Inspired by the chapter “Pig and Pepper” in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland in which the Duchess’ angry cook makes a soup of pepper, pepper, pepper! and throws pots and pans around. In lieu of making pepper soup, I thought these intriguing cookies, introduced to me by my cousin Joe (thanks, Joe!) who found the recipe from James Thresher in The Washington Post, would be perfect for any Wonderland gathering. And let’s remember, when asked what tarts are made of, Cook responded “pepper mostly” and so, it’s a matter of course that if asked what cookies are made of, she’d say the same.
Cook’s Pepper Cookies
- 8 Tbsp. Butter, room temperature
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp. Ground White Pepper
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. Ground Cayenne
- 1 Egg, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp. Milk
- 2 Cups Flour
- Medium Grind Black Pepper (optional)
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Dark Chocolate (I used 70% cacao)
In a large bowl, mix the butter & sugar until fully incorporated & fluffy. Add the baking powder & spices on low speed & then add in the egg & milk. Next, add in the flour, a little at a time, continuing to mix on low, until everything is incorporated & a nice dough forms. Divide the dough in half &, wraping both halves in plastic wrap, shape them into chunky logs about 6″ long (optional: If you have an empty paper towel roll/tube, slice it open up one side & place the logs inside; this will help them keep their shape. If you’re not able to do this, it’s no big deal). Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 4 hours or over night (I put mine in the freezer for maybe an hour & a half).
Heat your oven to 375ºF. Stack 2 large trays together & line the top with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge &, using a large sharp knife, slice the logs into 1/4″ thick discs (reshaping as needed). Place the discs about 1″ apart on the tray & sprinkle them with a little course ground black pepper (optional). Bake for about 8-9 minutes or until their bottoms are just beginning to brown. Let them cool for a minute & then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
In a small heat proof bowl, melt the chocolate in your microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth (add a teeny tiny amount of EZ-Dipping Aide/paramount crystals or canola oil or crisco to make the chocolate more smooth if needed). Dip a portion of each cookie into the chocolate, however you’d like to design it; 1/3, 1/2, all sides, etc, & then lay them on a sheet of parchment for the chocolate to harden. Store in an airtight container with waxed or parchment paper between the cookie layers.