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Catholic Recipe: Pepernoten


  • 2 1/2 cups (300 g) flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds (optional)


Yield: 50 peppernuts

Prep Time: N/A

Difficulty: • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:11+

Origin: The Netherlands


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Also Called: Dutch Peppernuts

In Holland St. Nicholas visits the children on December 5 accompanied by his faithful helper "Black Peter." He, or a black gloved hand, distributes the peppernoten to the children by throwing them through the door before the arrival of St. Nicholas.


Knead all ingredients into a soft ball. Butter two baking sheets. Form about 50 marble-sized balls. Place them on the two sheets, so that they are the same distance from each other. Flatten each ball slightly.

Bake at 350º F. (175º C) 20 minutes or until done. The cookies will be very hard, but they will get softer as they get older.

Recipe Source: Cooking With the Saints by Ernst Schuegraf, Ignatius Press, 2001