Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies
From Saveur (Issue #81, Jan./Feb. 2005).
Makes about 4 dozen.
At brunch at the Liberty Bar in San Antonio, a plate of these spicy-sweet cookies is set down on the table at the beginning of the meal--gratis.
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup quality dutch-process unsweetened cocoa
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2-3/4 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1. Whisk flour, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl and set aside. Put sugar, vanilla, and egg into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Add butter and continue to beat on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes more. Using your fingers, work flour mixture into butter mixture until dough is just combined.
2. Divide dough in half and roll each half into a 9" log. Wrap each log in parchment paper, twisting ends tightly to make a uniform cylinder. Freeze dough logs for at least 8 hours and as long as overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap dough and slice each log into rounds about 1/3" thick. Place rounds 1/2" apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Bake cookies until slightly puffed and tiny cracks appear on surface, about 8 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to let cool.