Pfeffernusse for College Care Packages

Pfeffernusse cookies for College Care Packages

Pfeffernusse cookies for College Care Packages

Time for the Valentines Day College Care Packages!  I’m always trying out different treats that I think will ship well because my son goes to a school on the East Coast that has a frustrating administrative problem of getting packages to the kids on time.  For some reason they won’t deliver the packages until days after they arrive.  So…I try to find treat recipes that will stay soft and pliable for long periods of time.  These Pfeffernusse were successful, staying fresh and soft in a sealed container for 2 weeks.  Plus, the flavor was awesome!

Yes, Pfeffernusse are Christmas cookies…not Valentines

Pfeffernusse are a traditional German Christmas cookie, featuring molasses and spices.  I meant to make these at Christmas, but alas, time got away from me.  My kids still wanted to taste them and sometimes the chocolate Valentines treats don’t ship that well, so I’m flying in the face of tradition here, both with Christmas cookies and Valentines chocolate.  Sometimes you just have to punt.

Pfeffernusse Cookie Recipe

  • Pfeffernusse for Care Packages

    Pfeffernusse for College Care Packages

    1/2 cup molasses

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 tsp anise extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (grind it fresh if possible)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp freshly ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (can use 2 tsp white pepper if desired)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar for dusting


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine molasses,honey, and butter and cook, stirring frequently.  Cook until creamy and thoroughly mixed together.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  When mixture is cool, stir in the eggs and the anise extract.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, including the flour, sugars, and spices (but not the powdered sugar).  Add the molasses mixture and stir together thoroughly.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 325° F.  Let the dough thaw slightly so it is pliable enough to roll into balls.  Roll into small balls, about 1 1/4″ in size.  Place on baking sheet, about 1″ apart (they don’t spread much but they do get a little bigger when baked).
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, they should be slightly brown on the bottom.  Cool a minute on the sheet and then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.  Use a sifter to dust cookies with powdered sugar.

This recipe is an adaptation of many of the recipes I read on the internet, adding and subtracting based on comments from other cooks.  It turned out fantastic!


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