We tend to think of black pepper as a savory seasoning, but it also has a sweet side. No, pepper itself doesn't taste sweet, but its trademark bite does pair well with sweet ingredients.
So for this cookie we used black pepper in a richly sweet and buttery sable (pronounced SAH-bley), the French cousin of more traditional shortbread cookies. And while we usually bemoan the trend in recipe writing to call ONLY for freshly ground black pepper, this is a case where you'll want to grind it just before using it. It is, after all, the star ingredient.
CHOCOLATE PEPPER SABLE
Start to finish: 30 minutes
Makes 36 cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup finely chopped chocolate or mini chocolate chips
Heat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, pepper and baking soda.
In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla and salt. Add in the dry mixture to the butter-sugar blend, then mix just until a dough forms. Mix in the chocolate chips.
Roll the mixture into 36 small balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them. Use a flat-bottomed glass to gently press and flatten the cookies on the baking sheet.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until no longer wet looking. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Nutrition information per cookie: 100 calories; 50 calories from fat (50 percent of total calories); 5 g fat (3.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 1 g protein; 35 mg sodium.