National Pfeffernusse Day

Have you ever heard of pfeffernüsse? If you have, then you probably know that it’s a German-iced spice cookie made with flour, eggs, sugar, butter, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, black pepper, anise, mace, and cloves.

These cookies are popular in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and among ethnic Mennonites in the United States. If you didn’t know about this cookie, then you probably haven’t heard about National Pfeffernüsse Day—a holiday observed just two days before Christmas on December 23rd.

The History of Pfeffernüsse

It’s believed that this recipe was first invented by a confectioner named Johann Fleischmann from Offenbach am Main back in 1753. After these pastries were invented, they became extremely popular and were even enjoyed by people such as German composer and conductor Felix Mendelssohn and poet, novelist, and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

This cookie quickly became associated with yuletide celebrations since at least the mid-19th century. Naturally, this holiday grew out of that tradition as people began preparing their pfeffernüsse for Christmas.

Fun Facts About Pfeffernüsse

Regardless of whether you’re hearing about these cookies for the first time or you’ve been enjoying them for years, we think that we’ve come up with some amazing facts everyone can appreciate. We came across the following pfeffernüsse facts during our research for this holiday and would like to now share these facts with all of our readers.

Pfeffernüsse Is a Form of Gingerbread

Pfeffernüsse is very much like German Lebkuchen—otherwise known as gingerbread. However, they differ from gingerbread in that they are rolled into balls and then glazed with sugar afterward.

Pfeffernüsse Soften With Age

When you’ve made a batch of pfeffernüsse, then you’re likely to notice that after they cool, they become very hard. Hard enough that they require dipping into a liquid (such as milk) to soften them for eating.

If that doesn’t sound very good to you, however, you should know that they will soften with age. Allowing them to sit will also allow their flavors to become more complex, so it’s something that should at least be considered.

The Word Pfeffernüsse Has a Very Specific Meaning

The word pfeffernüsse means “pepper nuts,” and there are several reasons why they might have been given this name. One reason is that they contain pepper and are small like nuts. However, some people posit that they have this name because some recipes have the baker add ground nuts to the recipe.

Observing National Pfeffernüsse Day

Ready to celebrate National Pfeffernüsse Day? If you are, then you’re going to need a few basic supplies, a little bit of your time, and your favorite pfeffernüsse recipe. Once you’ve made them, baked them, and iced them, you can then give them out to friends and family as gifts.

While you’re observing this holiday, be sure to use the hashtag #NationalPfeffernusseDay on your social media accounts to spread the word about these tasty cookies.

When is it?
This year (2024)
December 23 Monday
Next year (2025)
December 23 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
December 23 Saturday
Food & Drinks