When I’m not busy cooking I am an avid reader. One of my favorite genres is travel history and/or food history. My husband got me several books by Michael Krondl, and I especially loved A Taste of Conquest.
A brief mention of the Venitian cookie pevarino, “the size of a hockey puck”, in it got me so interested I tried to recreate them. I took a batch of my final version to a cooking class that was taught by Mr. Krondl in NYC and he said they were softer and sweeter than the ones he had in Venice. Some day I hope to find my way to a bakery there and try them as they are made traditionally.
A recent read on the English and Dutch history of the spice trade, Nathaniel’s Nutmeg reminded me of this spice heavy cookie, and how much of a treat it would have been when acquiring spices wasn’t as easy as a trip to the local store.
I have found other versions called pevarini, or white pepper cookies, on Italian websites. They sound a bit milder. Mine are full of spices, and actually make your lips tingle from the pepper, so be warned.
1 1/2c flour
1/2c brown sugar
1/2 butter, softened
1t baking soda
1/2c almond slices
1/4c candied ginger, sliced or diced
1T black pepper, ground
1t white pepper, ground
1t cinnamon, ground
1t cumin, ground
1/2t nutmeg, ground
1/4t cardamom, ground
Mix all wet and dry powdery ingredients, then toss in chunky items and shape into large balls.
Flatten on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes or until just starting to crisp. Serve with strong coffee or dessert wines.