Posted by: christinelaennec | December 19, 2013

Pomanders and pfeffernüsse

Hello again!  I’ve had a request for my pfeffernüsse recipe, so will give you that in a moment.  First, I wanted to show you another thing I’ve been making:  pomanders.  I followed Tina’s tutorial here, with the following results:

Orange clove pomanders, from the tutorial on The Quiet Home blog.

Orange clove pomanders, from the tutorial on The Quiet Home blog.

They really smell divine!  I found it to be quite a soothing thing to do, once I got started.  As I didn’t have a skewer handy, I used an old knitting needle.  (Its point is now devoid of finish, due to the acid in the orange’s juice.)

So – Pfeffernüsse, also known as Peppernuts.

Pfeffernüsse are the white balls on the bottom of the plate.

Pfeffernüsse are the white balls on the bottom of the plate.

These are best made a least a week before you intend to eat them, as the spices need time to “ripen”.  If you’re making them now, they will be delicious at New Year’s.  I don’t know where I got the recipe from, but here it is.  (one cup = 8 fluid ozs or just use an average mug)

In a large bowl, cream 100 grams of butter and 1/2 cup of sugar.

Add a large egg and 3/4 cup golden syrup.

In another bowl, sift together:  3 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons crushed aniseed or star anise, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/8 teaspoon finely ground white or black pepper.

Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring well.  This can get quite hard on the wrists towards the end, so either get a helper or take a break!  Form a ball with the dough, wrap in greaseproof paper and chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 350F / Gas Mark 4 / 180C.  Take off any rings on your hands for the next step.  Once the dough is chilled, slice off a piece 1/2″ thick.  Slice into strips about 1/2″ wide.  Roll the dough between the palms of your hands into balls about 3/4″ in diameter.  It doesn’t actually matter how big they are, as long as they are all about the same size so they will bake evenly.  Place them on an ungreased baking tin, and bake for about 10 minutes, until they are golden.

While they are baking, prepare a wide bowl with about 3/4 cup of icing sugar on the bottom.  Also prepare an airtight tin where you’ll let them ripen for at least a week.  When the pfeffernüsse are a golden brown (they will flatten out a bit), roll them while hot in the icing sugar before placing them in the tin.  I usually put about five in the bowl of icing sugar at a time, leaving the rest on the baking tray, on a cooling rack.

When finished, wash your sticky hands well and don’t forget to put your rings back on. Keep the tin away from any impatient marauders for at least a week.

I find that the most difficult thing about making pfeffernüsse is grinding the star anise.  We generally use a clean coffee grinder, and just a lot of perseverance.  The smell is divine, however.  It might be possible to purchase ground star anise at an Oriental or Asian grocery store, but I haven’t come across it yet.  Spices are generally much less expensive at such places, though.

Have fun if you decide to make them!



  1. Your pomanders look wonderful! Thank you for sharing your recipe too, they sound very yummy! 🙂 xxx

  2. hahaha Peppernuse haha we called it peppernoten! Its a dutch recipe , and we eat that on Sinterklaas fest. Its a gingercookie dough . Nice to see that you bakked it . Greetings from the Netherlands. Hendrika

  3. I still have the pomander I made last year following Tina’s directions. I have it hanging near the sewing machine where my older grand girls can reach it, and one of them reported to me lately “It still smells good Gramma!” Merry Christmas to you and yours, Christine!

  4. Thank you very much for the recipe, Christine, I’m looking forward to making these. I was wondering how to grind star anise as I read your recipe, a coffee grinder sounds like the ideal solution. I like the reminder to put rings back on after washing hands, I usually put mine in a pocket while I bake but sometimes I lay them beside the sink and forget where they are. I’ve thought about making pomanders but I’ve been put off by the pain involved with pressing cloves into an orange, I never thought to use a knitting needle.

  5. I used a tooth pick. Also you can mix orris root poder, all spice, nutmeg, and roll the orange and cloves in it, any unused mixture can be reused. Smells even better and the orris is a preservative.

  6. Thank you for your recipes, those littles balls sound delicious! I’d also like to say your house looks lovely and christmassy and cosy. I’ve been reading all your latest posts at once as I’ve not been paying much attention to blogs lately. I hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas. x

  7. Your pomanders came out wonderful and I can just imagine how fragrant they must be! Along with your spicy cookies (no, I am not going to attempt spelling it :), your home must be a very pleasant place to be! Thank you for the recipe, I have never used star anise and will look for some in the market. xo Karen

  8. I made these one year with my daughter’s class – the kids loved making them. But do you know – clove prices have gone through the roof in recent years….I have no idea why, but it’s just not cost effective to make them right now. Blessings to you, Christine – and thanks again for posting the recipe for pfeffernusse! ❤

  9. Ooh – what a great recipe. We like to eat these before Christmas, so i will be marking this for next year. I love clove oranges – and they stay good for a long time. I hope you all have a wonderful christmas, Christine. Love and prayers for the 3 of you xxx

  10. Great to know that there may be a few more pfeffernüsse in the world! Thank you all for your lovely wishes, we all so much appreciate them. Wishing you in turn a very joyful Christmas!

  11. […] There’s just been enough time in every day to look after the Dafter, keep the household going, look after myself (shoulder is better but ongoing; I’ve also had some emergency dental work!) and get Christmas organised.  I was able to make my pfeffernusse: […]

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