the cookie is uncertain, the traditional German belief links the pepernoten to the feast of Sinterklaas, celebrated on December 6th in Germany and Belgium. This is when children receive gifts from St. Nicholas. In Germany, the pfeffernusse is more closely associated with Christmas. The cookie has been part of European yuletide celebrations since the 1850s.

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  1. 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 3 teaspoons Lebkuchengewurz (recipe to make your own below)
  5. 1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
  6. 1/4 cup almond meal
  7. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  8. 1/3 cup honey
  9. 5 tablespoons butter
  10. 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  11. 1 large egg
For the Glaze
  1. 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  2. 3-4 tablespoons hot water (less water will result in a thicker and whiter glaze)
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, Lebkuchengewurz, white pepper, and almond meal. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, honey, butter, and cream. Heat, stirring frequently, until melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the flour mixture. Once mixed together, add the egg and stir until fully combined. The dough will be very sticky.
  4. Turn the dough out onto some plastic wrap. Wrap the dough tightly. Refrigerate overnight or for up to two days.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and form 3/4-inch balls. Work quickly so the dough stays chilled. (I used a #100 disher to portion out my dough balls.)
  7. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Cool completely.
  9. To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar and water until smooth.
  10. Dip each cookie in the glaze. Let the excess drip off and place on a wire rack set on top of a cookie sheet to catch the drips. Let them sit until the glaze is fully hardened.
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Lebkuchengewurz (German Gingerbread Spice Blend)
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  1. 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  2. 2 teaspoon ground cloves
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  9. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Combine the spices together and store in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
  2. You can grind the star anise using a small food processor or a mortar and pestle.
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