Mother Earth Living

Herbs in the Cookie Jar: Black Pepper Chocolate Balls

By Bertha & Nancy Reppert
October/November 1995
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Keep your cookie monsters happy with a good supply of (clockwise from the left) Lavender Cookies, Black Pepper Chocolate Balls, Coriander Date Cookies, and Saffron Cookies.


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Makes about 13 dozen

When we are serving several hundred people, we always turn to these spicy cookies. They are guaranteed to feed and please the multitudes, and they also store and ship well.

• 1 cup cocoa
• 2 cups packed brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon ground cloves
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 3 tablespoons baking powder
• 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled
• 2 cups milk
• 5 1/2 to 6 cups flour
• 1/2 cup ground nuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Add the butter and milk, mixing thoroughly. Stir in enough flour to form a firm dough (as you stir, check to see whether the dough is firm enough to hold its shape). The dough will appear shiny and wet, even when enough flour has been used.

3. Stir in the nuts. Roll the dough into small balls and place them on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes. Cool on racks.

Optional: Roll each cookie in confectioners’ sugar, or while warm, dip the top into a shiny cookie icing made by stirring together 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, 2 teaspoons milk, and 2 teaspoons light corn syrup. Add a little more corn syrup if the icing is too thick.


Bertha Reppert and her family have been introducing other people to the pleasures of herbs for more than twenty-five years. All manner of herbal sweets and treats are standard fare at the family-owned Rosemary House in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, one of America’s oldest herb shops. Bertha is also an author and teacher of renown in the herb world. Her daughter Nancy owns Sweet ­Remembrances, a teahouse and catering service that specializes in herb cookery with edible flowers. Through countless garden parties, afternoon teas, and workshops, the Repperts have developed a large repertoire of special recipes, from which these cookie concoctions are drawn.

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