Paprenjak (Paprenjaci) – Traditional Croatian Honey and Black Pepper Biscuits
3 hours, 30 minutes
3 hours, 41 minutes
Once cooled, store in an air-tight container. The flavor infuses and intensifies, they are much better a few days later! (up to 10 days)
Enjoy! Or, leave on a plate for Santa Claus, of course. (or Djed Mraz in Croatia)
- 3 1/4 cups (400 g) All-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup/1 stick (107g) salted butter, softened (room temperature)
- 1 tbsp lard (13g) or vegetable shortening
- 3/4 cup (150 g) white sugar
- 1/2 cup (70 g) honey
- 1 large egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 1/4 cups (130 g) ground walnuts
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- Pinch of salt
- Zest of one lemon (or orange)
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.
- In a food processor, blitz the walnuts to a medium/fine dust. Not too fine, but not too many small chunks of walnuts either.
- Add the sugar, ground walnuts, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, a pinch of salt, and zest of a lemon (or orange) to a large mixing bowl with the flour.
- Mix until everything is well dispersed.
- In a small bowl, mix the softened butter and lard (or shortening) together, by hand, with a spatula until evenly blended and smooth.
- Place the butter/lard mixture into the large bowl with the flour mixture.
- Using your clean, dry hands, cut the butter/lard into the flour mixture, using your fingers, until it resembles fine crumbles.
- Add 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks.
- Add the honey and mix with your hand until well blended.
- Place the mixture onto a silicone mat on your workspace, and knead the mixture together to form a ball.
- Wrap in plastic wrap, and leave to chill and rest in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 hours.
- Remove from the fridge, let sit at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Cut the ball of dough in half, cover and place one half back into the refrigerator while you work.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Carefully roll out one rectangle about 5 times as wide and the same length as your traditional Croatian Paprenjak mold. (or other cookie press you might have instead) See link in the blog for source.
- Using the mold, make imprints in the dough, and neatly cut them out. (You can use a fluted pastry cutter if you have on, or a straight edge knife will do fine)
- Lift the cut cookies carefully one by one, and place on the lined cookie sheet (s).
- Repeat with the second half of the dough.
- If this process has taken some time, and the dough seems really soft, put the trays of uncooked cookies into the refrigerator to chill and harden again.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 -12 minutes, or until just barely golden brown. Edges and bottoms will turn, but the tops should be slightly golden to ensure crispness. Watch closely! It’s a fine line between golden and BURNT. (I learned this the hard way)
- Remove from oven, and immediately slide the parchment and cookies to wire rack to cool completely.