Peppernuts recipe


While there are no actual nuts (or, generally, pepper) in this recipe for Denmark’s unique version of a spiced gingerbread, the cookies are the shape and size of a large hazelnut, which gives them the name. These are essential at Christmas time in Denmark, and in my recipe I’ve embraced black pepper for a good kick. If you prefer a milder taste, or if these will be eaten by kids, use only white pepper (and go easy on it). I remember making these with my grandmother, followed by a peppernut hunt where I got to eat loads of them. We also used to put these in paper cones on the Christmas tree. These bring back fond memories of snow-filled gardens, warm kitchens and my grandmother’s wonderful smile.

  • Yield: 100 small cookies


  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (200 g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 3–3¼ cups (400–425 g) plain all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of/baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons (75 ml) double heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (optional)
Peppernut Spice Mix
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice/apple pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)
How to Make It
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer, then add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of/baking soda, salt and the spice mix. Mix until you have an even dough, then add the cream. Mix again.
  2. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6. Line several baking sheets with baking parchment.
  4. Roll out pieces of dough into thumb-sized rolls or cut or shape little pieces about 1.5 cm/⅝ in. in diameter (no bigger) and pop on the lined baking sheets. You will get around 100 from this recipe, so you may want to go with the cut version rather than rolled if you’re in a hurry!
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for around 8–10 minutes. Do keep an eye on the baking time, because your oven may vary and these little biscuits need to be only just golden, not any darker.
  6. Leave to cool before eating so that they can crisp up. Store in an airtight container.

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