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National Pfeffernüsse Day

National Pfeffernüsse Day celebrates pfeffernüsse, which are small cookies that originated in and are still largely popular in Central Europe, specifically in Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands. They have been associated with the feast of Sinterklaas, a Dutch festival connected to Saint Nicholas Day. In Germany they are more associated with Christmas, and have been part of Christmas season festivities in Europe since the 1850s. In North America they are most popular with ethnic Mennonites. Their name is literally translated to "pepper nut" in English, and they are simply known as peppernuts. Their name may come from their somewhat spicy taste, and some contain black pepper. Some also contain nuts such as almonds and walnuts, but this is not a necessary ingredient. They also may derive their name from their size, which may be similar to a nut. They are made with aromatic spices such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, anise, and mace. Today many are dusted with powdered sugar, and they are sometimes sweetened with molasses or honey. They are usually very hard, but become softer after sitting for a few days. They are often confused with another cookie-like confection, the kruidnoten, which is harder and has a lighter brown color. Instead of peppernuts, they are known as spicy nuts. Pfeffernüsse are also often confused with Russian tea cakes.

How to Observe National Pfeffernüsse Day

Celebrate the day by baking and eating some Pfeffernüsse! It's probably best to make your own.


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