Toronto·HOLIDAY EATS

Peppernuts, tiny, spice cookies, a Mennonite holiday favourite

The name of these tiny, crunchy cookies is deceiving since they don't contain pepper or nuts, says reporter Lorenda Reddekopp.

You never eat just one and eat them like you would a handful of nuts

You never eat just one and eat them like you would a handful of nuts, says reporter Lorenda Reddekopp. (Lorenda Reddekopp/CBC)

CBC Toronto reporters share their favourite Christmas treats in our Holiday Eats series.

The name of these tiny, crunchy cookies is deceiving since they don't contain pepper or nuts.

You never eat just one and eat them like you would a handful of nuts. They do have a somewhat peppery taste. Recipes vary, but it usually comes from a mix of cloves, ginger, mace, nutmeg or star anise.

How to make such cute little cookies? My mom rolls the cooked mixture into long, thin tubes, freezes them and then cuts off little pieces before baking the next day.

They're a North American Mennonite tradition and also popular in Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.

I grew up also knowing the name for them in Low German or Plautdietsch, which is päpanät (pronounced pay-pa-nate.)

In my extended family, my mom is the peppernut queen. They're always a hit when she gives out small bags or jars to everyone in the family.

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