Pfeffernusse – German Gingerbread Cookies

Pin on Pinterest326 Share on Facebook0 Tweet about this on Twitter0 Google+ Email to someone

For me Pfeffernüsse or German Gingerbread-style Cookies are all part of the tradition of celebrating Christmas. These are vegan, nut- and gluten-free, as well as processed sugar-free. 

Pfeffernusse German Gingerbread Cookies Gluten Free Vegan-2

Only 8 days ’till Christmas. Have you been counting? I sure have been. To celebrate, and as part of the December SABH hosted by Christina, I made Pfeffernüsse to hand out to our friends and neighbours as a little treat. Loosely translated as Peppernuts they also contain a mixture of lovely gingerbread spices that when baked, fill the house with Christmas cheer!


Traditionally they are iced, covered in chocolate or dusted with a thick coating of icing sugar. The un-iced Pfeffernüsse cookies are a much healthier alternative though and safe for most little visitors as they are gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free and soy-free. To healthy them up even more – since we all know there will be plenty of other food indulgences at the Christmas table, they are sweetened with rice malt syrup and rapadura sugar. If you would like to ice them make sure to check out my older post for traditional gingerbread icing.

Pfeffernusse German Gingerbread Cookies Gluten Free Vegan-2

Best of all you can make them into more traditional festive shapes using cookie cutters. Poke a hole in each using a drinking straw, bake, thread a piece of string through the hole and you have instant edible Christmas tree decorations! 

As a bonus, any leftover scraps can be baked and made into Gingerbread ice cream! *spoken in a German accent:* Good, no?

So, tell me, what is your favourite Christmas food indulgence? Is it sweet or savoury?

Pfeffernusse German Gingerbread Cookies Gluten Free Vegan-2

Pfeffernusse - German Gingerbread Cookies
Recipe type: cookies, gingerbread, gluten free, vegan
Serves: 4-6
Pfeffernüsse or German Gingerbread-style Cookies are all part of the tradition of celebrating Christmas. Best of all you can make them into more traditional festive shapes using cookie cutters. Poke a hole in each using a drinking straw, bake, thread a piece of string through the hole and you have instant edible Christmas tree decorations! These are vegan, nut- and gluten-free, as well as processed sugar-free. Makes about 16 cookies
For the Pfeffernusse:
  • 60g (2oz) Nuttelex or other dairy-free spread
  • ¼ cup rapadura sugar
  • ⅓ cup rice malt syrup
  • 1 tbsp Chinese five spice mix
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1.5 tbsp boiling hot water
  • 250g (1/2lb)plain gluten-free flour (I used White Wings)
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
To make the Pfeffernusse:
  1. Place Nuttelex (or other dairy-free spread), rapadura sugar, rice malt syrup and five spice mix into a small saucepan.
  2. Heat, stirring, over low heat until the spread is melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together ground flaxseed and boiling water until the mixture resembles egg consistency. Set aside to cool.
Once all liquids are cooled to room temperature:
  1. Place gluten-free flour into a large bowl. Sift in bicarb soda and cacao powder.
  2. Whisk flaxseed mixture into the cooled Nuttelex and sugar mixture.
  3. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir together with a spoon until dough forms. It may seem a little sticky but that's ok.
Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced, 350F, gas mark 4). Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  1. Shape about 1 tablespoon of the dough into balls and flatten gently. Or roll flatten small batches of dough to about ¼ inch onto a sheet of baking paper and cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters. Remove scraps and repeat.
  2. Bake on the middle shelf in a preheated oven for about 11 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and allow to cool.


You may also like


22 Responses to Pfeffernusse – German Gingerbread Cookies

  1. Kathy Ball says:

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! It will make my allergy-prone kids very happy.

  2. These are terrific cookies. I think most things at Christmas are an indulgence. I always forgive myself for making/eating anything and then I have to pay for it in January. 🙂

  3. I love Pfeffernusse, my mum buys them for me every Christmas, but I’ve never thought of tackling baking them. Thanks!

  4. How lovely! I love gingerbread anything and I love the fact that you can turn them into ornaments. A great gift!

  5. Minxie says:

    Yummo, definitiley festive! My favourite would have to be sweet. Gingerbread, chocolate and fruitcake!

  6. I’ve loved pfeffernüsse for as long as I can remember. The combination of spices is an absolute winner, in my books.

  7. Yum! I absolutely love pfeffernüsse although I always have a bit of a giggle at pronouncing it hehe. I’m on a gluten free/dairy free diet at the moment so THANK YOU for posting this! I was thinking I might have a bit of trouble enjoying my usual Chrissy treats, but this is absolutely perfect 😀

  8. Ja, gut!! 😉

    Gorgeous looking cookies, Martyna. I love the way you’ve styled this too. Thanks for joining this hop!

  9. bakingmyselfhappy says:

    I am loving all things gingerbread at the moment, but these have the added bonus of being healthier! Will definitely be making these 🙂 my boyfriend won’t be able to complain about the healthiness factor!

  10. rsmacaalay says:

    I so love that first photo, it’s like a postcard you can buy in the bookstore. Nice recipe with a crunch

  11. Yet another treat to add to my list of ‘cookies to eat for breakfast’ ;D

  12. I was just looking longingly at some Pfeffernüsse the other day wishing I could have some and here you are with a gluten-free version, perfect timing!

  13. These look beautiful, and what a lovely photo! I’ve bookmarked these to try – and I love the fact that they’re already vegan so I don’t even have to adapt them! Merry Xmas!

  14. gastromony says:

    I love Pfeffernüsse and it’s nice to see a recipe for them that is so healthy 🙂 I do like them iced though I must admit 😀

  15. Tessa says:

    Beautiful cookies! Gorgeous photography as usual!

  16. Such a healthy Christmas treat – much better for you than traditional gingerbread I’m sure 🙂

  17. Kurt says:

    as a German I find this recipe totally strange! However I guess if someone has allergies, what the. I will continue to look for a good traditional recept.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: