There’s a real cold weather feel to these cookies. They’re dark, spicy, and rich, but also slightly dry, like biscotti. Just the kind of thing you’d want to dunk into hot chocolate after a cold skating session. Recently, my friend Nadia (who keeps this lovely blog) asked me about cookies to bake for Christmas. These are the first that came to mind.
The recipe has been in my tattered Duo-Tang for as long as I’ve been stuffing recipes into it. My aunt Hélène told me about them. She calls them heart attack cookies—presumably for the sheer shock of realizing how much cocoa they contain.
I’ve tweaked them slightly to make them even spicier, but feel free to omit the cayenne. The back pepper, coffee, and cinnamon are a necessity. Remember you’ll also need to refrigerate the dough for at least a few hours before baking.
Heart attack cookies
¾ cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup good quality cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely ground coffee
½ teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch or two cayenne pepper
In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar with an electric beater, until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until fluffy.
In a separate bowl, combine all the other ingredients. Mix well, and tip into the butter mixture. Mix the dough with a spoon, until there are no lumps of flour and the texture is uniform.
Next, you’ll need to form a log with the dough. I find it easiest to gather the dough with my hands, and dump in directly onto a large sheet of wax paper. Form the log with your hands—it should be about two inches in diameter. Sprinkle it with a bit of white sugar, wrap it well in the wax paper, and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Unwrap the log, and slice it into pucks (about half an inch thick). Bake for 12 minutes on a greased cookie sheet. Remove, and cool on a rack.