Bursting with every Christmas flavour you can possibly crave, German Spice Cookies are not overly sweet, but quite aromatic and warm.
German Spice Cookies are often what English-speaking individuals call German Pfeffernusse Cookies, however, the recipe I use for these spice cookies are a little different! Usually these have black pepper in them, but the Dutch Pepernoten Cookies from yesterday have all the pepper you need!
This particular recipe has the makings of almost every common Christmas ingredient you can think of when it comes to baking – all with the exception of peppermint, maybe!
There’s molasses – one of my personal favourite ingredients for this time of year! – and anise extract, which has a dominant licorice flavour. Then, of course, there’s the holy trinity of fall spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Do I really need to buy all of these spices?
To be perfectly honest with you, I sometimes leave out the all-spice and add ground ginger instead. I only use all-spice if I have it on hand. I bake often, so it’s very rare for me to not have all of these spices in my cupboard. If you don’t and you would like to save some money, just purchase pumpkin spice blend and the results will be very similar.
I’m afraid that in my experience there really is no perfect substitute for anise extract. You could use anise liqueur if you have it on hand. If you really don’t want to purchase it, I would just use either vanilla or almond extract.
Why roll the German Spice Cookies in confectioner’s sugar?
It’s completely optional. But, the cookie is certainly more festive with the confectioner’s sugar coating. I’ve tried it both ways and I prefer the coating and here’s why.
When you place one of these mini German Spice Cookies in your mouth, the confectioner’s sugar immediately wakes up the taste buds as that sugar begins to quickly dissolve. To me, it’s the best way to eat them.
It’s important to roll the cookies in the confectioner’s sugar almost immediately after the cookies are removed from the oven. The residual heat in the cookie will create steam which will very slightly melt the confectioner’s sugar, which in turn, will cause the sugar to stick to the cookie better.
Freezing, storing, and packaging:
To freeze, be sure the cookies are completely cooled. Pile into a freezer-safe container with a tight fitting lid. Freeze for up to 2 months. When ready, remove from freezer and remove lid. Set aside for one hour. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the thawed cookies and gently toss to give the cookies a freshly baked look.
To store, place in a container with a tight fitting lid. Leave on a counter for up to three days. After three days, the cookies will not taste as fresh. To maintain freshness, store in the fridge for up to seven days.
These look great in cellophane bags with a festive ribbon. They make great gifts for friends and neighbours! Don’t package them in cellophane until the day you are giving them as a gift.
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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German Spice Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon anise extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground all-spice
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and molasses until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and the anise extract. Beat into the butter mixture.
- Next, add the flour, cinnamon, all-spice, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Beat into the butter mixture until just mixed through.
- Portion the dough into 1 teaspoon portions. Roll into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between each cookie.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the top of the cookie forms cracks.
- Remove from oven and leave to cool on the baking sheet for one minute.
- While the cookies are still warm, roll into the confectioner's sugar and place onto a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
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