When I told my son what they were called as I held one out, he looked at me as if I’d just offered to give him an atomic wedgie. They’re actually a very old-fashioned type of cookie that expert Nancy Baggett describes in her comprehensive book, All American Cookie, as “remarkable” for their good keeping quality and especially their texture: crisp on the outside and more chewy toward the middle as you work your way in.
Aside from their plain-prettiness, I found them a little too sweet, I mean my teeth actually hurt when I ate a few. But don’t let that detail stop you from making these. I’m known for my sugar-sensitive pearlies!
adapted from Dierberg’s Everybody Cook’s magazine
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, ginger and cardamom
1/2 teaspoon each: ground allspice and white pepper
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup softened unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Stir together the sugar with all the spices in a small bowl; remove 1/2 cup to a pie plate on the side for dredging the cookies. Add cocoa to small bowl with sugar/spice mixture and stir to blend.
Beat butter in an electric mixer bowl until fluffy. Add the spiced cocoa mixture and beat until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, then add flour and baking powder at low speed until combined.
Form 1-tablespoonful sized balls. Roll them in the reserved sugar mixture and arrange 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees 12-15 minutes. Cool in the pan for a few minutes before transfering to a rack to cool.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.