I feel a bit strange sharing a Valentine’s Day recipe because I’ve never really been into the holiday. And I’m not just saying that to prove I’m not a “high maintenance” girly-girl. There’s nothing wrong with liking Cupid’s day or paying special attention to that special someone. But I take issue with how much stock people put into the day. When people doubt their self-worth because they’re going solo on love’s big day, I hate Valentine’s Day. When people choose to judge the health of their entire relationship based on what their partner does or does not do on that day, I hate Valentine’s Day. When people make cute and delicious love-themed snacks, I love Valentine’s Day. So, before I move onto these unbearably cute Pink Peppercorn Triple Threat Cookies, you have to promise not to play into the less attractive aspects of this fraught holiday. Deal? Deal!
Pink peppercorns are having a bit of a moment. I can’t walk into an “on-trend” coffee shop without finding a pink peppercorn cookie of some sort. I’m usually not into flavor trends but this one caught me hook, line, and sinker. At first, it was for purely shallow reasons. I loved the violent pink of the peppercorn and the general quirkiness of a pink peppercorn dessert. It was like the summer of basil buttercream all over again. But unlike basil buttercream, I actually like pink peppercorn desserts. I eat them quite happily instead of choking them down to demonstrate the flexibility of my palate for no one in particular.
I thought pink peppercorns would be ideal for Valentine’s Day because the candies I usually associate with the holiday are cinnamon hearts and hot lips. The sweet burn of these candies is the best possible flavor metaphor for love. The sweet is obvious; of course, love is sweet. But the burn can be interpreted in one of two ways: If you’re heartbroken, it acts as a cathartic (and delicious) acknowledgment that falling in love is very much like playing with fire; and if you’re in love, it represents the passion underneath all that PG predictable sweetness… I may have overthought this, but the point is I wanted my Valentine’s-Day-treat to have a little kick, and these Pink Peppercorn Triple Threat Cookies certainly deliver just that.
I’ve seen a lot of pink peppercorn meringues floating around the blogosphere and for a while, I was going to add my own rendition to the pile. But that seemed lazy. Plus, my blog is lousy with meringue recipes, so to offer nothing more than a simple meringue felt cheap and predictable. So, without a clear idea of what I would do with it, I whipped up a pink peppercorn tincture and left it to do its thing. I was certain once it had soaked for a week I would know what to do with it. But by the time the tincture was ready, I still had visions of pink meringues dancing in my head.
In the end, I decided to go all in with the pink peppercorn flavor. I would recreate the classic Valentine’s Day sugar cookie on pink peppercorn steroids. Not only would the sugar cookies be studded with the peppercorns themselves, they would also be slathered in pink peppercorn buttercream. And as if to prove my complete lack of self-control, I decided to perch my coveted pink peppercorn meringues on top of the cookies. The name Pink Peppercorn Triple Threat Cookies seems apt because these cookies do indeed look a little threating. The phrase “a little much” springs to mind. I only point this out as an observation, I am not remotely remorseful.
This Valentine’s Day, give your love a little spice and something nice by gifting these Pink Peppercorn Triple Threat Cookies. They have absolutely no self-control and really, on Valentines Day, neither should you. 😉
Happy Valentine’s Day!
- 1 cup over-proof vodka
- 1/2 cup pink peppercorns
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons Pink Peppercorn Tincture
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons Pink Peppercorn Tincture
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup pink peppercorns
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Pink Peppercorn Tincture
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Place vodka and pink peppercorns in a mason jar. Seal the jar and let the mixture sit for a week. Strain the mixture and discard the solids.
- Preheat oven to 225F.
- Place egg whites in a stand-mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and salt.
- Whisking constantly, slowly add the sugar in 1 tablespoon increments. This should take about 10 minutes.
- When the sugar is gone, add the tincture and whisk until the egg whites are glossy and stiff.
- Pipe meringues onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, but don't remove the meringues. Leave the meringues to sit for at least 1 hour before disturbing them.
- Store meringues in a dry, cool place until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a stand-mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.
- While the butter and sugar are mixing, whisk the egg, tincture and yogurt together in a small mixing bowl. Add the yogurt mixture to the butter mixture and stir until combined.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat until combined. Stir in the pink peppercorns.
- Place the dough on a sheet of parchment paper and form it into a disc. Wrap the dough and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- When you're ready to make cookies, roll the dough out to 1/4 of inch thickness on a well-floured surface. Using the cookie cutters of your choice, cut out cookies and place them on a greased baking sheet or silicon mat.
- Bake cookies for 15 minutes or until the edges are just golden. Place the finished cookies on a cooling rack. Let the cookies cool completely before frosting them.
- In a stand-mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the butter until creamy.
- Add the confectioners' sugar in 1/4 cup increments, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
- Next, add the salt, heavy cream, and the tincture and whip for 5 - 10 minutes. Add color gel to the buttercream if desired.
- Spread finished buttercream on cooled cookies and top with meringues.