Chocolate is one of the most versatile ingredients in baking, when you think about it. How many other flavors go just as well with raspberries or strawberries as they do with peanut butter, almonds, or even pepper?
The pairing of chocolate with spices like cayenne fascinates me, because I wonder who first thought about doing so and how surprised people were when it turned out to be delicious. These cookies definitely have a bit of a kick, especially if you’re not used to peppery spices. If you’d prefer not to use the cayenne you can omit it, but be sure to keep the cinnamon in the sugar coating.
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add 3/4 cup white sugar and the brown sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cayenne pepper, beating well until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently.
Add eggs and vanilla, beating well until combined.
Add cocoa powder and beat, then add flour about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well to combine.
Cover dough and chill for about 30 minutes, until easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon.
Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into balls, then dip in sugar and cinnamon. Place about 2 inches apart on prepared sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are set.
Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for about 3 minutes, then place on wire racks to cool completely.