Once cooled, store in an air-tight container. The flavor infuses and intensifies, they are much better a few days later! (up to 10 days) Enjoy! Or, leave on a plate for Santa Claus, of course. (or Djed Mraz in Croatia) Sretan Božić
In a food processor, blitz the walnuts to a medium/fine dust. Not too fine, but not too many small chunks of walnuts either.
Add the sugar, ground walnuts, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, a pinch of salt, and zest of a lemon (or orange) to a large mixing bowl with the flour.
Mix until everything is well dispersed.
In a small bowl, mix the softened butter and lard (or shortening) together, by hand, with a spatula until evenly blended and smooth.
Place the butter/lard mixture into the large bowl with the flour mixture.
Using your clean, dry hands, cut the butter/lard into the flour mixture, using your fingers, until it resembles fine crumbles.
Add 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks.
Add the honey and mix with your hand until well blended.
Place the mixture onto a silicone mat on your workspace, and knead the mixture together to form a ball.
Wrap in plastic wrap, and leave to chill and rest in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 hours.
Remove from the fridge, let sit at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes.
Cut the ball of dough in half, cover and place one half back into the refrigerator while you work.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Carefully roll out one rectangle about 5 times as wide and the same length as your traditional Croatian Paprenjak mold. (or other cookie press you might have instead) See link in the blog for source.
Using the mold, make imprints in the dough, and neatly cut them out. (You can use a fluted pastry cutter if you have on, or a straight edge knife will do fine)
Lift the cut cookies carefully one by one, and place on the lined cookie sheet (s).
Repeat with the second half of the dough.
If this process has taken some time, and the dough seems really soft, put the trays of uncooked cookies into the refrigerator to chill and harden again.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 -12 minutes, or until just barely golden brown. Edges and bottoms will turn, but the tops should be slightly golden to ensure crispness. Watch closely! It’s a fine line between golden and BURNT. (I learned this the hard way)
Remove from oven, and immediately slide the parchment and cookies to wire rack to cool completely.