Make Ahead: The dough needs to be chilled for 4 hours or overnight. It can be frozen for 1 month (place the wrapped logs of dough in resealable plastic food storage bags). The finished cookies can be stored between layers of wax paper or parchment paper in an airtight container for up to 3 days. But they are best eaten on the day they are made.
Servings: 48 cookies
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon whole or low-fat milk
- 2 cups flour
- Medium-grind black pepper, for sprinkling
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70 percent is good), coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low, then medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the beater and sides of the bowl.
Add the baking powder, white pepper, black pepper, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and cayenne pepper; beat on low speed to incorporate.
Add the egg and milk; beat on low speed to incorporate, then add the flour in 2 or 3 additions until well combined, to form a soft dough.
Divide the dough in half; shape each half into a 6-inch log and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours or up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Stack 2 rimmed baking sheets (to insulate the cookies on the bottom as they bake). Line the top baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Unwrap 1 log at a time and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, reshaping them as needed as you place them at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with the medium-grind black pepper (to taste). Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, until the bottoms are just starting to brown. Do not overbake.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool while you prepare the chocolate for dipping.
Combine the chocolate and shortening in a medium heatproof bowl; place over a medium saucepan containing a few inches of water. Heat over medium heat, stirring once the chocolate has started to soften. Stir until smooth; remove from the heat.
Lay a sheet of wax paper on the counter.
Dip the cookies in the chocolate to your liking (cover one-quarter or half of the cookie), allowing any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl; place the dipped cookies on the wax paper as you work. Repeat to use all of the dough and chocolate.
When the chocolate has cooled and firmed, the cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It's best to place them between sheets of wax paper or parchment paper.
Adapted from "Cookies to Die For!" by Bev Shaffer (Pelican, 2009).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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