Croatian Cooking: How To Make Croatian Paprenjaci (Black Pepper Cookies)

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Croatian Cooking: How To Make Croatian Paprenjaci (Black Pepper Cookies)

Peparenjaci are something like a Croatian version of gingerbread cookies but with lots of black pepper as one of the main ingredients.

The history of paprenjak dates back to the Renaissance, and was mentioned by August Šenoa, famous Croatian author,  in his “Zlatarevo zlato.” Nowadays they are becoming more and more valuable and a Croatian symbol and one of the most popular souvenirs you can take home with you.

Croatian Cooking_Black Pepper Cookies Recipe


The recipe for these tasty cookies is straightforward, but when you combine together flour, walnuts, and honey with aromatic spices and pepper, you get something so unique and special that I think it’s really worth getting your kitchen messy for!

They are usually made at Christmas time although as a souvenir you can buy them in souvenir shops all year long. One of the main characteristics is that wooden mold which is used for shaping and which you can also buy as a souvenir.

They are best if made at least 10-15 days before eating as they get better and better while stored in an airtight container.

It seems good to mention that there are two different types od Paprenjak, one is from Hvar, and it doesn’t contain black pepper, and the other is from Zagreb, where pepper is what makes them so special.

How To Make Paprenjaci Recipe 28

Paprenjak Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 250 g  sugar
  • 250 g honey
  • 250 g butter
  • 1 tablespoon pork fat
  • 450 g walnuts
  • 1 kg flour
  • 3 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs of nutmeg
  • 1 ts ground pepper
  • 5-6 pieces of crushed or ground cloves
  • 1 pinch of cardamom
  • 1 lemon peel

Whisk the butter and pork fat till it becomes foamy, add the other ingredients, and then the flour, little by little. Mix the dough out of that mixture until it starts to fall off your fingers (it will take some time, but it pays off).

Allow the dough to rest for 2 hours in the refrigerator, wrapped in cling film.

Roll the dough over the parchment paper you put up and down so it doesn’t stick to the surface and so you don’t have to add more flour, to the thickness of 1/2 cm thick, then using wooden molds or using a glass, or various other small cookie cutters, cut the cookies.

If you have the wooden mold, gently press it over the dough, so it shapes the different textures. Use the knife to cut out the cookies as the wooden mold doesn’t cut them all the way trough.

Stack them in a greased and dusted pan and bake over a moderate heat of 180°c. When they turn “golden,” they are done, it usually takes around 10-15 minutes.

Store them in cookies pot or any other airtight container for at least 10 days before serving.

How To Make Paprenjaci Recipe 27

Tasty Croatian Recipes & Cooking Tips


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