black pepper chocolate cookies

styling by Catrine Kelty | photo by Keller + Keller

Black pepper and chocolate work really well together in savory dishes, so it’s no surprise that it’s a great combination in sweet treats too. These cookies are similar to a shortbread cookie, not too sweet, and have a subtle hint of heat from the pepper. Cut them into playful game shapes to match the theme of the night’s festivities.

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg white, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. In a medium bowl, combine whole-wheat pastry flour, espresso powder, black pepper, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. Using a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder mixture and mix again. Add egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, and mix until combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  5. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough out until 1/4-inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut dough into shapes and place on prepared baking sheet. Roll out remaining dough and continue until all of it is used. Bake for 7-8 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 18-24 cookies (depending on size of cutters).