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
1 1/4cups all-purpose flour
1/2cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4cup packed brown sugar
1/4cup granulated sugar
1teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4teaspoon fine sea salt
1cup finely chopped chocolate or mini chocolate chips
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. 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.
Makes 36 cookies. 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.