The most refined and complex of our recipes; salt and pepper enhance cocoa’s natural depth of flavor.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 sticks margarine, softened
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
Sea salt, for sprinkling
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, cayenne and sea salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the margarine with both sugars at low speed until creamy. Add the egg yolk and beat until smooth, then add the dry ingredients and beat until incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead gently until it comes together. Divide the dough in half and press each half into a disk. Roll out each disk between 2 sheets of wax paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Slide the wax paper–covered disks onto a baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour, until very firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one piece of dough at a time, peel off the top sheet of wax paper and cut out the cookies as close together as possible, using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, Arrange the cookies about 1 inch apart on the parchment paper–lined baking sheets and sprinkle with some sea salt.
Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, until they are just firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.