I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while, since my enthusiasm for festive food got the best of me far before it was acceptable, but the tightness of my jeans indicates it is time.
These little darlings are based on traditional Croatian Christmas biscuits – the inclusion of black pepper sounds a little odd but it gives a subtle warmth to the biscuits, which are similar to gingerbread and have a comforting softness to them.
As I inherited a slight walnut allergy from my mother, along with sturdy thighs and a love of food, I switched out the traditional walnuts in favour of pecans. I also used a tiny squirrel cutter instead of the wooden moulds they’d be made with in Croatia, because the tiny squirrel was too cute to resist.
Makes 40 biscuits
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground black pepper
- First up, pop your pecans into a food processor and blast them until as finely chopped as you can get ’em. Transfer into a bowl and set aside.
- Pop the flour and butter into the processor and blitz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and chunks of butter have disappeared. Add the pecans and combine.
- Add the remaining ingredients and process until the mixture starts to come together.
- Tip the mixture out onto a clean surface, press together, and knead until it becomes a smooth ball. Split into two discs, wrap in cling film, and chill for a couple of hours.
- When chilled, roll out the dough to about 6mm thick between two layers of greaseproof paper – the dough is sticky but don’t add flour. Heat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
- Bake the biscuits for 10-15 minutes, until the edges just start to turn golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.