I have to come up with a better name for these cookies – but how to describe them? They’re made with extra dark cocoa, and flavored with cayenne, black pepper and ginger for a surprising little bite. They’re filled with tart/sweet unbelievably delicious black currant jam, and they’re topped with dark dark 60% chocolate. All together they’re surprising and addictive. I’d originally thought of this as a cake, and these are like little cakes. The cookies are quite soft, a little crispy and chewy, and the chocolate adds a pleasing crunch. But a soft crunch, if that makes sense? The cayenne is subtle, it sneaks up on you, and gives you a little kick moments after you’ve first tasted the cookie. And it makes the cookies extra-good with either coffee or red wine.
If you want cookies that taste like this but are a little crunchier and harder, try this recipe.
I love the flavor of black currants. (See my ravings in the quince post). I have a small bush in my backyard, but it’s only produced about 20 berries at a time. They’re pretty berries, though! The birds like to eat them right off the bush, which is a pretty sight as well. Did you ever wonder why black currant products, which are plentiful all over europe, are not as common in America? Apparently it’s because black currants, which used to be native, shared a disease with some kind of tree (I can’t remember which one!) so they were outlawed!! So sad. But they’ve come up with disease-resistant stains, now, so maybe they’ll make a comeback.
Here’s Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Pepper Stomp. I love stomps!!
2 sticks butter (one cup)
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup dark, unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cayenne
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. ginger
2 T. black, strong coffee
one small jar black currant jam. (Or any dark berry jam – blackberry would be fine)
1 cup 60% cocoa chocolate chips
Mix the dry ingredients well, to make sure that nobody gets a mouthful of cayenne.
Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg and vanilla. Add all of the dry ingredients, stir well. It will be quite thick, so don’t be shy to use your hands! Add the coffee. YOu might need to add more flour at this point, to get a stiff, workable dough.
Cover with foil or plastic, and put it in the fridge for an hour or two.
Roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut in circles about 1 1/2 inches across (I used a sherry glass!). Bake at 375 for 7 minutes. THey’re very dark, so you’ll have to go by time on this one. Allow to cool completely on cooling racks.
When cool, spread a spoonful of jam on the bottom of one cookie, and pop another on top, bottom down. Make them all into little sandwiches this way.
Melt the chocolate chips over (not in!) hot water. Spread a big dollop on top of each cookie sandwich.
Leave to cool and set. Then…EAT!