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Walnut Black Pepper Cookies Recipe

Makes two dozen. This recipe is from Calabria and taken from the book Cooking with Italian Grandmothers by Jessica Theroux.

  • ½ cup (1 stick) soft unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons cane sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons semi-runny honey (like wildflower or chestnut from the farmer’s market)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) raw walnuts, pounded or coarsely ground
  • 1 cup flour
  • Extra granulated sugar, for sprinkling the cookies (optional)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the black pepper, pinch of salt, and honey; mix to incorporate. Add the nuts and flour, and mix with the electric mixer until the dough forms moist clumps, a few minutes.

Roll large teaspoonfuls of the batter between your clean hands, to make little balls. Place the balls on the baking sheet, and press down on them twice with the tines of a fork to make a crosshatch pattern. Sprinkle with a little bit of the granulated sugar.

Slide in the wood fired oven at 350°F for about 25 minutes, or until their bottoms have turned golden-nutty brown. At these low temperatures you will have to place the door of the oven either on the outside ledge, partially covering the arch or, if the oven is cooling fast, completely seal the oven opening with the door.

Buon appetito from Los Angeles Ovenworks!

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