The first time I made these cookies years ago, I thought they were genius – a chocolate wafer cookie with cayenne and black pepper? Yes, please!
And when I made them again this weekend, I remembered how much I loved them. They have a deep chocolate flavor with a heat that sneaks up on you; you’ll be starting on your second cookie before you begin to notice that things are getting warm!
You can make these with as much or as little heat as you want; you also have a couple of options on baking them. You can either flatten them as described in the recipe, or you can leave them in rounded scoops and then toss them in powdered sugar after they come out of the oven, to end up with a softer, sweeter cookie.
adapted from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1/8 t. black pepper (or more!)
1/8 t. cayenne pepper (or more!)
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 large egg
3/4 c. natural cocoa powder
1 1/2 c. AP flour
sprinkling sugar or powdered sugar, if desired
Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking sheets with parchment.
Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla, spices, and salt. Beat in the egg. Stir in cocoa and flour; it will be a very, very stiff dough.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets (they won’t spread, so feel free to get them pretty close to each other!) and flatten with a drinking glass dipped in sugar to about 1/4″ (or leave rounded to toss in powdered sugar as described above). Sprinkle with sanding sugar if desired.
Bake for 10 minutes; they won’t look done necessarily, but they are! Transfer to a rack to cool.