I don’t know about you, but I like having a little trick with my treat. And this, is a good one.
You know that orange spice up there? Guess what it is.
Okay fine. Let’s back up. You can tell what is in the next photo right?
That’s right, chocolate. And, from the this photo, I bet you can guess where we are going (any references to the movie the Sandbox will be completely ignored. This isn’t that kind of trick).
Returning to the orange stuff. Have you guessed what it is yet? Give up? It’s cayenne pepper. Yes. With chocolate. And, it makes another appearance below with sugar and a pinch of fleur de sel. Before refrigerating or freezing, the log of dough above gets a nice roll in this stuff.
Followed by a nice wrap. Here, I’ve split a paper towel tube down the middle, wrapped the dough in parchment and then placed it in its little dough cozy to help keep its shape. Yes, I realize this is something your grandmother might do. It is surprisingly effective. If you can remember to save the paper towel tubes that is.
You want to give the dough at least a couple of hours in the fridge. Like most “icebox” cookies, this dough will save nicely in the freezer for a couple of months. When ready to use, cut 1/4 disks with a sharp knife.
Remember the trick? Well. The cayenne sort of grows on you as the cookie is nibbled. You won’t notice it at first. However, slowly the heat will develop until you decide it’s a really good idea to chase it with a sip of a nice, light red wine. Trick-or treat indeed!
Colin Hay. Without his working men.
Chocolate Cayenne Cocktail Cookies
adapted from Food and Wine, November 2011
the original calls for neither the spicy sugar roll or mini chocolate chips, revert at your own risk
- 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
- 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder (TMH note:use Valhrona. Trust me)
- 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp fleur de sel, finely ground
- 1/2 lb butter
- 1/2 C confectioner’s sugar
- 2 TBS granulated sugar + more for rolling
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 C mini chocolate chips
- Sift flour, cocoa, first 1/2 tsp cayenne and first 1/2 tsp salt into a bowl, whisk to combine.
- In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter with both sugars at low speed until creamy. Add in the egg yolk and beat until smooth. Reduce speed to low and add-in flour mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead gently until it comes together. Then, gently roll dough into a log (mine was about 1 1/2 inch diameter and 15 inches long). I find that roughly forming a log and then gently rolling it back and forth along a sheet of parchment works well. In a small bowl pour sugar for rolling. Start by adding 1/8 tsp fleur de sel and 1/8 tsp cayenne. Mix into the sugar and taste. Adjust spice as needed. Sprinkle parchment with sugar mixture and roll the dough log over and gently press the sugar into the log all the way around. Roll in parchment and cool in fridge at least 2 hours. If you are planning to freeze the dough, wrap securely in plastic wrap and then a freezer bag and freeze on an even, flat surface.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut log into disks 1/4 inch thick. Arrange on cookie sheets (you should get about 24).
- Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Cookies are ready when they appear just firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for at least 3 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.