Grandma’s Pepper Cookies – A Holiday Tradition!


This post is in honor of a special lady who was very dear to our hearts.  She was spunky, quick to laugh, loved to shop, and was a phenomenal cook.  Most important of all, she was our grandmother.   Every Christmas, she would make Pepper Cookies.  They have been a part of family Christmas parties for as long as I can remember.  The smell, and the unique spice bring a flood of memories. That is the power of a great tradition. It is a tradition that we will continue with our children, so we can share a piece of our wonderful grandmother for years to come.  Today, we are going to share the love with you all.

To preface, this cookie dough is like no other cookie dough you’ve ever made!  Not only does it have black pepper in it, but it is made by cooking the liquid ingredients and adding the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients! (Now don’t let the black pepper scare you, there is only 1/4 teaspoon in the whole batch.) The results are amazing and the cookies are absolutely addicting! The spices intensify so they get even yummier with time!  They stay crispy even after a couple of weeks if you keep them in a brown paper bag. (Grandma used to make these several weeks before Christmas.)

Pepper Cookies

½ c. butter

½ c. sugar

½ c. dark corn syrup

1 ½ t. white vinegar

In saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add sugar, corn syrup and vinegar. Bring to a rolling boil and remove from heat. Cool to room temperature, then add:

1 egg, beaten

While corn syrup mixture is cooling, combine the following dry ingredients into a large bowl:

2 ¼ c. flour
½ t. baking soda
½ t. ground ginger
½ t. ground cloves
½ t. cinnamon
¼ t. black pepper

Pour corn syrup mixture with dry ingredients. (The dough will be stiff.) Put in plastic bag or container and refrigerate at least one or (or overnight.) Roll out 1/8″ thick, cut out desired shapes and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet at 375° until the edges are golden. Cool on pan.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Add the sugar, corn syrup and the vinegar.

Liquid Ingredients for Pepper Cookies

Bring to a rolling boil, then remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature, then add the beaten egg.

Liquid Ingredients - stir in beaten egg

While corn syrup mixture is cooling, whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

Dough - step 1

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Stir in liquid ingredients into dry ingredients

Stir together just until combined (no mixer needed.) Put in zipper seal bag and refrigerate at least an hour.

Soft Dough

When ready to roll out, divide the dough into 4 portions.

Stiff Dough

Keep the other 3 portions of the dough chilled until ready to roll out. Roll out with a rolling pin on a heavily floured surface (about 1/8” thick.)

Roll Out Dough

Cut diagonally (into diamond shapes) with a Pastry Wheel Cutter with a fluted edge (Or whatever shapes you want!)

Pepper Cookie Dough-step-10

Place on a Parchment Lined Baking Sheet and bake at 375° for approximately 5 -7 minutes or until the edges are just starting to turn golden, Allow to cool on the pan. (They get crispy as they cool!)


We also use this recipe to make “Cookie Guys” for decorating the Christmas Tree!

(As Seen on KUTV Channel 2 – Fresh Living)

CLICK HERE for the link

(When I make Pepper Cookies into Cookie Guys, I usually double the spices to give them a darker color.)




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