National Pfeffernusse Day – December 23, 2021

National Pfeffernusse Day is celebrated on December 23, every year. The day is dedicated to the tasty cookie called Pfeffernuss (plural, Pfeffernusse). This spice delicacy is believed to have originated in Germany, but it is also very popular in Denmark and the Netherlands. It is a holiday treat that has been an integral part of Yuletide celebrations like St. Nicholas Day and Christmas. National Pfeffernusse Day is a day to make your own Pfeffernusse and enjoy the tasty delicacy with friends and family.

History of National Pfeffernusse Day

Pfeffernusse, also known as ‘pepernoten’ or peppernuts, originated from Central Europe. A confectioner from Offenbach am Main, named Johann Fleischmann, is believed to have created the recipe in 1753. Since then, the cookie became very popular, attracting the interest of so many people, including renowned individuals like Felix Mendelssohn.

Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands are the countries most popularly known for this delicacy. In North America, the ethnic Mennonites are also very fond of pfeffernusse. Today, the recipe is widely available and the cookie is widely consumed around the world. However, pfeffernusse is traditionally reserved for the holiday period, around December. This is in keeping with the tradition of its origins, as the cookie has been associated with the celebration of Saint Nicholas Day and Christmas.

The traditional recipe consists of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, black pepper, mace, anise, sugar, butter, eggs, and flour. Popular nuts such as walnuts and almonds are also used to give the cookie some flavor. Leavening agents are applied to the mixture, kneaded, and then baked. They usually come out hard from the oven but would soften after a few days. Also, they are tiny and are sometimes shaped like nuts, which is probably why they are called peppernuts. Nowadays, bakers make alterations to this recipe to include some other ingredients or remove some existing ones. While they generally have a spicy taste, you can easily adjust the amount of spice you’d want. On National Pfeffernusse Day, homemade peppernuts are made available for the family and guests.

National Pfeffernusse Day timeline

1753
Earliest Known Recipe

Johann Fleischmann creates a recipe for pfeffernuss.

Around 1800
Mennonites Bring the Recipe to the U.S.

The German Mennonites settle in Northern America, bringing along the Pfeffernuss recipe.

1820
Brothers Grimm Mention the Treat

Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm and Wilhelm Carl Grimm warn their sister not to eat too much of it.

1850
Becomes Popular During the Christmas Season

Pfeffernusse become a holiday treat during the feast of Sinterklaas and Christmas.

National Pfeffernusse Day FAQs

Where can I purchase already baked Pfeffernusse?

Understandably, you might not have time to bake your batch, but don’t worry, some bakeries deliver to your doorstep. 

What if I don’t like too much spice?

Though pfeffernusse are traditionally spicy, you can reduce the amount of spice to conform with your desire. 

How is Pfeffernuss pronounced?

We thought you might ask that! It is pronounced “fer – fer – noos.” 

How To Celebrate National Pfeffernusse Day

  1. Bake your batch of pfeffernusse

    Recipes are easily accessible on the internet. Find one, get the ingredients, and work the magic in the kitchen.

  2. Celebrate with friends and family

    Since this holiday falls during the Christmas period, it is good to have friends and family to enjoy the delicacy together.

  3. Talk about pfeffernusse

    Engage your friends and co-workers about the treat. Tell them about the history of the cookie and the sweetness thereof.

5 Fun Facts About Pfeffernusse

  1. Sweetened on the outside

    Peppernuts are often rubbed with sugar powder or honey on the outside.

  2. They’re very spicy

    Due to the variety of spices added, pfeffernuss can have a very spicy taste.

  3. Alternative names

    Pfeffernuss is also known as peppernuts and pepernoten.

  4. Often mistaken for other cookies

    Pfeffernuss is often confused with Russian tea cake, ‘speculaas,’ and ‘kruidnoten.’

  5. There are a variety of recipes

    Bakers personalize recipes but keep traditional ingredients while adding others of their choice.

Why We Love National Pfeffernusse Day

  1. Pfeffernusse are easy to bake

    The ingredients required are easily accessible. And the process of mixing and baking is very straightforward.

  2. Pfeffernusse are a good holiday treat

    Instead of other too common and sometimes unhealthy treats, pfeffernusse will suffice. They’re very tasty, and you might not want to stop eating once you start.

  3. It’s a day to celebrate with family

    On National Pfeffernusse Day, you can be with family and friends. You can even join hands in the kitchen to bake your batch of pfeffernusse.

National Pfeffernusse Day dates

YearDateDay
2021December 23Thursday
2022December 23Friday
2023December 23Saturday
2024December 23Monday
2025December 23Tuesday

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