Pepernoten – Christmas Cookies

All across The Netherlands little Dutch children are waking up this morning, wide eyed and excited to see what Sinterklaas (St Nick) has brought them.

Whatever he’s hidden in their slippers, there’s bound to be a pepernoten or two (dozen) around.

Delicious little spiced cookies that quite simply taste like Christmas in a mouthful.


These are not big gooey American cookies, they’re crisp, crumbly little things.

They are called “pepper nuts” after all.

The sort of thing that goes spectacularly well with a cuppa, whether it’s your well deserved afternoon cup of tea or serving coffee after dinner.

Best of all?

They’re child’s play to make.

You’ll need:

50g butter (room temp – very important)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup self raising flour

1tbsp milk

1tsp ground nutmeg

1tsp ground cloves

1tsp ground ginger

Pre-heat your oven to 160c/350f. Cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper or a silicone cookie sheet.

Cream together your butter and sugar. (Make sure your butter is room temp, not cold, not melted, or they won’t work. Patience is key!) Once nice and creamy, add your spices and flour little by little, followed by the milk.

Once you have a sort of sandy, buttery mixture, grab a 1/2tsp measuring spoon and make little scoops.


Roll each scoop into a little ball.


And place on the baking tray.

Keep going, giving them just a little room to grow, until you run out of mixture.

Bake in the middle of your oven for 10mins – then take a look, if they’re golden brown and cracked across the surface take them out. If not, leave them a couple more minutes.

Cool on the side, they don’t take long and will make your house smell like Mr & Mrs Clause’s.

Then serve with a really good cup of tea, your favourite Christmas candle burning in the background.



A perfect stack of bite sized heaven!


Bag them up for Christmas gifts (like the Chocolate Avalanche), serve them to guests, or just snuggle up and demolish the lot yourself!

Either way, you’d be pepper-nuts not to try these!

Happy Sinterklaas everyone!

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  • Oh my gosh, these look delicious!! I have such a fondness for those spicy Christmastime cookies & these sound so easy to make – thanks for sharing!

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  • Nanni

    Those look absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Are there maybe some savory christmas recipes to follow? I would so enjoy that. Have a lovely day.

  • Would love for Sinterklaas to come to London too – I am a big fan of Christmas cookies! They look delicious!


  • This cookie recipe looks sooo delicious … I would love to try it out! 🙂
    Merci for sharing and Merry Christmas!

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  • marie from heartfelt hunt

    they look delicious!!! thank u so much for the recipe – i have to give it a try! <3


  • Peppermint Dolly

    I was looking for another lil something to put with my homemade Christmas-treat pressies, these will go perfectly! What a smashing little recipe – thanks Rosie!


  • We have these in Norway too, there they are called peppernøtter. They’re one of my favourite Christmas traditions!

  • Sarah Gouin

    Love your recipes! Will be making these with my son.

  • Georgina

    So simple! I think ill give this a god when I have some time 😀

  • Oh WOW these look deelish. The perfect gift idea too! Nothing better than cookies you can whip up with no fuss. Immy x

  • Julie Brodelet

    Yes, here in Belgium even the grown ups are waiting for Sinterklaas to drop by. On the moring of the 6th of December, we’re giddy to check the fireplace, that’s where he leaves the treats and gifts. If you really want to go pepper-nuts, cover them in chocolate and dust them with cocoa powder. I’m sure you can handle that Rose ;)!!

  • Joules

    I love that these are so bite-sized! They look delicious!

    Style by Joules

  • These sound delicious and love the background you gave on them!

  • Sienna

    Tonight is pakjesavond, the night before Sinterklaas (: Kids (and kids at heart like me!) will be looking in their shoes tomorrow morning.
    Though I’ve been munching on pepernoten and speculaas for a few weeks already…

  • Bec

    Pfeffernuesse! That’s ‘pepper nuts’ in German, love these bad boys!

  • These look yummy! I’m planning to make them for guests and for little gifts. Could you please tell me how many come out of the portion you used here?

  • A recipe that only takes ten minutes or so to bake?
    They sound delish!

  • I’m Dutch and I can confirm that these taste amazing. ♥

  • Suzanne

    Rosie, I don’t think the amount of butter is correct. I just tried making them with 50g and they were too dry to roll into balls. I’m also wondering when I should add the milk?

  • These look so good! We’ll have to give these a try while we’re doing our Christmas baking!