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Holiday cookies: Chocolate pepper sable

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 12:01 am

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 cookies

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.

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; and 35 mg sodium.