Crushed pepper has a sweeter, more perfumed quality than pepper that’s gone through a grinder. Use a mortar and pestle or crush in a plastic bag. DO NOT use ground pepper.
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups icing (confectioners') sugar
1 egg yolk
Juice and grated zest of small lemon, preferably using microplane zester
2 cups twice sifted flour
Italian crack pepper (about 2 tablespoons), crushed OR black peppercorns
Cream the butter and sugar together, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in the juice, yolk and zest.
Add the flour, forming a smooth dough.
Chill the dough until easy enough to handle. Using a small scoop or shape the cookies into 1” balls. Dip lightly in the pepper and press down to slightly flatten the cookies. The alternative method is to divide the dough in four pieces, roll into slim logs using parchment to help shape-as with ice box cookies- and roll each log in pepper and chill. Slice cookies into 1/4" rounds.
Bake in 325°F oven until the rim is golden.
Let stand 1 minute before removing from the pan.
Cool. Makes several dozen.
*When you form the dough into logs, it feels like you're working with butter.
Wrap well and put into the freezer. It slices very easily when frozen solid.
*Juice of one small lemon = about 2 to 3 T.