I am a sucker for black pepper. I started adding it to my favorite extra-gooey chocolate cookies for certain get togethers (these are definitely cookies for the grown-up crowd). Dried cherries offset the spiciness and of course are delish with the dark chocolate. (Base for cookie recipe adapted from Baking and Pastry by the Culinary Institute of America). —Erin McDowell
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper together.
Melt the chocolates and butter together over a double boiler. Remove from the heat and cool slightly (should still be fluid but not too hot).
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together until combined. Increase to medium speed and mix until the mixture is pale and thick, about 4-5 minutes.
Gently fold in the chocolate mixer, and mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients gradually, mixing just to combine. Fold in the cherries and and chocolate chunks.
Scoop the dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet, and press down the dough slightly. Because this cookie is largely made up of melted chocolate, the chocolate begins to set and firm up as the dough sits, so do your best to bake the cookies right away.
Bake in a 350 degree oven until set around the edges (they will still appear very soft in the middle, but will set as they cool), about 10-12 minutes (this is using a large cookie scoop, keep an eye on the first batch depending on how big you're making your cookies). Do not overbake - these cookies are wonderfully ooey-gooey when baked just until set with a crackled surface. Cool on a wire rack.
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.