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Gluten-Free Pfeffernusse Cookie Recipe


Gluten-Free Pfeffernusse Cookie Recipe

Gluten-Free Pfeffernusse Cookies

2009 © Teri Lee Gruss, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Gluten-free pfeffernusse cookies are Christmas spice cookies which originated in Germany. Honey, molasses, almond flour and LOTS of spices, including pepper are used to make these enduring, delicious "pepper nut" gluten-free cookies.

This recipe is a gluten-free adaptation of a recipe which appeared in Saveur magazine, "Pfeffernusse" by Maria Speck.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter OR dairy free butter substitute
  • 2 large, room temperature eggs
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine brown rice flour (see note)
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (see note)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon guar gum OR xanthan gum
  • 1 cup gluten-free powdered sugar to dust cookies after baking (see note)


Pfeffernusse cookie dough is refrigerated at least 8 hours before shaping and baking. Baking instructions, including preheating oven are at the end of the recipe.

Place honey, molasses and softened butter in a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to cream on high for about 2 minutes. Add room temperature eggs and grated lemon peel and beat until combined.

Place all dry ingredients except powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to thoroughly combine. Cover tightly and refrigerate cookie dough for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350° F / 176° C

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, silicone liners OR lightly grease with vegetable shortening.

Use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop or rounded tablespoon to form 1-inch balls of cookie dough. The dough will be sticky so occasionally dust your hands lightly with gf powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Make about 36 balls of dough and place 1 1/2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 13-15 minutes or until cookies are firm but not hard.

Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and cool about 10 minutes. Place gf powdered sugar in a medium bowl and dredge warm cookies in sugar. Store in an airtight container or eat immediately.

Yield- About 36 cookies

  • If you can't find superfine brown rice flour, grind regular brown rice flour in a coffee bean grinder or a blender and sift through a fine mesh strainer.
  • Be sure to read labels carefully when buying powdered sugar. Most powdered sugar products are made with sugar and cornstarch but occasionally some brands are processed with wheat starch.
  • If you can't find almond flour, grind almond "meal" in a coffee bean grinder or a blender and sift through a fine mesh strainer.

Reminder: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.

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