Question about a Game Called “Pfeffenusse” or “Pebernodder”

Here’s a question I received about a game played with a pepper nut cookie called pfeffernüsse, pfeffenusse or pebernodder

I have no idea if that is the way you spell it, but it is a little spicy cookie, shaped like a ball and about the size of a pea. I think it might have originated in another country (Germany maybe?), but the Scandinavians adopted it. I have several recipes for it… but here is my question:

My Dad said there used to be games you played with them. Do you (or does anyone) know anything of these?



I found out that these are Christmas cookies. They’re called pfeffernüsse in German. They also seem to be called pebernodder, peppernotter or perrarnotter – in various Scandinavian languages (I welcome help with the names!).

If anyone knows about this game, please comment below. I’d also be happy to post a recipe for them.



UPDATE: Come visit my later entry where I post the Recipe for Pfeffernüsse, Pfeffernuesse, or if you prefer, Pebernodder, Plus the Rules to the “Mus” Mouse Game That’s Played with these Cookies!

This article was posted on Friday, May 12th, 2006 at 6:08 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Danish, Denmark, Desserts, Games Around the World, German, Germany, Languages, Questions, Recipes of the World, Sweden, Swedish. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

8 Responses to “Question about a Game Called “Pfeffenusse” or “Pebernodder””

  1. Kim Christiansen Says:

    To my knowledge there is no particular game connected with what we in Danish call pebbernødder (pepper nuts, spicy cookies). Pepper nuts is baked before christmas and served as cookies when you have visitors. Kids used them in the old days as points or payments in kids games (kids jetons :-)). Kids would start for instance a cardgame with a handfull each, and use the pepper nuts as payment. When grown ups now a days refer to something really cheap, they say ” its only peppar nuts”

  2. Laurel Says:

    Thanks, Kim! Great information about pebbernodder! Thank you so much for sharing. I love these little cookies, especially when I make them extra spicy, and keep them stored in the freezer. I will try to share some of the recipes I have for them to this site soon–just a little too busy right now! Laurel

  3. Karin Parnis Says:

    I used to play a game called “mus” or “mouse” with my grandmother. You must be at least 3 people to play. You line up 10 or so pebbernodder on the table and point one of them out while the person who is “it” closes his eyes. He can then eat the pebbernodder one by one until he touches the “mouse” and the other players shout “MOUSE”. You keep taking turns to be “it” until you’re sick of eating pebbernodder or until there is none left!

  4. Sue Says:

    My husband’s family makes a plain version of the cookie that we love, no baking soda and the only seasoning is the pepper, plenty of it! We only use the shortening, sugar, eggs, milk and pepper. But somewhere along the way, they learned to roll the dough into snakes and then cut diagonally back and forth making a triangle. Then put them on the cookie sheet to bake. They’re small enough that the family (especially the kids) grap a handful and stuff their pockets on the way out the door. I certainly have fallen for these cookies and enjoy them all year!

  5. Lisa Says:

    That sounds really good. If you like to send in the recipe, I’d be happy to post it!

  6. Laurel Says:

    Karin–I love the mouse game! Thank you for posting it–sounds like a lot of fun for little kids. And any game where you get to EAT peppernuts has to be enjoyable! My neice is making a book of family recipes, and we will include your game in it–much appreciated!

    Sue–I agree that they need to be very spicy. I use lots of white pepper in mine. I, too, do not care for the recipes that call for baking soda–I think the cookies need to be small and crunchy and spicy. I would love to have your recipe–I did send my recipe in to this site, but I don’t seem to see it anywhere, so I will post it now. This one produces the smallest, nut-like cookie, but doesn’t call for much spice, so I have substituted the spices I like from other recipes I found. Cardomom is a lovely spice, and I don’t use any cinnamon, because I would rather taste the cardomom!

    PEBBERNODDER – (Peppernuts)

    1 cup butter
    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    2 1/2 cups flour

    1 teaspoon cardomom (I use 4 teaspoons, or more!)
    1 teaspoon cinnamon (I omit)
    1/4 teaspoon white pepper (I use 2 teaspoons)
    grated lemon rind (I omit)

    (I also add 2 1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger and 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves and a Tablespoon of Molasses)

    Sift dry ingredients into large mixing bowl. Add butter and eggs and grated lemon rind. (I omit the lemon rind, and add one Tablespoon of molasses at this point) Mix well. Kneed with hands until dough is smooth.
    Let rest about 1 hour. Roll out into ropes the thickness of a pencil,
    and cut into pieces about the size of a pea. Bake on greased cookie
    sheet in 325 degree oven until golden brown.

  7. Marilyn Jorgensen Says:

    “In Denmark pebernodder (peppernuts) were very much a part of our Christmas celebration. Not only did we children bake them, but also played a peppernuts game–‘filippino’–guessing how many pebernodder an opponent held in his hand. If you guessed correctly, he forfeited his handful to you. If wrong, you shared from your ‘store’ the same number he held in his hand….(Johanne Reynolds, Hong Kong)” quoted from p. 25 of Peppernuts: Plain and Fancy. A Christmas Tradition from Grandmother’s Oven. By Norma J. Voth, Herald Press, Scottsdale, Pennsylvania, 1978.

  8. Joyce Smith` Says:

    Our granddaughter wants to make Pepper Nuts for a 4-H project for her county fair. I have been searching on all of the websites I can think of for the origin on Pfeffernuesse or Pebber Nodders. Can anyone help me? My ancestry is Danish, thus Pebber Nodders, but can anyone tell me how they about?

Leave a Reply