Pepernoten are Dutch cookies which are traditionally baked and eaten during Sinterklaas festivities. Pepernoten literally translates to pepper nuts!
When I first decided to do a second 24 Cookies of Christmas series, I was telling my girl friends at work. I have the best workmates any man could ask for! Seriously, I’m not just saying this because two of the three will read this, but it’s true!
We’ve worked together for many years and we are super close. We practically have no secrets and have seen each other through some of life’s tougher times. So, when I told them of this series, one of them suggested that I include a few recipes with Christmas tradition and history.
That is why I’ve included this Dutch Pepernoten Cookie, as well as the previously posted Hungarian Apricot Kolaches and yesterday’s Italian Almond Ricotta Cookies. Tomorrow, I’ll publish one last “traditional” Christmas cookie recipe, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see what it will be!
Are these traditional Dutch Pepernoten Cookies?
Simply put, yes! Traditionally, pepernoten cookies are very small and round – comparable to the size of a quail egg. And, if you do a quick internet search, you’ll find a dozen recipes that all say they are traditional, but who’s to say which recipe is most traditional?
That’s the thing about recipes, Dear Reader. They get passed down from generation to generation. People will add things they like and remove the things they don’t. After years and years of this, the traditional recipe is probably so far removed from traditional, it’s almost unrecognizable!
All I know is that a traditional pepernoten cookie should a little hard, not soft, moist, or chewy. It should have ginger and cloves and cinnamon. And, it most certainly should have black pepper. My version has all of those things, so this cookie is traditional to me!
Can I omit the black pepper?
Yes, absolutely! Obviously, your version of this Dutch Pepernoten Cookie does not have be as spicy as my version, but it will still be delicious. You’ll get a little heat from the ground ginger though.
I do encourage you to try adding the black pepper. The spiciness of the black pepper and the sweetness of the brown sugar compliment each other so well and it creates a very balanced taste.
How long will Pepernoten Cookies last? Can I freeze them?
Here’s the good news. Even though these cookies will last a while left at room temperature, they will eventually lose their freshness. After a few days, the cookies will become stale and a little soft. To prevent that, only keep out what you’re going to eat. Freeze the rest.
Freezing these cookies is a surefire way of locking in the flavour and the freshness. Once cooled, store in a food-safe container with a tight fitting lid. Freeze for up to three months.
When you’re ready to serve them, just remove them from the freezer. Take out as many as you need and place them in a single layer on a wire cooling rack. This will allow the air to circulate the cookie and help it to thaw evenly. Also, these make for lovely neighbour gift! Look at how cute this is:
You can find all of my Christmas recipes on my Christmas archives page here: Christmas Recipes This is where you’ll find all of the recipes in this series as they become available. And, just in case you’re impatient, you can always refer back to last year’s 24 Cookies of Christmas! Click on the image below for a complete list. I’ll see you back here tomorrow with another great cookie from Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas series – Volume 2!!
If you loved this recipe, here are some others that might interest you as well:
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Dutch Pepernoten Cookies
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well combined.
- Add the egg and beat into the butter and sugar mixture.
- Next, add the flour, salt, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and ground black pepper. Beat into the butter mixture.
- Portion the cookie dough into 1 teaspoon size portions. Roll into a ball and place on the baking sheet, leaving about two inches of space around each cookie.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray.
- Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
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