South African Chocolate Pepper Cookies

By Food52
November 23, 2015
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Author Notes: Text and recipe from Where Flavor Was Born by Andreas Viestad (Chronicle, 2007).

"I grew addicted to chocolate pepper cookies when I was staying in Cape Town while writing this book. The addition of a generous amount of coarsely ground black pepper gives the cookies real attitude and a nice peppery flavor: At the same time, the pepper also works as a flavor enhancer, so the cookies actually taste more chocolatey.

"The secret is to find the right balance between sweet chocolate and pungent pepper. I like the cookies rather on the peppery side. Start by adding a little pepper and make one small batch to sample, then add more pepper to taste."

Makes: 40 cookies
Prep time: 1 hrs
Cook time: 15 min

  • 1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped and divided
  • 12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Melt 8 ounces of the chocolate and set aside.
  2. Beat the butter until light and airy. Add the sugar and beat until completely incorporated into butter.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift or whisk the flour and baking soda. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to to butter mixture little by little, until just incorporated.
  5. Mix the melted chocolate into the butter mixture. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate and the ground pepper. Cover and refrigerate until dough is cool and firm.
  6. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or grease generously).
  7. Drop the batter by the tablespoonful onto the baking sheet, about 1 inch apart on sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until crisp on outside but still chewy inside.

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