Pebernødder is the Danish word for peppernuts and is a traditional Christmas cookie that is walnut-sized and circular in shape. They’re highly popular in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands and are often served as snacks in December. The reason why the cookie is called a peppernut is that it contains white pepper in it’s recipe. Another fun fact about the snack is that there is a game that you can play with is called mus.
Pebernødder and Mus
The game mus directly translates to mouse and is best played with three or more players. How the game works is that 5-10 peppernut cookies are placed on a table by one player then another player has to either leave the room or be blindfolded. Basically, the second player should not see what is done with the cookies. Once the player cannot see the cookies, a third player will select one cookie as the “mouse.”
Once a cookie is selected, the blindfolded player must eat all the cookies until they eat the “mouse”. When this happens, everyone calls “mus” and another player can take a turn at being the finder. Every player can get their turn if there is enough pebernødder.
History of Pebernødder
The name of the cookie basically means a cookie having any sprinkling of spice. It is said that pebernødder originates from the 16th century and had a different recipe at the time. Due to the process back then, the cookies would end up hard as rocks, or hard as nuts as the name indicates. Aside from this, the recipe was highly different with rye flour, honey, and a much stronger concentration of herbs.
Pebernødder – Pepper nuts recipe
- 1 egg
- 175 g sugar
- 2 tbsp. whipping cream
- 1 pinch finely chopped nutmeg not crushed nutmeg. A nutmeg that is grated directly into the dough
- 1 pinch crushed pepper – White
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 250 g flour
- 100 g soft butter take it out of the fridge and set it at room temperature for an hour before you go to bake
- Beat eggs and sugar until they are lightly and fluffy – this is easiest in a mixer. An electric whisk can also be used, but with a whisk you really have to put patience and effort into it.
- Whip the cream in.
- Mix the spices in the flour, and crumble the butter in, and add the eggnog.
- Gather the dough – it is very greasy.
- Put the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
- Turn the oven to 200 ° C (390 ° F)
- Roll out the dough into finger-thick sticks – use if necessary. a little flour so that the dough releases more easily.
- Cut the sticks into hazelnut-sized pieces and roll them round.
- Put the pebernødder – pepper nuts – on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the pebernøøder in the oven for 6-9 minutes.
- Allow them to cool completely before placing them in an airtight cake tins or jars where they can be stored for 1 to 2 weeks.
Traditional Ingredient: Hjortetaksalt
While you can use the recipe as is and get yourself a batch of delicious pepper nut cookies, there is a specialty ingredient in traditional recipes. Said ingredient is actually what makes pebernødder unique in terms of texture. That ingredient is hjortetaksalt, which is hartshorn salt or, in layman’s terms baker’s salt. This ingredient is a leveling agent in the recipe and gives the pepper nut cookies their light texture.
An alternative for this ingredient would be baking powder and/baking soda, but it will require a certain mixture of the two to replace the salt ingredient. Either way, pebernødder is a fun treat to have.