Pepper and Spice Cookies
Have you ever been punched in the face?
I’ve never really been a fighter, but after I ate one of these guys, my head did the “jerk back” thing like I just got sucker-punched.
I found this recipe when I was browsing through some of Bill Yosses‘s recipes. If you don’t know who that is, he’s the pastry chef for the White House. I assumed that presidents probably don’t eat crappy cookies so I thought I’d give it a shot.
These cookies are super-flavorful. They are packed full of hidden spices that are almost overpowering.
If you want to say goodbye to wussy cookies, give these a shot!
Pepper and Spice Cookies
Yield: 30 cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 Cups cocoa powder, unsweetened
3/4 Cup brown sugar
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
1 large egg
1 Teaspoon black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick (or 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1 Teaspoon allspice berries (or 1 Teaspoon ground allspice)
1/2 Teaspoon pink peppercorns
1 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
1/8 Teaspoon ground ginger
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground mace (opt.)
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling (opt.)
1) Grind black pepper, cinnamon, and allspice in a spice grinder.
2) Sift spices with all other dry ingredients and set aside.
3) Roughly crunch pink peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or just the back of a knife.
4) In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add pink peppercorns and beat until smooth and light, about 5 minutes.
5) Mix in eggs and vanilla and mix well.
6) Slowly add in dry ingredients and combine until the dough comes together. Try not to over mix it.
7) Scoop dough out onto wax paper and roll into a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter.
8) Chill dough for at least an hour.
9) Slice dough into 1/4 inch cookies and add cookies to baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
10) Bake at 375 degrees for about 7-8 minutes.
11) Move cookies to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes.
Adapted from The Perfect Finish
This recipe has some crazy spices in it. Some of them you might not be familiar with. You can just leave the ones out that you don’t know or have, but I’d really recommend hunting down the more important ones and trying them out.
Especially the allspice and pink peppercorns. They add some really unique flavor to these cookies.
If whole spices like this intimidate you, they shouldn’t. I actually prefer buying whole spices just because they keep way longer than dried spices.
All you need to use them is a reasonably economical spice grinder. You can use your normal coffee grinder, but make sure you clean it out before you try to make coffee next time! If you blend up some white rice in the grinder, it’ll clean it out. Personally, I just picked up an extra grinder that I only use for spices.
Grind up the cinnamon, allspice berries, and black pepper. Leave the pink peppercorns whole for now.
The recipe called for sifting all the dry ingredients. I’ve been known to skip steps like this in recipes, but I decided to go with it this time around. The man makes cookies for Obama, so maybe I should just listen to him.
It only takes a few minutes to sift all your dry ingredients on some wax paper. That just makes it easier to add to the dough later.
Starting the dough
These cookies start like most cookies, by creaming together the butter and sugar until it’s nice and smooth and light. The only difference here is that we’re going to add in those pink peppercorns to the butter mixture!
If you’ve never had pink peppercorns before, they are an incredibly unique taste. They are a bit spicy but also bright and flavorful. Pink peppercorns are softer than the black variety so no need to grind them up. I used my mortar and pestle to just lightly crush them, but you could also use the back of a knife to crush them up a bit.
Then add the butter and sugar to a mixing bowl and beat them together until they’re smooth. You could use a stand mixer or hand mixer for this. Add your pink peppercorns to this and continue to beat it until the mixture is nice and smooth, probably about 5 minutes.
Next, beat in the egg and vanilla and slowly add in the sifted ingredients. Mix it until it’s just combined and try not to over-mix the dough. It should be a somewhat stiff dough.
Rolling the dough
To prepare this dough for cooking, spoon it out onto some wax paper and roll it tightly into a cylinder.
You should let this chill in the fridge for an hour or two before making the cookies, but I went ahead and baked them right away. That’s why mine turned out a bit oblong. They weren’t quite chilled enough for slicing, but they baked up fine.
When you’re ready to make the cookies, unroll the cookie dough and slice it into about 1/4 inch cookies.
Baking the cookies
Add these cookies to a baking sheet (you’ll probably need two) that’s lined with parchment paper. If you want, sprinkle them with some coarse sugar which gives them a nice texture. It’s also pretty.
Bake these at 375 degrees for about 7-8 minutes. They don’t take long and keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!
Once they’re done, move them to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before serving!
Besides the incredible flavor these cookies have, they also have a really nice texture. They are kind of crumbly. They break apart easily and then just kind of dissolve in your mouth.
And then the spices kick in and BAM.
You’re punched in the face.