I always make Chocolate Chip Cookies. That’s not to say we’re sick of them around here…quite the contrary (unfortunately for my waistline). But I’ve been itching to try new things in the kitchen. I made a goal recently to try something different every time I cook. So when searching the cobwebbed corners of my mind for creative cookie ides I remembered a recipe for a very creative cookie indeed…Ages ago my brother, a fellow foodie, sent me a recipe from Tasting Table for Salt and Pepper Sugar Cookies, saying that he thought they seemed right up my alley. I finally dug out the recipe to give it a try. Everything was going well as I followed the recipe to a tee for once. At least, that was the plan. But then I hit a snafu: I was short on flour! I searched every inch of the cupboards and only came up with bread flour and the blé de sarrasin (the buckwheat flour which is used for galettes in Brittany). So my simple Salt and Pepper cookies turned into super Breton cookies with salted Breton butter, chunky Breton sea salt and Breton buckwheat flour. My waist line won’t be catching a break anytime soon…these Salt and Pepper Sugar Cookies are super delicious and all too addicting. You even feel slightly healthy eating them as they are just as savory as they are sweet.
Recipe adapted from Phoebe Lawless, Scratch Bakery, Durham, North Carolina
115 grams (1 stick or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
170 grams (¾ cup) sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I didn’t have vanilla so I substituted honey)
220 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
75 grams (3/4 cup) buckwheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Pinch sea salt
115 grams (½ cup) sugar
¾ teaspoon all-purpose flour (I used buckwheat flour)
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and salt at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla (or honey) and beat until combined, scraping the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 stages, beating at low speed until each addition is just combined. Divide the dough in half and flatten each portion into a disc. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
In a spice mill or mortar, grind the peppercorns with the sea salt until fine. In a small bowl, whisk the pepper mixture with the sugar and flour.
Preheat the oven to 375˚ and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the rolling mix onto a clean work surface. Dust the rolling pin and the top of 1 disc of the dough with additional rolling mix. Roll the dough out until it is ⅓-inch thick. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, punch out the cookies. Reroll the scraps and punch out the remaining cookies. Repeat with the other disc of dough.
Arrange the cookies one-quarter-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies until the edges are golden brown, about 8 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after 4 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Serve the cookies immediately or store in a resealable container for up to 1 week.
***Alternative ideas: Instead of black peppercorns, try pink peppercorns. Instead of peppercorns all together, use thym, rosemary or lavender.