German Spice Biscuits

    1 hour 20 minutes

    These German spice biscuits called pfefferkuchen taste a little bit like gingerbread. I always ice them with a lemon glaze.

    15 people made this

    Serves: 108 

    • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) molasses
    • 1 1/2 cups honey
    • 1 1/2 cups (330g) white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground anise seed
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
    • 125g butter, cut into pieces
    • 2 tablespoons bicarb soda
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 6 cups (450g) plain flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 2 eggs
    • 3 cups (375g) plain flour

    Preparation:1hour  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:1hour20min 

    1. Bring molasses, honey and sugar to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat, then remove from heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
    2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
    3. Stir in anise, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, lemon zest and butter. Dissolve bicarb soda in water then stir into the molasses mixture. Sift together 6 cups of flour with the baking powder and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Stir in molasses mixture and eggs until smooth. Stir in remaining 3 cups flour until a stiff dough has formed.
    4. Divide dough into 4 pieces to make it more manageable. Roll the dough to 5mm thick on a well floured surface and cut into shapes with a biscuit cutter.
    5. Bake biscuits on ungreased baking trays 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned around the edges. Cool completely on a wire rack.

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    Reviews in English (15)


    I was looking for an authentic German cookie recipe so I could send my Aunt some cookies that would remind her of her (German) mother. I don't know whether they are authentic or not, but I was very happy with how the cookies turned out. The smell while they were baking was strong enough that I wondered if the spiciness would be overwhelming, but they tasted sublime. I made a couple of significant modifications: - halved the recipe, with no problem - substituted whole wheat flour for half of the all purpose flour - added two eggs plus enough additional flour to make up for the liquid in the eggs. I wanted the cookies to rise a bit and the eggs did the trick nicely.  -  12 Dec 2007  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    This is an easy recipe to make traditional German Pfefferkuchen, or Lebkuchen. I ended up pouring the dough into cooking pans instead of rolling it out, and only realized later that when you wait a little the dough gets harder and rollable. I also frosted mine with a sugar glaze and brought them to work - they were a HUGH success!  -  07 Dec 2007  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    These are delicious! I used a lemon glaze and they tasted like the ones we would buy in Germany. I will definitely make these again!  -  01 Sep 2010  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)