gingerbread cookies
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Perníčky – Gingerbread Cookies

Perníčky, the gingerbread cookies. We all know and love them. In the Czech Republic, they are typical not only for Christmas but also Easter.


Curiously enough, the gingerbread cookies often don’t contain any ginger or just very little of it. The Czech name perníčky is derived from the word pepř (= pepper) because pepper used to be a typical ingredient for these cookies. Nowadays, the blend of spices always includes cinnamon, clove and star anis and the following are added (or not): cardamom, star anis, anis, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, orange zest, fennel, javentry mace.

Perníčky are cut out with cookie cutters which you can get in kitchenware stores or at Christmas markets. There are the traditional shapes like star, flower, tree, carp or angel and nowadays you can find cookie cutters in the shape of anything. There are dinosaurs, unicorns, planes, excavators and even teeth.

And you can even create whole scenes with perníčky, like this part of a Nativity Scene:

gingerbread cookies

These cookies are traditionally decorated with white or colored frosting which can be made from egg-white, sugar with lemon or rum or any combination of the aforementioned. Perníčky can also be used as an ingredient in Muzika and it’s also the main part of another traditional Czech Christmas cookies recipe – Modlitbičky.

If you’d like to try cookies with lots of ginger flavor, I recommend the traditional Czech Christmas cookies Zázvorky.

Ingredients and Supplies

(yield: 4 baking trays of cookies)


  • 600 g/21.2 oz of all-purpose flour
  • 200 g/7.1 oz of powder sugar
  • 150 g/5.3 oz of warm honey
  • 2 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 130 g/4.6 oz of butter
  • 6 tsp of gingerbread spice
  • 2 eggs + 1 for glazing
  • optional: 1/2-1 tbsp of cocoa powder for color
  • cookie cutters

Egg white-lemon Icing

  • 200 g/7.1 oz of powder sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice

Rum Icing

  • 2-3 tbsp of Czech rum (Tuzemák, Božkov)
  • 200 g/7.1 oz of powder sugar
  • 1 tbsp of hot water

How to make Gingerbread Cookies (Perníčky)

Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and knead. You can start with a wooden spoon but you’ll have to continue with your hands. At first, it might seem like there’s too much flour but just keep kneading and after some time you’ll see how the flour incorporates. The resulting dough must be nicely brown, firm and without any lumps. If you added some cocoa powder, it might be darker than mine, I don’t like adding it.

Wrap the dough in a plastic foil and let it rest in the fridge for at least two hours.

Roll it out to about 0,5 cm/0.2 in.

Cut the shapes out with a cookie cutter.


Place the shapes on a tray and glaze with egg.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden. Let the gingerbread cookies cool down.

Prepare the icing, I prefer the one made with egg white. Bead the egg white until solid, then whisk in sugar and lemon juice. Fill your decorating set and decorate. As you can see, we use simple bag with a very thin beak but you can use whatever you have and if you don’t have a decorating set, you can even take a wooden stick or a toothpick, dip it in the frosting and paint with it.

gingerbread cookies

Let the frosting dry before eating. Of course, you can skip the decorating if you prefer gingerbread cookies without frosting.gingerbread cookies

In my house, it’s usually the children that decorate the gingerbread cookies.





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