Photo: Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Katelyn Hardwick; Prop Styling: Thom Driver
These traditional German Christmas cookies are made with chopped nuts, citrus, and a variety of warm spices, including the pepper that gives the cookies their name. Greenspan provides ingredient weights in grams, an approach we love because it's more precise than using ounces; a scale is key here.
Serves 40 (serving size: 1 cookie)
1. Set racks to divide oven into thirds; preheat to 350°F.
2. Whisk together first 10 ingredients in a bowl. Combine sugar and rind in bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl (if using a hand mixer). Using your hands, rub sugar mixture together until moist and aromatic. Add 85 grams butter to bowl; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. (It's OK if mixture looks curdled.) Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Add spice mixture; pulse a few times, and then mix on low until most of flour is incorporated. Add nuts; mix until dry ingredients have just disappeared into dough. Turn dough with spatula a few times to blend.
3. Scoop rounded mounds of dough (about 2 teaspoons each) onto each of 2 baking sheets, setting the mounds about 1 1/2 inches apart, to form 40 mounds. Shape each into a ball between your palms (dough will be sticky).
4. Bake 20 minutes or until firm to a gentle squeeze, puffed, cracked, and golden brown on bottom; rotate pans top to bottom and front to back after 10 minutes. Remove pans from oven, and place on wire racks.
5. Place a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water (water shouldn't touch bottom of bowl). Add chocolate and espresso; heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from pan; stir in 1 tablespoon butter until blended. Dip tops of cookies in chocolate; place on rack until set (about 20 minutes).