Mocha-Pepper Crinkles Recipe

By Staff |

By: Marnely Rodriguez

You might think I’m crazy to be sharing a chocolate treat. Because after the Valentine’s Day chocolate overdose, you might not think that you can eat another bite of chocolaty goodness? But for me- I can have a chocolate treat every day, no matter what!

What makes these crinkle cookies special? The addition of freshly ground pepper! We’ve seen the savory side of the kitchen cross over to the desserts, and spices are a fantastic way to ease your way into it. Balancing sweet and savory spices takes some practice and testing, but after you find that perfect pair, you’ll surely start getting the hang of it. One of my favorite books to reference in this subject is Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. It’ll take you by the hand and guide you to flavor pairings, leading you to new discoveries and old favorites.

Here’s a recipe to get you started in this spicy-savory journey! A dough that comes together quickly and just needs a few hours of refrigeration to set, it’s a great cookie to form and freeze for those moments when all you crave is a little chocolate. And we all have those moments, right?

Adapted from “The Cookie Bible”

Marnely Rodriguez, author of the food blog, Cooking with Books. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, has worked as an Overnight Bread Baker in Colorado, a Chocolate Maker in Virginia as well as a Pastry Cook on the whimsical island of Martha’s Vineyard, just to name a few. Currently residing on Martha’s Vineyard, where she is an endless search of flavors, tropical fruits and gastronomic inspiration. Follow her on Twitter: @nella22

For more recipes from Marnely, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

Prep Details

Servings: 40-60 cookies


1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon coffee extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon vanilla salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
1/2 cup powdered sugar


Photos: Marnely Rodriguez

  1. In a stand mixer, cream sugar, oil, egg, and coffee extract until pale in color.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, instant espresso powder, baking soda, vanilla salt, and black pepper.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and blend until incorporated. The batter will be very sticky. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F and line cookie trays with parchment paper. Pour powdered sugar in bowl and roll cookie dough into small balls. Roll in powdered sugar and place on cookie tray.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until tops are firm. Do not overbake. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack to achieve soft interior texture with crispy exterior.