Homemade Peppernuts (the best little cookies in the world)


There’s pepper in these cookies? Surely not!  Yes, that’s why they’re called Peppernuts.  Oh, but there are no nuts in the cookies.  They’re called peppernuts because they have pepper in them, they are tiny and you eat them like you would eat a handful of nuts.  Thus the name Peppernuts.

The best thing about Peppernuts?  They taste just like my Grandma’s. I was so excited after I ate my first one twelve (it’s okay, they’re tiny, remember?).  I hadn’t had a peppernut for YEARS, because the only person I ever knew to make them was Grandma and she’s been gone since before my oldest was born.  Peppernuts…such sweet little bites of memories.

Peppernuts had actually fallen off my radar until my friend Gail mentioned them to me a couple of months ago.  Suddenly…I NEEDED some peppernuts.  Gail found a recipe and emailed it to me.  Then of course I “whole wheat floured” and “sucanated” it…and woohoo…just like Grandma’s!

This experience gave me a whole new respect for Grandma because these tiny little cookies are a little bit time intensive.  They’re not hard to make mind you…but the recipe makes a HUGE batch of dough, then you roll the dough into teeny tiny snakes and cut off teeny tiny pieces and you bake them into teeny tiny cookie bites.  It took two to three hours to get through all of the dough.  It was worth the time and effort, but I’m guessing I’ll only be making these a few times a year.


1 cup butter, melted
4 cups sucanat
4 eggs
1 teaspoon real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon hot water
6-7 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Beat first five ingredients well. Dissolve soda in water then add to first five ingredients. Mix well.  Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Knead into firm dough (hand mixing will probably be required. This dough is too stiff for most electric mixers). Chill overnight or at least two hours.  Roll into “snake-like rolls” a little smaller than dime size in diameter. Cut into small pieces about 1/4″ thick. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in 350° oven for 7-8 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

And now, some Peppernut Pictures…

As you can see from the amount of ingredients, this recipe does make a huge big blob of dough:

If in fact you cut your tiny little pieces not quite tiny enough, they expand and bake together into one huge crazy looking…thing…on your baking pan.  You will then learn that your idea of tiny wasn’t tiny enough and you need to cut them even tinier.  Take note, the following peppernuts are cut too big (even though they look small) and are too close together on the pan.

Which resulted in something freaky like this:

Instead cut them teeny-tiny like this:

So that they will look like this:

It is a little bit fun if they are too close together on the pan and you get a peppernut snowman:

Or a peppernut worm:

After you have rolled and cut your twenty sixth snake, you will realize that it’s easier to line up a snake or two and cut them at the same time.  This revelation saves you 18 precious seconds.




These Peppernuts fill up the biggest bowl you have and then some.  They’re great to package up in small bags to give as Christmas time gifts to coworkers and neighbors.


But of course, you should put some in cute jars and keep them in your kitchen for family time munching with Hot Cocoa.

You know what’s better than eating  Peppernuts?

Looking at Peppernuts in cute jars.

Or is that just me?

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  1. Kathy says

    I think there are as many peppernut recipes as there are families who make them! Your recipe looks very similar to mine (minus the healthy subs, of course), so I approve! Mine does not have pepper, but it does have 1 tsp. anise seed. My favorite Christmas memory is of helping my grandma roll and cut peppernuts while my mom kept the pans moving through the oven. Grandma taught me how to make the “snakes” small and even (about the diameter of a dime), cut them evenly (about 1/4″), and lay them flat. It helps them to stay nice and round if you freeze the snakes before cutting them. That’s the “pretty” way. If looks don’t matter to you, whack ‘em up and throw them on the pan–they’ll still taste GREAT!


    Kathy Reply:

    Oh, and if you line your baking pan with parchment paper, they come off so easily & no sticking to the pan.


    Judith Stewart Reply:

    I guess I’m out of the loop…What is sucanat? Judy


    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Laura wrote about sucanat here: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/the-most-nutritious-sweeteners. That should fill you in. :)


    Judith Stewart Reply:

    Thanks, Lindsey! Got it Now! Judy

  2. BETTY M ICHELS says



    Laura Reply:

    No, but if you bake them for just a bit longer than the recipe calls for, they would probably get that crunchy. :)


  3. Heather says

    Laura, I baked these today… How yummy! I made up a shortcut and it turned out wonderful! Instead of rolling in the dough into snakes, I cut the dough into quarter-inch slabs, then I cut those slabs into tiny squares. When they bake, the square edges round out and most of them look circular… it totally saves all the time spent rolling in the dough into snakes! Thank you for the great recipe… I like to drink chai tea & these are kind of like chai cookies with the similar spices! Mmmmmmmmmmm….


  4. Diana says

    I haven’t made these yet, I was waiting for a friend of mine to send me her recipe because they were the first peppernuts I ever tried. I’d never heard of them before. Her’s uses anise, and in my research I did indeed find a whole bunch of recipes and not one exactly the same. I did notice that the ones with anise didn’t have ginger. I intend to use your recipe with the anise instead of ginger, and I’m thinking of using my pizza cutter to slice the dough. I’m sad if I can’t use my Kitchen Aide mixer, it is supposed to be professional grade, but I don’t want to take a chance on breaking it.


  5. Mary Lou Yoder says

    For a large recipe (7-8 cups flour), it takes me about 15 minutes to make the ropes. I use the Kitchen Aide grinder attachment, although this is not a grinding operation. The grind worm is inserted into the grinder body and a small metal funnel with a flat edge is placed against the opening of the grinder body. The ring is added, tightening it to secure the funnel. The Peppernut dough should be cold, but not hard hard. This works best with two people, one feeding the dough in at the top and one catching the ropes, pinching them off at the desired length. The ropes come out of the funnel slightly bigger around than a pencil, and are placed side by side on a flat surface, without sides, to facilitate cutting. The only attachmen t parts used are the grinder body, the worm, the funnel and the ring. Feel free to contact me to see pictures or for more information.


    Shawn Reply:

    Thanks for this tip! I would appreciate photos as I’m not sure about the funnel configuration. Thank you!


    Jim Curtis Reply:

    I have a kitchen aid and use if for lots of things, but never thought of this.
    I would really like to see a picture of your setup and any other
    information you might have. Where did you obtain a funnel?
    Your help would really be appreciated.
    Thanks so much.


  6. Susan says

    I have never tried these. They look good though. Are they similiar to pepper biscuits (just smaller and bite size)?



    Laura Reply:

    I’ve never heard of pepper biscuits so I’m not sure!


  7. Rachel Q says

    Never heard of these, but I think I will try them this year. I wonder if my kitchen aid pasta attachment would work.


  8. Amy says

    Oh my goodness!! Thank you for this post and recipe. Our good friend used to make these and give as gifts every year. It was her grandma’s recipe and something she used to make every Christmas with her. We have since moved away, and I haven’t had them before or since. I think I’m going to start a new tradition with my kids and future grandkids and be that grandma everyone talks about who made those awesome peppernuts!!


  9. Jo-Anne says

    Hi there,

    I know this sounds like a stupid question, but when you say 1 cup butter (melted), do you mean like mircowave melted? Or just very soft butter.

    I’ve been begging my sister-in-law for her family recipe for years and she’d never provided it. I’m so anxious to try this one. I love these little tasty bites.


    Laura Reply:

    I melt butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop until it is liquid. :)


  10. Matt says

    Thanks for the recipe! I’m attempting to make these up as gifts for the family this year, and I’m trying to figure out quantities. About how many cups of peppernuts will this recipe yield?

    Thanks in advance!


    Laura Reply:

    It’s tough to know exactly as it makes a LOT and I’ve never measured. But I’d say it probably makes about a gallon of peppernuts, give or take.


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