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The Joy of Cookies

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A selection of readers’ favorite Christmas cookie recipes tested by the Times.


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Black Pepper Cookies

2 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon each baking soda and baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the eggs well, add brown sugar and mix well.
In another bowl, sift together dry ingredients; add to wet ingredients. Stir in nuts (and raisins, if used). Mix well, but dough will be stiff (add some more flour to make a stiff dough if you think it’s too wet). Drop rounded balls (about 1 teaspoon size) onto greased cookie sheet; bake in a 350-degree oven for 8-9 minutes.
Reader note: My aunt always used to bake just one cookie first to see if the time was correct. She said the humidity and her unpredictable oven were the reason.
Times testing notes: We used dried cranberries (craisins) instead of raisins, and black walnuts. The nut flavor was very strong. You might like to tone it down a bit by using English walnuts or even pecans. And yes, there really is no butter in this recipe.
Source: Jayne Healy, Beverly Hills

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