These spicy Italian Piparelli are a traditional cookie. Piparelli cookies are favored in Messina, Sicily, during Lent when Catholics are supposed to make a sacrifice or give something up. These cookies have very little fat and only use egg whites but they are so delicious that they can be found year round.
Preheat oven to 180C/375F and line baking tray with paper.
Using a stand mixer or by hand, beat butter with brown sugar and honey. Add one egg white and mix well.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and pepper. Stir into butter mixture until combined and no longer sticky. Mix in orange peel and almonds.
Turn onto floured surface. Knead briefly and lightly.
Divide dough into 3 even portion. Form into logs about 20cm/8in long and 2.5cm/1in thick. Place on line baking tray allowing room to spread a little. Beat remaining egg white a little then use it to brush the tops of the logs.
Bake in preheated oven 25 minutes or until firm to touch.
Remove from oven and cool to 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 160C/325F.
Slice as thinly as you can (about 3mm/1/8in) and lay on baking sheets.
Return to oven for 15-20 minutes to dry out. They will crisp as they cool so don't overbake them.