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Gingerbread Pepper Cookies (Pierniki)
1 hour Plus chilling and cooling
Poland's honey-based gingerbread is heavily spiced. To replicate that and get the most flavor from our spices, we infused them into the honey. This both drew out their flavors and distributed them more evenly through the cookies. A dark, robust honey stands up nicely to the intensity of the spices and the nuttiness of the rye flour. Our favorite was buckwheat honey, which has notes of molasses. Clover honey worked well, too, but avoid honeys with a distinct floral sweetness, such as orange blossom and wildflower. Traditional pierniki dough is aged for days or even weeks, but we opted to chill the dough for only two hours or up to overnight; if time allows, bake the cookies the day before serving, as their flavor improves with resting. These can be decorated several ways. Rolling the dough balls in turbinado sugar before baking creates a pretty, crackled appearance. Alternatively, you can drizzle the baked and cooled cookies with an espresso glaze that pairs well with the spices.
grams (¾ cup) buckwheat or clover honey
tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
01In a small saucepan over medium, combine the honey, butter, pepper, cinnamon, ground ginger and cardamom. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then transfer to a medium bowl. Let cool until warm, 20 to 30 minutes.
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