Mayan Mystery Cookies
Source: Postcard mailing, Fleet Bank
Cook: Pat Tillinghast
At New Rivers restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island, these cookies
first appeared in a lunchtime cookie basket and quickly rocketed to
local fame. Clearly there's a mystery ingredient here that makes them
so good, and their creator offered a free cookie basket to whoever
guessed it. But only two people ever did (one of them Julia Child's
associate, Nancy Verde Barr). As you can see, it's cayenne pepper,
partnered with its alluring Mexican companion, chocolate.As Chef Bruce
Tillinghast explains, every other item on the menu changes from time to
time - but not these cookies created by his late wife.
Makes about 60 cookies
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon finely (and freshly) ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup cocoa
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Semisweet chocolate morsels
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and the 3/4 cup sugar
in a food processor. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and cocoa
in a medium bowl and add to the butter mixture. Add the egg and vanilla
and mix until the batter is uniform. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
Using your hands, roll the dough into balls about the width of a quarter
and tuck about 5 chocolate morsels into the center of each one. Put some
sugar on a flat plate and roll the balls in the sugar to cover lightly.
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and place the balls on the
sheets. Bake for 8 minutes, being careful not to overbake; the cookies
should be delicate and soft in the center. Let cool on the cookie sheets.
Store the cookies in an airtight container, separating the layers with
sheets of wax paper.
The Best American Recipes 2001-2002
by: Fran McCullough (Series edited by)
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