Mexican Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
from Cooking For The Weekend by Michael McLaughlin
• 2/3 cup lightly packed unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon finely ground fresh black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, plus additional for coating the cookies
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Sift the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, pepper, and salt together twice onto a piece of waxed paper. In a medium bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla, then stir in the flour mixture. Stir and knead the dough (it will be dry and crumbly at first) until it is moist, dark and supple. Between 2 sheets of waxed paper, roll the dough 1/4-inch thick as evenly as possible. Chill for 30 minutes.
2. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 275˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. Cut out the cookies with a 2-inch round cutter. Spread the coating sugar on a plate. Lightly press the top of each cookies in the sugar, so that the sugar clings to the dough. Arrange the cookies, sugar side up, on the prepared sheets, spacing them well apart.
4. Bake the cookies 40 to 45 minutes, until crisp and firm, exchanging the position of the sheets on the racks from top to bottom and from front to back at the halfway point. After taking from the oven, transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
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