Saturday, 12 January 2008

Piparkökur: Icelandic Pepper Cookies

This is my version of an Icelandic recipe that I have in my collection for some extremely moreish spiced biscuits. Traditionally they are made for Christmas, but they're so good with their crispy honeycomb texture and warm fragrance, they'd go well with a cup of freshly brewed coffee, anytime.

You could decorate them with icing, if making them for a festive occasion, but they're perfectly fine left plain. In fact, I tend to find the icing can eventually make the biscuits go a little soft, which, perhaps, is not so desirable.

The recipe is sufficient to make a lot of biscuits ( I didn't count the final number – sorry) so you will have to bake them in several batches. Just store them in an airtight container and they'll keep fresh for quite a long time – that's if they're not eaten in a flash!

250g plain flour
2 and half teaspoons baking powder
1 and half teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
half teaspoon ground cinnamon
half teaspoon ground cardamom
quarter teaspoon ground nutmeg
quarter teaspoon ground cloves
quarter teaspoon ground black pepper
eighth teaspoon paprika
250g light brown muscovado sugar
125g butter, softened
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Sieve together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices into a bowl and then mix in the sugar.

Add the butter and rub it through the flour mixture with your fingers until it becomes completely combined and sandy in texture.

Add the beaten egg and work in to form a dough. If the mixture seems too dry and doesn't want to come together, you'll have to crack another egg and add some more beaten egg, a little at a time. You may only need half the egg.

Wrap the dough in some cling film and put it in the fridge overnight to firm up.

To roll out the dough, place a large piece of cling film on your work surface and lightly dust with flour, put a quarter of the dough on it and place another sheet of cling film over the top, now roll out quite thinly. Peel back the cling film and use a cutter to cut into cookies shapes. Use a cutter that you think will be slightly smaller than you need as the dough spreads as it heats up in the oven.

Carefully peel off the cut pieces and place on to a flat, lightly greased, non-stick baking sheet. The cookies need to be well spaced to allow for them to grow.
Repeat with the other three pieces of dough and continue to cook in batches.

Bake at Gas 6 / 200C / 400F until dark brown.


Anonymous said...

Great recipe. I am from Iceland and wanted a little taste from home and these cookies did the trick for me and my daughter. I did not have Cardamom and my grocery store does not carry any so I skipped it and added a little more cloves instead. I also used regular brown sugar instead of the Muscovado sugar. They came out great, thin and crunchy with the tingeling spice taste, perfect with milk or coffee. Thank you so much for this recipe.

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