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Lemon-Black Pepper Cookies What about this? What about taking a great lemon butter cookie recipe and adding a peppery twist? Now take that incredible cookie dough and mix in some cornmeal for additional crunch and flavor. Sounds pretty good, right? Wait, we’re not done yet! Bake a batch of these cookies and let them cool. Here’s the best part: spread some vanilla bean ice cream or lemon gelato on the back of one cookie and take another cookie and smoosh the cookies together to make one intriguing ice cream sandwich. Whether you make these cookies for a holiday tea or make the ice cream sandwiches for the hot days of summer, you’ll be so glad you did!

Lemon-Black Pepper Cornmeal Cookies
Luscious Lemon Desserts by Lori Longbotham

INGREDIENTS
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon fresh, coarsely ground black pepper (optional)
Pinch of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup finely grated lemon zest (approximately 4 lemons)
2 large egg yolks

DIRECTIONS
1. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, black pepper, if using, and salt together in a medium bowl.

2. Beat the butter, sugar, and zest in a medium bowl with an electric mixer, beginning on low speed and increasing to medium-high speed, until light and fluffy.

3. Add the egg yolks and beat to combine well.

4. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture, and beat on low speed just until blended; the dough will be crumbly.

5. Press the dough together with your hands and divide it in half. Place each half on a sheet of waxed paper and form each piece into a 10-by-1¼-inch log. Smooth each log with dampened fingers. Chill the logs, wrapped in waxed paper, for at least 3 hours, or until firm.

6. At least 25 minutes before baking, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400° F. Butter 2 large nonstick baking sheets.

7. Cut each log into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and arrange rounds 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Makes 6 dozen cookies

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. To get 1/4 cup of lemon zest, I used 4 big Eureka lemons and 1 small Myer lemon.
2. My dough was not crumbly, but more sticky.
3. The next time I make these cookies, I will add a little bit more salt.
4. I used parchment paper instead of buttering the cookie sheets.
5. The cookbook author states, “If you’d rather, add 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger with the dry ingredients, instead of the pepper.” I personally like the idea of a peppery surprise over a more tame ginger flavor.
6. The author also states that “These are perfect with ice cream and fruit.” I agree!

Enjoy!

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