Chocolate, peanut butter and cayenne, oh my.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Taste Tip: This dough must be prepared in advance. Two options for chocolate bars are Chuao Chocolatier's "Spicy Maya" or Lindt's "Excellence Chili."
1¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
½ cup crunchy peanut butter, at room temperature
⅓ cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 ounces dark chocolate bar infused with chile (see Taste Tip)
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 ounces white chocolate for decoration
To prepare cookies:
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, nutmeg and sesame seeds, and reserve.
In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat peanut butter and butter until creamy. Add brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract and mix until fully incorporated. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, a third at a time, until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to two days.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together granulated sugar and remaining 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Roll dough balls in sugar-cayenne pepper mixture and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
Bake until cookies are slightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
To assemble cookies: In a double boiler over simmering water, melt dark chocolate bar and chocolate chips. Dip tops of cooled cookies into melted chocolate and place on wax or parchment paper to set. In a double boiler over simmering water, melt white chocolate. Drizzle white chocolate over cookies.
2010 Finalist: Janet Heirigs of Minneapolis, Minnesota