Cookie Extravaganza: Peppernøtter


Photo: Madison Leiren
Peppernøtter are spiced with star anise and freshly ground pepper, with a buttery note from Lyle’s Golden Syrup (or Norwegian light syrup).


This recipe for peppernøtter came from a cookbook I put together as part of a school project in 1990. Peppernøtter (pepper nuts) are small, hard cookies that are often spiced with cinnamon, pepper, ginger, and star anise. I use ground star anise in this recipe, but you can substitute ground anise seed for a similar flavor. Peppernøtter have been in Norway since the middle of the 1700s.


Makes about 30 cookies

1 cup Norwegian light syrup or
Lyle’s Golden Syrup
3/4 cup + 2 tbsps. white sugar
4 tbsps. butter (1/2 stick)
3 tbsps. whipping cream
1 tsp. ground star anise
(can substitute ground anise seed)
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  1. Bring syrup, sugar, butter, and cream to a boil. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and add to the syrup mixture, mixing well with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate the dough overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Make small, round balls with a teaspoon scoop, and place on a parchment-lined sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Notes: American corn syrup is not a good substitute in this recipe, based on our recipe testing. Ljus sirap can be found at Scandinavian stores or online, and Lyle’s Golden Syrup (from England) is now available at many grocery store chains. These syrups are made from sugar beets, and its buttery, rich flavor cannot be beat!


But you mustn’t stop with just one kind of Christmas cookie! Browse our recipes to fill your holiday table with at least syv slags!

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The Great Norwegian Christmas Cookie Extravaganza


This article originally appeared in the Nov. 27, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Gert Kvalsund

Gert Kvalsund is the owner of Saga Pastry + Sandwich, a modern Scandinavian café in Henderson, Nev. He hails from the town of Moltustranda in western Norway. He has prepared food for royalty and elite, including the king of Norway.