The A to Z of German Christmas: P is for… Pfeffernüsse

A green plate piled with icing-sugar dusted Pfeffernüsse
Pfeffernüsse | Image Credit: Hilary Woodward (via Flickr)

Tiny, crunchy, gently-spiced cookies, Pfeffernüsse (“peppernuts”) are a popular Advent treat in Germany as well as The Netherlands and Denmark. Here, they’re enjoyed throughout the Christmas season, and are particularly good with a cup of coffee.

Sweetened with honey or sugar beet syrup and sometimes dusted with icing (confectioner’s) sugar, bite-sized Pfeffernüsse are flavoured with white pepper and some or all of the traditional Lebkuchen spices such as allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace and/or nutmeg.

P is also for…

Plätzchen (cookies): the most commonly-used word for cookies at Christmas (though there’s also Kekse), weekends during Advent in Germany are widely dedicated to Plätzchen backen – baking festive cookies.

Pralinen (pralines): available in chocolate shops and pâtisseries at any time of year, chocolate pralines are particularly popular at Christmastime, when they’re often spiced and/or filled with marzipan, liqueur, nuts or nougat, and beautifully wrapped to present as gifts.


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