I have been on a Mexican cooking adventure lately! Growing up in a large, Mexican American family, we celebrated Christmas with Mexican food. This food is integral to my upbringing and to how I continue to celebrate the holidays! Now that the holidays are over, I’d like to share with you this powerhouse cookie that you can enjoy, all year!
Tamales, enchiladas, pozole, beans…..yum! This year, it was just Jason and I celebrating Christmas Day, so I decided I needed a simple dessert that we could enjoy for at least a few days past the holiday. I decided to stick with the Mexican theme and make Mexican Chocolate Cookies. Something about the richness of the chocolate and the intensity of cayenne spice appealed to me. As an added bonus, chocolate is one of the easiest desserts to make gluten free!
I had found a couple good recipes on the internet in the last couple months, so I took a risk and combined them into my own recipe. The base of the cookie was simply almond flour (or any nut flour), cacao powder, cayenne, cinnamon, vanilla (Mexican, of course!), semisweet chocolate and caster sugar.
If you are not familiar with cacao, be sure to make sure to use this and NOT cocoa! It’s not the same!
Raw cacao is made by cold pressing the un-roasted cacao beans, keeping the living enzymes intact and removing the fat. This helps to maintain the nutritional benefits, including the high antioxidant levels. It also allows you to be in control of the amount of sugar you use, be cause it is unsweetened. Also, be sure to use caster sugar. It’s super fine and helps keep the texture less chunky. I also added baking soda and baking powder, to help get the cookies to rise and an egg to moisten the dough. You might think that the one egg is insufficient, but it comes together quite nicely if you use your hands. Go ahead! No one is looking;)
Once the dough is fully incorporated, add the chocolate chips. I made the mistake of not chopping up my chocolate chips. I recommend chopping the chocolate chips up, as finely as possible.
It will melt into the dough more uniformly and add a more gooey texture. Now, form your dough into a ball, cover it with plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour. One of the recipes that I read, included these instructions, so I’ve added them here….not sure if this is necessary, but they turned out yummy, so I’ll leave it up to you, if you decide not to include this step!
Once the dough is chilled, you can start measuring out large, tablespoon sized, balls of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. You don’t want them to be too big. At this size, they cook up nicely. Also, considering their rich flavor, anything larger, might be overkill. Once they are lined up on the cookie sheet, you can gently press down on them to flatten them out. While you are in-between batches, be sure to keep the dough chilled:)
They only take 10 minutes or so to bake up. Straight out of the oven they are sublime. Rich, spicy with intense chocolate flavor, these are not for the faint of heart. Of course, you can tame them down a bit by using less cayenne or by using milkchocolate chips, but I urge you, to give these a try! I found them to be a medium spice level. My husband thought that they were mild. That being said, adjust accordingly!
By serving them up warm with a scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream, you can greatly reduce the heat level, as well! They keep well for days without getting to crispy.
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 1/2 cup almond flour or nut flour of your choice
- 3/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 TBS vanilla extract
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, using your hands to carefully blend. When dough is fully mixed, roll it into a large ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop dough into hefty 1 TBS sized balls and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Lightly flatten each cookie with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes. Do not overcook. Enjoy warm with ice cream of your choice. Will keep, covered, for 5 days.
- Adjust heat according to your preference, by reducing the amount of cayenne or using milk chocolate chips;)