Paprenjaci – peppery gingerbread cookies

Named after pepper, a spice that was very expensive and rare in the past, paprenjaci are an indigenous Croatian as well as Zagreb pastry, as described by August Šenoa in his renowned novel "Zlatarevo zlato". Today, paprenjaci have become of the most well-known tourist souvenirs of Zagreb, with numerous guests from all over the world taking them home as a pleasant and tasty memento of Zagreb.


Ingredients for 40-50 pieces

For the dough:
400 g                     all-purpose flour
120 g of                 pure lard
150g                      granulated sugar
½ teaspoon            minced cinnamon
½ teaspoon            ground cloves
½ teaspoon            grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon            ground black pepper
1 pinch of               salt
130 g                     ground walnuts
1                            egg
2                            egg yolks
90 g of                   honey
grated zest of one orange


Also:
Flour for work surface

Preparation:
Sift strong and plain flour in a suitable bowl, add ground walnuts, nutmeg, powdered cinnamon, ground cloves, freshly ground pepper, baking soda and orange zest. Mix well. Then add lard and mix the mass well until it becomes grainy. Next, add a whole egg, two yolks and honey. Mix the ingredients well using a cooking spoon. Move the mixture to a worktop, knead the dough and shape it into a ball. Wrap it in cling wrap and leave to rest for 60 minutes in a cool place. When rested, flour the dough and roll it to a thickness of about 0.5 cm on a floured board. Flour the relief moulds used for shaping the paprenjaci and press the desired relief shapes into the dough. Thus decorated, cut the dough into appropriately sized squares, move them to a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake for 25 minutes in an oven preheated to 200 °C. Cool the baked paprenjaci before serving.