Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Yesterday morning, I had an entirely different post planned for you today. It wasn’t about cookies, it wasn’t about Nashville, it wasn’t about the person who likes these cookies most.

An image of a small glass bowl with chocolate cookies in it.

But plans change. You might remember over a month ago, when I brought you these thin chocolate cookies and ice cream sandwiches, how I mentioned being on the hunt for a crisp chocolate cookie, the kind that was like a cocoa gingersnap, spiced and crisp, sharp and crunchy.

An image of a hand holding a chocolate cookie.

What I didn’t tell you then was that it was really Tim who wanted this cookie, Tim who had mentioned it and sent my mind to work. And so it was, last week in Chicago, that I first tried this new recipe, an adaptation of Mexican chocolate cookies I’d found online, while Tim sat in my parents’ dining room working on his computer and I worked in a light-filled kitchen, hoping for crisp, spiced bites of chocolate.

An image of a stack of chocolate cookies on a wooden table.

That first experiment was such a hit, I made the recipe again Monday, so I could bring them over to Tim’s house before we went to our respective Monday night Bible studies and he made me a chicken sandwich while we talked in his kitchen. They’re just what we (well, he) were after: chocolate cookies with the snap of ginger and hints of cayenne that surprise you.

An image of sunlight peeking through a canopy of tall trees.

I made them to try and do something nice for him, but, as is so often the case, I’ll remember them for how they surrounded his doing something nice for me. When I made them in Chicago, so it happens, it was just hours after Tim had sat down for coffee with my dad.

An image of a picnic setting with various food on a cloth.

When I made them in Nashville, so it seems, it was just one day before Tim sat with me in a park and got down on his knees. And so it was, yesterday afternoon, that the love of my life — the same man who revolutionized my eating habits, lured me from Chicago to Nashville, became in the course of 15 months the best friend I’ve ever had — asked me, on a blanket beneath trees and alongside a creek, next to a cooler holding a handful of these very cookies, homemade lemonade, rosemary sourdough, avocados, apple slices, cheese, chocolate, bowls of blueberries and oranges, cream and a very important box, to become his wife.

A close up image of a hand with an engagement ring on it.

And when he slipped that ring on my finger, as you can imagine, I said yes.

HOT Chocolate Cookies
Recipe adapted from Alice Medrich
Makes about 40 cookies

1 cup whole-grain spelt flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Sucanat (or brown sugar)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons palm sugar (or granulated sugar)
4 tablespoons sweet butter, slightly softened
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Generous pinch of ground black pepper
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Sift the flour, cocoa, soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Combine the sugars in a small bowl and mix well with fingers pressing out any lumps. (Process in a food processor if lumps are stubborn).

In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter and coconut oil until creamy. Add sugar mixture, cinnamon, peppers, and vanilla.

Beat on high speed for about one minute. Beat in egg.

Stop the mixer. Add the flour mixture.

Beat on low speed just until incorporated. Gather the dough together with your hands and form it into a neat 9 to 10-inch log*.

Wrap in waxed paper. Fold or twist ends of paper without pinching or flatting the log.

Chill at least 45 minutes, or until needed. Place oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven preheat to 350 degrees.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Use a sharp knife to slice rounds of chilled dough a scant 1/4-inch thick.

Place 1-inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes.

Cookies will puff and crackle on top, and then begin to settle down slightly when done. Use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Allow cookies to cool completely before storing or stacking. Store in an airtight container up to two weeks, or freeze up to 2 months.

*If you make the log longer and skinnier, you can get smaller cookies, which we like.


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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.

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