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Lisa Williams | Central Texas EC

With a brownielike texture, deep chocolate flavor and surprising undercurrent of heat, these cookies are the perfect ending to a Mexican-inspired meal. Williams suggests rolling the uncooked rounds in festive colors of sanding sugar, or rolling them out and using cookie cutters (like sombreros or flowers) for special occasions.

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coarse (or kosher) salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract
2 cups white chocolate chips (melted according to package directions), for drizzling

1. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper into a large bowl and set aside.

2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix on low until combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix slowly, until just combined.

3. Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment, waxed paper or plastic wrap, and roll into a 2-inch-diameter log, sealing the ends. Refrigerate the dough at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

4. When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

5. Remove the chilled dough from the wrap, place the log on a cutting board and slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Top each cookie with a light sprinkle of freshly ground pepper then drizzle with melted white chocolate. Bake cookies 10–12 minutes, until the edges are lightly crisp.

6. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for 7 days.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Cook’s Tip

The white chocolate will darken and crack if applied before baking. For a lighter icing, pipe it on after the cookies have baked and cooled. For a spicier cookie, Williams suggests substituting cayenne for black pepper (in the dough only, not sprinkled on top of cookies).

September 2018 Recipe Contest