Saturday, December 19, 2009

In the kitchen: Mexican Chocolate Cookies

I'm sure I'm not alone in obsessing about cookies this time of year. I've been following along with many blogs who are counting down the holidays with cookie recipes and when Chicago-based Lottie & Doof got to number 8 — Mexican Chocolate Cookies adapted from Cooks Illustrated — I knew I had to get baking. A big old hunk of butter along with a wollop of cinnamon and cayenne pepper give them a unique kick.

Mexican Chocolate Cookies (via Lottie & Doof, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I would use a tad more next time — love the heat!)
  • 20 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks), softened to cool room temperature (about 65 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4-1/2 cup turbinado sugar (or other raw or sanding sugar)

In medium skillet set over medium heat, toast almonds, cinnamon, and cayenne until fragrant, about 3 minutes; set aside to cool. In food processor fitted with metal blade, process cooled mixture until very fine, about 15 seconds. Set aside.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and instant espresso powder; stir until mixture forms smooth paste. Set aside to cool, 15 to 20 minutes.

In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix remaining 16 tablespoons butter, sugar, salt, and cooled cocoa mixture on high speed until well combined and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping sides of mixing bowl once or twice with rubber spatula. Add yolks and vanilla and mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl. Whisk nut/spice mixture into flour. With mixer running on low, add flour mixture in three additions, waiting until each addition is incorporated before adding next and scraping bowl before next addition. Continue to mix until dough forms cohesive ball, about 5 seconds. Shape into two dough logs, 2 inches in diameter and about 6 inches long; use parchment paper or plastic wrap to roll into neat cylinder. Chill until very firm and cold, at least 1 hour. (At this point the dough can be frozen for up to a couple of weeks.)

Preheat oven to 375ยบ F with rack set in the middle. Roll chilled log in sugar. Slice cookies 1/4 inch thick and place on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake until cookies show slight resistance to touch, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time; if cookies begin to darken on edges, they have overbaked. Cool for 5 minutes, then, using spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack; cool completely.

What are you baking this weekend?


  1. Anonymous9:40 AM

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  2. BE koch10:31 AM

    WOW - THESE SOUND DELICIOUS. I usually make biscotti- and this year didn't bake anything after I made cookies for home and work 2 weeks ago. After the pies and Italian pastries are gone tomorrow I'm going to try this! THANKS

  3. They are!! Love them. Got to my mom's house for Christmas and she had made about ten different kinds of cookies - yay! All my favorites and some new ones!!