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Swiss Pepperballs

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No need to be nuts about pepper to enjoy these amazing pepper-flavored gingerbreads. Hugely popular in my parts of the Alps!

Here are some of the most popular cookies in the Swiss-German-speaking part of Switzerland - gingerbread balls flavored with white pepper - a real treat.

Pfäffernüss [pfay fair nuss] Peppernuts
250 grams / 0.5 lbs sugar
2 large eggs
30 grams / 1 oz candied orange
75 grams / 2 oz ground almonds
1 tsp cinammon
1 pinch ground clove
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch white pepper
1 pinch baking powder
250gr / 0.5 lb flour
100gr / 3 oz confectioner's sugar
A few drops lemon juice Some people include cardamom powder, candied lemon and walnuts as well.

I bought candied orange from G. Detout in Paris, but you can find them in many confectionery shops across the world.

Slice lengthwise witha sharp knife ...

... then crosswise.

Combine the eggs with the sugar in a large bowl...

... then whisk until fluffy and thoroughly mixed.

When the sugar-egg alliance starts turning white, add the ground almonds...

... then the candied orange.

Grind the spices to a fine powder...

... and add them to the dough.

Use a whisk ...

to mix the ingredients.

Add the flour.

Then the baking powder. Don't you like this picture?

Combine everything using a paddle ...

... until you get a smooth dough.

Wet the palms of both of your hands. Take a walnut-sized piece of dough and roll it in between both palms until you get a smooth sphere. I apologize but I did not manage to do this with my camera - you'll just have to figure out the movement on your own!

Lay the balls on a piece of baking paper. Space them well as the balls will grow as they bake. Bake for 15 minutes at 220°C / 450°F

Let's prepare the glazing. Place the confectioner's sugar in a bowl, then let a little lemon juice fall on it drop by drop.

Drip, drip, the mighty power of the liquid soon turns the white mountain into a swamp. Mix with a brush.

Remove the cookies from the oven - they have grown so much, I almost did not recognize them!

Place the glazing bowl on the cookie tray ...

... and start painting each cookie with the glazing, covering every side. Nothing like a good sugarcoating to make some people swallow a pepper cookie.

Serve on a plate with no warning notice ...

... or pile them in peppercorns so that people are aware of the contents.




  • #1
  • Comment by Jason
I'm all over this recipe. Cookies for the fam and friends this weekend!! Thanks FX.
Hey I love pfeffernusse, but think of it as a Christmas cookie. Is that not true for the Swiss?
  • #3
  • Comment by Rick
I could make these on the boat. When I get to the galley tonight I'll see if we have some sort of candied fruit. Sugar and pepper, a combination that excites me!
  • #4
  • Answered by fx
Jason, thanks for visiting and if you try this recipe don't hesitate to add other gingerbread spices to the mix along with the pepper. Good luck!
  • #5
  • Answered by fx
Callipygia, it is Christmas every day of the year at FXcuisine.com!
  • #6
  • Answered by fx
Rick, good luck if you try these cookies, they are great fun and should be very comforting with a cup of your hot Mexican chocolate! I'm still working on the boat articles, it should come soon!
  • #7
  • Comment by Bart
My question is actually langauge-related.  Seeing as how you are a polyglot English-speaking Swiss, I thought you might help.  Does the German letter ü sound like the French letter u?
  • #8
  • Answered by fx
Bart, yes indeed, German ü sounds exactly like French u.
Ooh, I love pepper in sweet baked goods.  Bookmarking this recipe for sure.
  • #10
  • Answered by fx
Lauren, thanks for visiting! Do you know other pepper cookies?
  • #11
  • Comment by sara
Dear Francois-Xavier,

What do you think this recipe would taste like if I used green peppercorns, pink, or just the normal black?

Thank you for the your wonderful food blog-- I get hungry every time, even if I've just eaten!
  • FX's answer→ Sara, you need to use white peppercorns. Green would really not work for this - I think. Good luck!

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