Monday, December 3, 2012

Pepper Spice Cookies

Years ago, when I donned pantyhose every day and worked in an office, my favorite trick for baking lots of Christmas cookies was to make several batches of dough in one night and pop them in the refrigerator. After all, many cookie doughs need to be refrigerated before they can be rolled out anyway. That way, I was ahead of the game. When I had the time, I rolled out the dough, cut out the cookies, and baked them.

I discovered these Spice Cookies in GOURMET'S SWEETS a few years ago. They're not specifically Christmas cookies, but all the wonderful spices in them make them perfect for Christmas.

Don't be afraid of the pepper. It's there, but surprisingly subtle. The original recipe calls for coarsely ground pepper but I prefer to use finely ground pepper. It also calls for a pinch of cayenne, but I go back and forth on that ingredient, so consider it optional. Sort of like gingersnaps, they're not meant to be iced or decorated, but if you want, you can pipe a little icing around the edges.

They hold up nicely, too. Two weeks in an airtight container at room temperature, longer in the refrigerator.

Gourmet calls them Spice Cookies, but I like the name Pepper Spice Cookies because Spice Cookies conjures up something entirely different in my mind. Their recipe involves a complicated and time-consuming method of rolling the dough out between two sheets of wax paper, refrigerating, then cutting them out, refrigerating again, and then baking. Who has time for all that?

The dough will be sticky when you

make it. I divide it in half, wrap in wax paper and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours. When you roll it out, you'll see that it's a very soft dough. Just flour a sheet of wax paper and your rolling pin and add flour as necessary to roll it out. It works just
Almost no cleanup!
fine that way.

This is a great time to remind you that I'm still looking for Christmas Cookie recipes. The winners will have their names and recipes published in the 2014 Domestic Diva Mystery! Preference will be given to family recipes that have been handed down. An impartial group of my family and friends will be choosing the winners.

Please send your recipes to Krista at KristaDavis dot com. If there's a story behind the recipe, I'd love to hear it. If the recipe is from a cookbook, please tell me the title and author. If the recipe is from a website, please include a link.

Good luck, everyone!

Spice Cookies
(from Gourmet's Sweets)
(makes 32 - 42 cookies depending on the size of the cookie cutter)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
pinch of cayenne (optional)

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg

Mix the flour with the baking powder and spices in a bowl. Set aside.

Cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the egg. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat.

Divide the dough roughly in half. Wrap both pieces in wax paper, flattening them a bit. Store in refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Dust a sheet of wax paper and the rolling pin lightly with flour. Roll out, adding flour as necessary to make the dough manageable. Cut into shapes. Bake on parchment paper for 10 - 12 minutes. Wait for Santa to arrive.


  1. Krista, these are beautiful. Brings back memories. My grandmother made these. So spicy my mouth tingled. And crisp. Thank you for sharing!

    Daryl aka Avery

  2. I'm so glad they brought back memories, Avery. That's a big part of Christmas!

    ~ Krista

  3. These sound great! I love cayenne in anything and I can't wait to try these with my sweet little heart shaped cookie cutter.

    Thanks, Krista!

  4. My mother-in-law loves cloves, and the heart shape is so pretty. I will try these--thanks!