I don’t cook as much as I used to, because normally when I come home at night I’m so tired I’m ready to fall over dead, but every once in awhile, I’ll have an idea for something that I want to try. And so it was with these cookies, a pretty straightforward chocolate shortbread recipe I found while I was trying to find a use for a box of unsweetened baker’s chocolate. Well, I didn’t want to use the whole box at once (that would’ve been a lot of chocolate) but I figured if I had a recipe handy, I could whip up something chocolatey from time to time as needed. Because sometimes chocolate is a necessity of life. Anyone who doesn’t believe that has obviously never had to be nice to people while inflicted with PMS. I’m just saying.
Anyway, I was lying in bed a few mornings ago and I was thinking about cookies. It’s much more pleasant to think about cookies than to think about getting up and going to work, wouldn’t you say? And I thought something like this:
That chocolate shortbread cookie recipe… that was alright, but I think it needed something. You know what would be good? Cinnamon or something. Oh! Something spicy! That would be even better! Remember in the movie Chocolat when they put pepper in chocolate? That’s totally a good idea. Remember also in that movie when Johnny Depp said something like “I’ll come by and get that squeak out of your door” and it’s INSANELY SEXY even though the line itself is not sexy at all, it’s just that Johnny Depp — why am I thinking about this? Oh, right. I think perhaps if I put cinnamon and pepper in the cookie dough, that would be a good idea. I’ll try that.
So even though I’ve been sick with some general creeping malaise since Thursday, I decided today, now that I’m feeling reasonably better but still kind of tired, that I would make some cookies. I used half the recipe that I linked above. Like so:
1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
And then I added about a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a couple of dashes of cayenne pepper.
Knead dough to combine ingredients evenly, roll to 1/4 of an inch thick, cut into whatever shape your heart desires, I suppose, though I just used a small drinking glass instead of a cookie cutter (I know I used to have cookie cutters, but I’ll be damned if I can find them) that was about 2 inches in diameter, and I baked them at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes. I left them to cool on the pan for an additional 5-10 minutes, which firmed them up some, and then I moved them to a wire rack.
So, the verdict —
Buttery, chocolatey goodness. The cinnamon really comes through, and just adds another note to the flavor, and the cayenne pepper is barely detectable (if I make these again — and I will — I think I’ll actually measure the cayenne; I think a little extra dash wouldn’t hurt, though it’s a delicate balance because I want the cookies to be chocolate with a kick, and not the other way around), but there’s a slight bit of heat at first bite and again at the finish. Maybe they’re perfect as-is. Though I guess it wouldn’t kill me to measure.
There you go. They’re at least as delicious as an innuendo-spouting Johnny Depp.