Prep time: 15 minutes plus chill time
Cook time: 10 minutes per batch
Makes 4 dozen cookies
Pepper with chocolate may sound weird, but these are great icebox cookies. Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.
The food coloring is optional; without it the cookies are chocolate brown.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably dark chocolate, such as Hershey's Special Dark
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon black food coloring, optional
Coarse sanding sugar, for rolling
Whisk the flour, cocoa, salt, pepper, espresso powder and cinnamon together in a large bowl; set aside.
In another bowl, mix butter and granulated sugar together on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in egg, vanilla and food coloring (beware of splashing the food coloring). Add flour-cocoa mixture; mix until combined.
Place dough onto a piece of parchment paper, and shape into a 2-inch-diameter log. Roll log in the parchment. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove log from paper. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature, about 5 minutes. Roll log in sanding sugar, gently pressing down to adhere sugar to dough. Transfer dough 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 black pepper.
Bake cookies until there is slight resistance when you lightly touch centers, about 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool completely.