Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chocolate Black Pepper Cookies

November is National Pepper Month. I know there are a lot of different varieties of peppercorns. Each origin of the world produces pepper with different aromas and flavors—just like coffee beans and chocolate. For my first "Pepper" recipe of the month, I thought I'd start with Black Pepper (and there are many different varieties of black pepper, too).  I don't usually use a lot of black pepper in my baking. I'm more likely to use salt--sea salt, pink salt, kosher salt, etc, to bring out the flavors.

But, there is one cookie recipe that contains pepper that is one of my favorites: Martha Stewart's Chocolate Black Pepper Cookies. The pepper flavor really comes through. One of the tricks in this recipe is to have a fine grind. There's nothing like taking a bite of cookie and having a big chunk of black pepper to dull your palette and having you coughing. To grind my pepper, I use an old wooden pepper mill my sister brought back from Sweden over 30 years ago. Perfect! Try these cookies! You'll love them.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground pepper, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon good-quality instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sweet butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Coarse sanding sugar, for rolling

1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, espresso powder, and cinnamon into a large bowl; set aside.
2. Put butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined.
3. Turn out dough onto a piece of parchment paper, and roll into a 2-inch-diameter log. Roll log in the parchment. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove log from parchment paper. Let soften slightly at room temperature, about 5 minutes. Roll log in sanding sugar, gently pressing down to adhere sugar to dough. Transfer log to a cutting board, and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 1 inch apart. Sprinkle each round with freshly ground pepper.
5. Bake cookies until there is slight resistance when you lightly touch centers, about 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.

Thank you, Martha! Thank you, Black Pepper!


Bobbi Mumm said...

If you say so, Janet... I have only had the experience of Pfefferneuse (Peppernuts). I hope the chocolate gives it something that the other black-pepper sweets are lacking. However, I do trust you completely. ;-)

Janet Rudolph said...

Oh can I live up to that. What a burden. Actually the pepper is subtle, as long as it's a fine grind. I have added a bit more, but I like the bite..

choco said...

I love it!

~~louise~~ said...

I'm with Bobbi. It sure is an intriguing combination, Janet. I'd LOVE to give it a try!!!

Thanks for sharing & Happy Pepper Month!