Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

There are no pictures in this post because the cookies didn’t survive for even 24 hours –  they were born around 3 AM last night and finished around 7 PM today.

So it’s defense season.  A lot of my friends are defending, and a lot of the others are moving.  The result is that I’ve been inundated in a “take my junk!” movement.  This is especially true for those who are moving to Canada – something about how crossing even the one border makes it next to impossible (or at least way too complicated) to bring food products/spices.  So I got a ton of non-perishable foodstuffs and have been sitting here for a while contemplating what to do with it.

(By the way, I did find out what to do with the lemon cream cheese frosting I had leftover from before – I used it to make sandwiches with gingersnaps I made according to this recipe: http://www.recipesource.com/desserts/cookies/15/rec1578.html (admittedly I used lemon juice in place of vinegar since it seemed more fitting)).

Anyway, I decided I wanted to make mexican hot chocolate cookies.  I like mexican hot chocolate – we’re coming up on a decade that I’ve been putting chili powder in my cookies.  I wanted something that encapsulated that general feel.

When I first googled “mexican hot chocolate cookies”, I got a lot of results.  Like this onethis one and worst of all, this one.   The first, from the cooking channel, looked promising only it was the middle of the night and melting chocolate didn’t seem wise.  I also worried that the combination of melted chocolate and chocolate chips would make the result a lot heavier than the light, fluffy cookies in my head.  The second, from Martha Stewart, looked more promising, but I don’t have cream of tartar, and they spell chili like the country (Chile), not the powder.  The third, from Betty Crocker, would probably be quite tasty, but I’m adamantly opposed to using mixes.

So, I struck out.  What I really wanted was a cookie like a snickerdoodle, only chocolaty and a little bit spicy, instead of cinnamon-y.  However, googling “mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles” only brought up variants of this recipe.  I have no personal issues with the vegan thing, but the taste of canola oil to me is super strong, and I can never make an oil cake that I’m happy with.  So I decided to steer clear.

So I had to adapt my own recipe.  I thought a snickerdoodle recipe was a reasonable place to start, but initially it was incredibly difficult to find a recipe without cream of tartar to start with.  Eventually, I found this recipe.  We were in business.

I should mention that I’d had it in my head for most of the day that I’d make cookies at some point during the day, so by the time I had a suitable recipe in mind, I’d had a stick of butter sitting at room temp for a few hours.

So, the recipe I used:

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 Cup, 1/4 lb) (room temperature!)
  • 1/2 Cup white sugar
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Cup AP flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

I first preheated the oven to 350F (about 175C?).  I then creamed butter + sugar together in a large-ish mixing bowl.  I then added the egg and almond extract, and beat until totally combined and rather creamy.  Personally, I find that the smaller portions of my dry ingredients are difficult to combine totally if I add them after the flour, so I added the chili powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder first before adding the cocoa and then AP flour.

Once all of the ingredients were well mixed, I mixed the remaining 3 Tablespoons sugar and teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl.  I then formed the dough into small balls (about 1 inch, no larger than 1 1/2 inches) and rolled them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  I placed them on a greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Because I was bored waiting for the oven to preheat totally, I patted the balls down into discs before putting them into the oven, which didn’t hurt but certainly wasn’t necessary.

Baking powder (and baking soda) is extremely temperature sensitive, and the dough was rather soft/sticky.  Keeping both of these things in mind, I put the remaining dough into the fridge while waiting for the first batch to bake.  I think this allowed me to achieve better consistency between the batches than otherwise.

Again, these were VERY popular, to the extent where I didn’t manage to get any pictures before they were entirely consumed.  If I make them again, I will likely double the batch.

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