Another one of the wonderful perks of being invited to the Sun Wine Fest at Mohegan Sun is the lovely gifts you get along the way.  Two of the gifts I received were a French cook book and baking book by Dorie Greenspan. 

On Saturday morning as Blizzard Nemo continued to hit Boston, I knew I had to find something to do beyond laundry and watching movies, although I have watched quite a lot of movies this weekend.  I decided to look through these books and stopped at a recipe for Salt & Pepper Cocoa Shortbread.  How good does that sound?  Salt works perfectly with chocolate and a little bit of a bite from pepper had me intrigued.  Making sure I had all of these ingredients, which I normally do for basic baking, I went to work on preparing the dough early as it calls for 4 hours of refrigeration.

Salt and Pepper Cocoa Shortbread
From the book “Baking” by Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Sift the flour and cocoa together in a bowl and set aside. With a mixer beat the butter on slow to medium until smooth and add in the confectioner’s sugar until they are completely mixed. Add the egg yolk, salt, pepper and vanilla, beat until smooth. Add the flour and cocoa mixture in a few separate additions.  Beat slowly until combined.Turn the dough out onto your workspace and divide the dough in half. Roll two six inch logs, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for four hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Once the dough has chilled cut the logs into 1/2 inch rounds (you will end up with about 24 cookies).  Bake for 12-15 minutes turning at 7 minutes.  Let them cool a minute on the hot trays before moving to cooling racks.  I added a little sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar to my shortbread but it is entirely up to you if you want to do this.

These shortbread cookies are surprisingly easy to make and I can imagine would impress.  I think next time I would add even more salt and pepper.  I loved the mild difference it makes to the sweet shortbread cookie and would like to try a little more.

As I looked out of my snow covered window at the crazy white streets and buried cars, I thoroughly enjoyed a number of these awesome shortbread cookies with a cup of tea.  They are really good.

Thank goodness that is not my car under there!