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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

C is for Cookies

Sunday, November 5, 2023

This is the third post, C is for Cookies, in a series of posts about Christmas traditions that make the holiday special. Similar to an Advent Calendar, but with 26 days, each post is a look at Christmas traditions from A to Z that add sparkle, love, laughter, beauty, comfort, nostalgia, meaning, and joy to the Christmas season. 

Whether making cookies with children, baking cookies to leave for Santa, baking a special recipe for a cookie exchange, or for gifting cookies to friends, cookies at Christmas are a tradition in many homes. 

Chocolate chip cookies are an American tradition all during the year, not just during the Christmas holidays. 

Baking cookies for gifts or for cookie exchanges is a good time to try a new recipe since cookies for the family often are so steeped in tradition, there is no option for having any other recipe than the traditional one! 

Black Pepper cookies 

If you enjoy nutmeg, ginger, or cinnamon cookies that are not as sweet as most cookies, you may love Black Pepper Cookies. The pepper adds a little zing, but is not overpowering. Most of the men who try these cookies love them. Believe it or not, I've even had men request the recipe. 

These cookies may become a new Christmas tradition at your house like they did at my house. Now, my sister asks for these every Christmas. 


Cayenne pepper is a surprise ingredient in these cookies. While dessert for breakfast is not an everyday event at my house, Christmas is a time for special treats, even at breakfast. The peppers in this recipe make the cookies perfect with breakfast coffee. 

Cookie Directions 

50 cookies
400° for 8-12 minutes

Preheat Oven to 400°.

  • Adjust rack high in oven.

In a medium bowl

  • Sift together flour & baking powder. 
  • Set aside.

In a large bowl

  • Cream butter by mixer.
  • Beat in black pepper, cayenne pepper, cloves, cinnamon, & ginger.
  • Beat in sugar & egg. 
  • Beat in dry ingredients from medium bowl in small amounts, thoroughly blending before adding more dry ingredients. 

When completely blended

  • Remove dough from bowl and knead lightly.
  • Divide dough into 3 parts. 
  • Work with part of dough at a time.
  • Do NOT chill dough before rolling dough.
  • Roll out one part of dough on lightly floured surface using a lightly floured rolling pin.
  • Roll to ⅛ to ¼ inch thickness.

  • Cut out dough with 2 ¾ inches diameter cutter. 
  • Re-roll and cut out scraps.
  • Transfer cookies with a metal spatula to an unbuttered cookie sheet.
  • Place ¾ inches apart.


  • 400° for 8-12 minutes until cookies are lightly browned
  • ★ Check cookies at 8 minutes. Bake longer if needed. Thin cookies bake fast! 
  • Reverse the direction of the cookie sheet during baking to ensure even browning. 
  • When done, transfer cookies to racks with wide metal spatula to cool. 

Black Pepper Cookies are wonderful small gifts for everyone on 

Santa's Nice List, 

including Santa.