vegan pfeffernusse cookies

Cardamom, clove, anise, and cinnamon make these lightly powdered traditional German/Dutch Christmas cookies (‘peppernuts’) a delightful respite from the season’s overly sweet sugar cookies.  Since I have quadrupled the spices, they are somewhat intense.  Feel free to lighten up on them if you want a gentler flavor.  I keep freshly ground Ceylon cinnamon and clove around, but freshly ground the anise seed, cardamom seed, and a peppercorn tricolor blend the first time I made them.  Second time around, I used already ground white pepper.  Both batches were fantastic; play with the spices as your cupboard sees fit.   Adapted from Down to Earth’s holiday cookie section.   They require chill time (an hour or overnight) to make it easy to form little balls that won’t flatten while baking.

pfeff bow

The lovely texture of these cookies improves with time — a light crunch as you bite in, then a soft pillow of spice in the middle.  Air them out for a while after completely cooled, then store in a tin.  Make more than you ‘need’ (like anyone needs cookies) and when you open that second tin the flavor and texture will be even better.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons anise
3 1/2 teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon
4 teaspoons each cardamom and clove
3 1/4 teaspoons white pepper
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup cane sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
confectioner’s sugar for coatingpfeff bowls

1.  In smaller of two bowls, combine all dry ingredients except the sugar.
2.  In larger bowl, use hand mixer to fluff together vegan butter and sugar.
3. Add almond milk, molasses, canola oil and vanilla. The mixture will not be perfectly smooth as vegan butter behaves slightly differently than dairy butter.
4. In three batches, mix in dry ingredients, switching to a wooden spoon on last batch.
5. Form dough into a log, wrap in plastic and chill for an hour or more.
6. Preheat oven to 350 F. Make little balls about an inch each (about 40).
7. Bake on cookie sheets sprayed with coconut oil, 11-12 minutes or till lightly browned.
8. Handle carefully at first as they are tender right out of the oven; After a minute or so, remove with spatula and set out on a rack.
9. Dip pfeffernusse while still warm into a bowl of confectioner’s sugar, turning gently to coat. Do this a second time, after all of them are coated, if you like.

pfeff powdering



pfeff inside

almond butter chocolate chip clementine cookies

These sumptuous cookies are tender, moist, chocolatey, almondy. They stay soft in the middle and have a delightful citrus zing.    And no flour!  You will need a spice grinder or coffee grinder to make the flax eggs, which are explained further here at the blog, Becky Bakes.  You could substitute coconut butter for the flakes, as when you grind them they magically become coconut butter.  (Coconut is a lot less expensive in flake form).  I made these on a whim because we were completely out of cookies — an emergency situation!  I surfed for almond cookies, and landed happily here  with an easy almond butter cookie recipe at Vegan in the Freezer blog.  The simplicity of that recipe got my wheels spinning as I eyed a bowl of bright orange clementines.  Don’t leave out the almond extract; it’s a surprisingly yummy note.

Enjoy!  And let me know how the cookie-making goes for you.


Prep time:  10 minutes + 15 minutes chilling pre-bake

Bake time:  16 – 18 minutes

(Wait till dough is chilling to preheat oven to 350).

Grease cookie sheets with vegan buttery sticks.


2 cups almond butter, roasted unsalted

3/4 cup organic cane sugar

4 T flax seed

2/3 cup boiling hot water

1 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (Ghiradelli are vegan)

zest of 2 clementines, tangerines, or oranges

1 t almond extract

Step 1:  Make flax ‘eggs’:  Grind flax in spice mill/coffee grinder.  Stir ground flax into hot water and let sit for five minutes.


Step 2:

As flax mixture cools and gels, Grind coconut flakes in same grinder.  Zest clementines with a small grater or zester.

Step 3:

Mix all ingredients well in large bowl.  (or you can mix all but the chips, and add them last if flax needs to cool a bit more).

Cool cookie dough in refrigerator for fifteen minutes so it will shape easily. Preheat oven to 350 during this time.


Step 4:

Scoop cookie dough into tablespoon, rounded slightly but not stuffed, onto cookie sheets. almondcookies


Step 5:

Bake in 350 oven 16 – 18 minutes.  Place on cooling rack after waiting one minute for them to be ready to lift off sheet.

Store in covered container on the counter if you want them to be eaten soon, or in fridge or freezer to avoid eating them all at once!  Makes 36 cookies.

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