Chocolate & Pepper Cookies

We have a bakery/cooking school near by and they have the most amazing chocolate cayenne cookies. When I found this recipe on Figs in My Belly it reminded me of them. This is the first of several kinds of cookies I plan to make it for Christmas this year. I wanted to try something a little different, instead of having the same cut-outs, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter blossoms, etc. that we seem to make every year.

I made a minor change from the original recipe in the way I baked the cookies. Instead of forming a log and slicing like suggested, I formed 30 little balls, flattened them a little bit, and dipped the top in the turbinado sugar. Then, since I wasn't ready to bake them all right away, I froze them individually on a baking sheet (so they wouldn't stick together and become one big frozen dough blob) and then put them in a freezer bag. When I am ready to bake the cookies, I will defrost them in the fridge before transferring them to the oven to bake.

**Note: I baked 3 little cookies when I made them tonight just to try them out. Since Joel was busy studying hard for his GREs, I thought it would be a welcomed treat. He popped the bite-size cookie into his mouth and immediately said to get him milk. I thought he was exaggerating when he said they were dry, but then I tried one. Like he said, my mouth became so dry that I thought I'd choke on the cookie. Do yourself a favor and make sure you have something to drink with these cookies! Otherwise, they are delicious!

1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened (2 sticks)
3/4 cups Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Scant 2 cups Flour
Scant 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2-3 tablespoons Turbinado Sugar (optional)

Cream the butter and powdered sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, black pepper, and cayenne together and add it to the butter mixture. Mix until a fudge like batter forms. Tip the dough out onto the counter and roll into little balls. Lightly press the top of the balls into the turbinado sugar. Place on a parchment lined or lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.