This year I wanted to make a traditional cookie (the ubiquitous crinkle) with just a slight kick. Enter Sichuan pepper: not related at all to black peppercorns or chili peppers, it’s used most commonly in Chinese and Japanese cooking. It is a most unusual spice, one that has a piney, citrusy flavor and makes your mouth a bit numb. Up until 2005 they were technically illegal to import (but not for any consumption reasons). It all adds up to give these chocolatey cookies a feeling of just a hint of lemon and danger. Who else’s cookies can promise that?
Chocolate-Sichuan Pepper Crinkle Cookies, makes 90 (whoa), inspired by a classic Betty Crocker recipe
3/4 cup vegetable oil
6 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 t finely ground sichuan pepper (use a coffee bean grinder or spend a good amount of time chopping, chopping chopping)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup powdered sugar
Combine vegetable oil and melted chocolate. Mix the sugar with the salt and ground sichuan pepper then add to the chocolate mixture. Add the vanilla, then one egg at a time to the mix. Whisk together the flour and the baking powder, add to the batter in three additions, stirring each time to fully incorporate the flour. (It’s at this point you could add in a handful or two of chocolate chips to bump up the chocolate, and that certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing.)
Refrigerate the dough for three hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a teaspoon, scoop dough and place between palms to roll into a ball. Roll each ball in the 3/4 cup of powdered sugar and place on a lightly oiled or buttered baking sheet, about two inches apart. Bake 11 to 13 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheet before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Playlist included Christmas Infiltration by Troy and Abed