Chocolate-Cayenne Cocktail Cookies

chocolate cayenne cocktail cookies

OK, first of all, these are not for dessert. So you can’t paint me with the “she claims to eat healthy, but she’s posting all these naughty desserts” brush. Hence the phrase “cocktail cookies.”

I don’t have many home-runs my first time “at bat” with a recipe, but this one was out of the park.

Every year, my best girlfriends get together for a very special evening. I’ve hosted the last few gatherings, serving my all-time favorite meal, after which we exchange gifts to celebrate having each other in our lives. {The Husbands usually plan an outing on this night as well – complete with lots of meat, and celebrating … well, whatever guys celebrate when they’re together! Probably being married to US, don’t you think!?}.

I don’t mess with the entree, but I do like to experiment with the appetizer and dessert. This year, these Chocolate Cayenne Cocktail Cookies helped kick off the night.  No one was used to seeing chocolate served during “cocktail hour,” but it didn’t take much convincing to give these little morsels a try.

At first bite, you get the chocolate and a lovely flake or two of Maldon salt… then, you get the kick of cayenne pepper. These cocktail cookies might be tiny but they are huge on flavor. Paired with a little red wine, you’ll wonder where these gems have been all your life.

The evening was fabulous – and it would have been regardless of how the meal turned out.  That’s what dear friends guarantee. But these little Chocolate Cayenne Cocktail Cookies are going straight to my arsenal of slam-dunk appetizers – especially when the meal to follow has south-of-the-border flavors.

The best part? I made a few extra batches and have enough in the freezer for an impromptu cocktail party – whether or not anyone else shows up.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate-Cayenne Cocktail Cookies
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Maldon salt, for sprinkling
  1. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, cayenne and sea salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with both sugars at low speed until creamy. Add the egg yolk and beat until smooth, then add the dry ingredients and beat until incorporated.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead gently until it comes together. Divide the dough in half and form into a rough log shape. Place dough on parchment and use the parchment to help roll the dough into a smooth log that is about 1½ inches in diameter. Repeat with other half of dough. Place logs onto a baking sheet and freeze for 30-45 minutes, until firm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350º and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one log at a time, slice into ¼ inch thick cookies. Arrange the cookies about 1 inch apart on the parchment paper-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with some Maldon salt.
  4. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, until they are just firm; shift the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

The original recipe – from Dorie Greenspan – called for rolling out the dough, then using a round cookie cutter to create the cookies. I found this to be too difficult, because the dough would quickly become too soft to work with.

chocolate cayenne cocktail cookies

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