Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nicely Different

I was at a wedding recently, and when someone asked me what my favorite thing to bake was, I answered, without pause, "cookies".  That's right, I love to bake cookies.  They are usually easy and quick to make, supremely portable, and there are so many varieties that you could never get bored with them.

I was going to a concert with friends, and I was looking for something fun to make.  I had this recipe for Mexican Chocolate Cookies saved in my googly reader, and I figured this was as good a time as any to try them out. And another plus was that I had all of the ingredients in my house, so I didn't have to go get anything special.

These cookies are pretty tasty.  I could have used a little more cinnamon, but I was happy with the results.  The cayenne pepper flavor is not immediately recognizable, but you will feel it after you swallow the cookie.  It's nothing crazy, just a little tingle in the back of your mouth that tells you that you just ate something spicy.  Good stuff.

If you are looking for something a little different than your average cookie, give this recipe a try. 

Mexican Chocolate Cookies
Makes about 32 cookies

5 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (i would double this in the future)
1/8 tsp instant espresso
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp confectioners sugar, for dusting (yeah, i skipped that part)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth. (fp note: you could do this in the microwave, but i always burn chocolate when i try to do that, so i say go with the double boiler) Cool to room temperature

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, espresso, baking powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. 
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), combine the sugar and softened butter, and beat until will blended. Add the egg, and beat well. Add cooled chocolate and vanilla, and beat just until blended. Then add the flour mixture, and beat until just blended.

Drop dough by level tablespoons (i use a little scoop with a release- makes this so easy) 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes, or until almost set. Remove from the oven, and let the cookies cool on the pans for 2 minutes or until set. Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Just before serving, dust with confectioners sugar. (or just stick them all in a bag and run out the door because you're running late and don't have time for dusting)

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