My roommate’s last name is Pepper. In honor of his birthday, I made “chocolate and pepper” cookies.
Yes, that is right, pepper. Black pepper—as in the thing you usually associate with salt. Pepper, as in cayenne pepper, the red spice where a little goes a long way. Yes, pepper, as in chocolate and pepper, together, baked in a cookie.
This particular cookie recipe comes from a darling little cookbook that I bought for $5 at a half-price bookstore. Great find. It is called Cookies: Irresistible recipes for cookies, bars, squares, and slices by Pippa Cuthbert and Lindsay Cameron Wilson. I got sucked into buying the book due to the pictures and cuteness of all the cookies.
There is really something about a good, crumbly butter cookie that just falls apart on your tongue, slowly melting, the flavor lingering in your mouth, clinging to your taste buds.
These chocolate and pepper cookies only call for a touch of black pepper and a pinch of cayenne. When you first take a bite, you can really taste the chocolaty buttery goodness; it reminds me a bit of chocolate mousse, only in cookie form…Swallow. Wait a second. Ok, right there. Whew. Spicy. As JoytheBaker always says, “Hot Dang! These are good!”
Paired with some milky Mexican hot chocolate or coffee, mmm mmm mmm! ¡Ay, caramba!
Now I will leave you with a great quote that sums up my weekend pretty nicely:
“Good conversation is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.”
--Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Chocolate and Pepper Cookies
Adapted from Cookies
Makes about 20-30 (depending on how thick you slice them and how much batter you eat!!)
**Note: scant means that you do not have to be super exact. No need to level off with a knife; you want it to slightly overflow over the top of the cup measurer.
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
¾ cup confectioners (aka powdered) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
scant 2 cups all purpose flour
scant ½ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
optional: 2-3 Tbsp demerara sugar, for rolling (I opted out of doing this step but it would have added a nice yummy texture…)
• Cream the butter and confectioners sugar for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy. (I just used a fork to mix it all up). Add the vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
• Sift the flour, cocoa powder, black pepper, and cayenne together. Add to the butter mixture and stir until smooth.
• Tip the dough onto a work surface and shape into a log (they suggested a 6 inch long log, mine was much long, it just depends on your preference—bigger thinner cookies or smaller fatter ones…).
• Roll the log in demerara sugar, if using, pressing gently so the sugar will adhere. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for about 1 hour. **Alternatively, tightly wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator before slicing and baking.
• Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly grease.
• Slice the log into ¼ inch thick slices (mine were more like ½ inch slices...). Place on the baking sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool.
Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.