(Ugly) Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

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I think David Sedaris is the funniest person in the world. In addition to watching Die Hard (since it’s set during Christmas), reading “SantaLand Diaries” and “Six to Eight Black Men” is a Christmas Eve tradition. There’s nothing like cinematic explosions and stories of Christmas shenanigans to get you in the holiday mood.

Choosing a favorite David Sedaris book or story is hard since all of them leave me COL’ing (chuckling out loud). Perhaps it’s because When You Are Engulfed In Flames is the first book of his I read, it might be my favorite. “The Smoking Section” very briefly talks about hotel posters and brochures that depict pantastic deep dish pizzas, appetizers, bacon, and nachos, and how they’re just not photogenic. While bacon and nachos are delicious, I have to agree. They never look very appetizing in pictures.

Yesterday I blogged about the amazing carnitas I made. Since I find dessert integral to any meal, I needed to find an appropriate sweet ending. The thought of flan crossed my mind but then I remembered reading a post on The Amateur Gourmet about Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies. I love Mexican Hot Chocolate and I love cookies. Seemed like a match made in heaven so I went ahead and made a few changes and served ‘em up with my carnitas (coincidentally Adam Roberts served these with carnitas as well). While I absolutely loved the taste and texture of these cookies, they should be added to David Sedaris’s list of unphotogenic foods. They’re… ummm… probably the ugliest things I’ve made in quite a while. Don’t let that bother you too much. Your taste buds will thank you.  And yeah, Adam’s turned out much prettier than mine.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Adapted from The Amateur Gourmet where it was from Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook.

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup very fine walnuts
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder or finely ground coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • About 1/4 cup granulated sugar for dusting

1. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Add flour to a medium bowl.

3. In a food processor, pulse walnuts into a very fine crumb. I think this may be why my cookies looked so ugly. Adam’s recipe called for ½ cup of almond flour and mentioned you could finely pulse almonds as an alternative. Someone eating the cookies doesn’t eat almonds and I figured if you could finely pulse almonds you could do the same to walnuts. I could be wrong, and who knows, maybe you just can’t substitute finely pulsed nuts for flour. It’s also important to note that making nuts into a fine powder is tricky, since the oils release and it’s easy to turn it into a paste or butter. At any rate, add your finely pulsed walnuts or almonds (or, if you eat almonds, it’s probably just easier to use almond flour) to your all-purpose flour and set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer), cream the butter on medium speed until it is extremely light in color and fluffy (this will take a few minutes).

5. Reduce speed and add in brown sugar, continue to cream for another minute or so.

6. Add in vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon, espresso, salt, and cayenne and mix until mixture is smooth, another minute or so.

7. Gradually add in your flour mixture and mix until combined.

8. With a spatula, give the bowl a few good stirs to make sure everything is combined and then add mini chocolate chips.

9. The original recipe calls for using a small ice cream scoop to form cookies. The Amateur Gourmet and I both liked the idea of larger cookies, so I just divided the dough into 14 even portions for a total of 14 cookies. I rolled them into little balls, placed on my baking sheets, and flattened with the bottom of a glass and then sprinkled with a bit of granulated sugar. Once this step is complete you’ll want to place the trays in the fridge for at least an hour (mine were in there for about 3).

10. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time for even doneness. Cool the cookies completely on wire racks.

The texture of these cookies was almost fudgy. They were dense, buttery, creamy, and rich. The spices added great flavor and they were perfectly chocolaty. While baked goods are always better the day they’re made, the texture of these improved the next morning (yes, I had these for breakfast, don’t judge).

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