Spicy chocolate shortbread cookies

The smallest hint of cayenne pepper can enhance a high-quality cocoa powder and surprise friends with a kick of heat. This simple shortbread recipe is quick to bake, while the dough can be stored in the freezer for a last minute sweet treat. Makes about 4 dozen.
1 ½CUPSall purpose flour
½CUPunsweetened cocoa powder
½TSPNcayenne pepper
2Xsticks unsalted butter, softened
CUPconfectioner's sugar
2TBSPNSgranulated sugar
1Xegg yolk
1XMaldon sea salt, for garnish

  1. In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, cayenne pepper, and 1/2 TSPN salt together. Whisk to combine.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and both sugars until light in color and creamy. Add the egg yolk, and beat until combined. Slowly pour in the dry ingredients until fully incorporated.
  3. Turn out the dough, and gently knead until the dough is a smooth consistency.
  4. Divide the dough in half and place on two sheets of parchment paper. Roll into logs about 1 1/2 inch thick width-wise, and set in the freezer for about one hour.
  5. Once the dough is chilled, set the oven at 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Remove the dough from the freezer, unroll from the parchment, and use a sharp knife to slice 1/2 inch rounds from the logs, then place on the baking sheets.
  7. Sprinkle each cookie round with Maldon flaky sea salt, and place both baking sheets in the oven for about 15 minutes, rotating pans half way through bake time.
  8. Allow the finished shortbread cookies to cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes, then serve.


Adapted from Dorie Greenspan.

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