Thursday, January 27, 2011

Black Pepper Cookies

Let's have a show of hands of those of you who have either made, or had the pleasure of eating a handful of warm Black Pepper Cookies before. . hmmm, a few. .well, the rest of you are missing out on a treat because these buttery, light sugar cookies, with just a touch of heat are addicting.  Plus, they are easy to make!

First, cream 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened, and 1 cup of granulated sugar in a mixing bowl.

Add 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract (I use vanilla paste, but the liquid is fine too).  Beat until thoroughly blended.

Obviously, there are some steps not photographed, but I kept getting telephone calls, and I can only multi-task so much, and my social secretary has taken an extended vacation. .I'm having to rough it.

Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper (buy a tin of the finest grind you can find. If you grind up peppercorns, or use a purchased coarse grind, it will be too strong and overpower the flavor of the cookie.), and 2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour.

Beat until all is well blended.  Can you see the flecks in the dough?  Some of those are from the vanilla paste, but others are black pepper.  Can you tell the difference?  If you have finicky eaters, you can always just tell them that those are vanilla bean specks, and clue them in after they have eaten a few cookies.

Roll dough into 1/4 inch size balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I use non-stick foil for easier clean-up).

Pour about 1/4 cup of granulated sugar into a cereal bowl or onto a saucer. Dip the flat bottom of a glass into the sugar, and flatten each dough ball, sugaring the glass before flattening each cookie.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8 - 11 minutes, or until lightly brown on the edges. Do not overbake.  Remove to wire racks to cool.   Makes approximately 5 1/2 dozen cookies.

If you want to dress these up for holiday baking, add some colored sugar to the saucer, or you can even add some food color paste to the dough. 

I hope that you enjoy these delightful little cookies!