Monday, December 9, 2013

Pepper Biscuits

Last night I took myself off to bed with every Scandinavian inspired (and one Viennese) cookbook I could find on my shelf (5) in an effort to define what a pepperkaker might be and how it differs from lebkuchen. As far as I can tell pepperkaker (google translate tells me it's a ginger biscuit) should have pepper and ginger where as lebkuchen don't. Otherwise there seems to be a lot of crossover.

I was curious because - well because that's the sort of thing that interests me these days - and I wanted to investigate the provenance of Nigella's Christmas decoration biscuits in 'How To Be A Domestic Goddess' (still my favourite and most used baking book). They don't have ginger, though they could if you wanted them too, but they do have pepper so Pepper Biscuits it is (Christmas decorations don't sound edible and these are delicious).

For the last few years I haven't bothered with a Christmas tree due to never being around to look at one and really hating taking them down - January needs sparkle even more than December does. This year though I have my hazel twig which I feel I can leave out a long as I like (the biscuits will be binned in a timely fashion though).

Nigella's Christmas biscuits

300g plain flour, a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 a teaspoon of mixed spice, 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon (or add some ginger), a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper, 100g unsalted butter, 100g of dark muscovado sugar, 2 eggs and up to 4 table spoons of runny honey.

Mix all the dry ingredients together then add the butter and blitz, chuck in the eggs and a couple of spoons of honey, if the mix binds nicely there's no need to add more honey, if it's still a bit dry then do. Chill for at least half an hour then roll out quite thin. Heat the oven to gas 3 or 170 degrees C. Cut out shapes (not forgetting to poke holes if they're going to be threaded) and bake for about 15 mins. Cool and decorate. What I'd forgotten about biscuit decorations is how amazing they smell.  

1 comment:

  1. I can almost smell these - gorgeous. I am a *terrible* decorator - a combination of overly grand ambitions and very unsteady hands. Fortunately I work with people who will eat anything.