When the ancient Mayans and Aztecs cooked with chocolate, spices such as pepper, chiles and other savories were added. In Chocolate Pepper Cookies, we combine our modern view of chocolate as a sweet with the old savory.

These make a firm dough, that sliced becomes a wonderful cookie, most well served to adults as children don’t really appreciate the peppery flavor. Adults adore them.

Chocolate Pepper Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Spicy, sweet and rich, these cookies are for grown-up palates.
Recipe type: Snacks
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 3 1/2 dozen
  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided use
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder *
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
  • 1 1/2 Cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons coarse sugar
  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cinnamon and cardamom.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Gradually stir in flour mixture until just incorporated.
  3. Using parchment paper to avoid sticking, roll dough into two long logs about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap, refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.
  4. Stir together coarse sugar and pepper. Unwrap logs and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Line cookie rounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Dust with sugar-pepper mixture.
  5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until cookies are set in the middle. Allow to cool before serving.
* Do not substitute instant coffee. You really need instant espresso for this. If unavailable, just omit.

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