I finally came across a recipe for Spice Sugar Cookies. Black pepper? Cayenne? Now that's more like it! Being a connoisseur of the chocolate chip cookie (and having the recipe floating about in my head), I started to look over the recipe with a closer eye. Things were looking good until I hit the salt. That seemed like a lot. I figured I should check out the reviews, of which there were two. One loved it, the other...thought it tasted like Playdoh. Hmm. Not exactly what I was going for. So I made a few revisions and here's the finished product.
I love this cookie. So dainty and unassuming. They're dense and not overly sweet, almost like a soft shortbread. Only about halfway through you start to realize that your mouth is starting to burn in a way that should not be connected to cookies. Good thing milk was made for cookiedom and will neutralize that capsaicin (the substance in peppers that sets your mouth on fire). I also thought it could use a bit more flavor, so I tried out a glaze on them too. The review from the test kitchen? Devoured. There seems to be division over the glaze vs. not glazed, so I think next time I'll make half and half. And there will be a next time, oh yes.
NOTE: This was my first experience with fresh ginger. I've used the ground kind several times and while I don't hate it, it's not my favorite. Obviously I didn't have fresh when researching this recipe so I looked up the conversion. Turns out there isn't one; they're totally different flavors. And they are! Fresh ginger packs a sharpness which is marvelous. And it turns out you can freeze it. So I recommend picking up a small nub and throwing it in a sandwich bag in your freezer. I'm looking forward to experimenting with it more.
Spicy Surprise Cookies
Yield: Makes 5 dozen
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons fine sea salt - overfull
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup shortening
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon finely minced peeled fresh ginger
- Glaze (optional)
Mix flour, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper in medium bowl. Beat butter, shortening and sugar in large bowl with a mixer until well blended (you could probably do it by hand if you prefer). Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and ginger. Add dry ingredients and beat just until blended. Form dough into ball. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate at least 2 hours (up to 1 day).
Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide the chilled dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough between palms of hands and floured work surface to form 1 1/4-inch-diameter log. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Unflavored floss or thread works well if the dough is still a little soft. Place on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake cookies until set but still pale, about 12 - 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Glaze if desired.
Spicy Lemon Glaze
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 c powdered sugar
- ground black pepper to taste
Whisk together lemon juice, corn syrup, ginger; add powdered sugar. You can add more or less, depending on the desired consistency. Pepper to taste.
If you don’t want to use lemon juice, you can use water or milk as well. Probably any liquid now that I think about it. I sense more experiments in the future.
Dip tops of cooled cookies or drizzle glaze over them. Just make sure they’re on a wire rack with wax paper (or other table protector) beneath it to catch glaze drippings. If the glaze starts to separate while dipping, whisk it back together. Let the glaze set and enjoy!