These are based on a delicious cookie made by my friend and former student Stephen Hoffman.

Makes about sixty cookies

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
1 large egg white
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Two cookie sheets or jelly-roll pans lined with parchment or foil.

  1. Use an electric mixer to beat butter with sugar, salt, cinnamon and peppers until very light, about 5 minutes on medium speed.
  2. Beat in egg, then egg white. Continue beating until smooth.
  3. Sift flour, cocoa and baking soda over batter, then stir in.
  4. Divide dough in half, place each half on a sheet of parchment paper and shape each into an 8-inch long cylinder. Wrap parchment around dough and chill until firm.
  5. Set racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
  6. Slice dough every 1/4-inch and arrange cookies on prepared pans. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.