Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

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!

Mexican Feast!!
Mexican Feast!!

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.

Mexican Chocolate Cookies
Mexican Chocolate Cookies

If you are not familiar with cacao, be sure to make sure to use this and NOT cocoa! It’s not the same!

Say yes to raw cacao powder!!
Say yes to raw cacao powder!!

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.

Mix the dough with your hands!!
Mix the dough with your hands!!

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!

Warm Mexican Chocolate Cookies with Coconut Ice-cream.
Warm Mexican Chocolate Cookies with Coconut Ice-cream.

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. 

Mexican Chocolate Cookies
Mexican Chocolate Cookies
Mexican Chocolate Cookies (GF, Grain Free)
A rich and spicy adult cookie, best served warm, with a scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream!!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup caster sugar
  2. 1 1/2 cup almond flour or nut flour of your choice
  3. 3/4 cup raw cacao powder
  4. 2 tsp cinnamon
  5. 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  6. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  7. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  8. 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, chopped
  9. 1 egg, beaten
  10. 1 TBS vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. 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.
Notes
  1. Adjust heat according to your preference, by reducing the amount of cayenne or using milk chocolate chips;)
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Olive Roasted Cauliflower with Feta

It's done!
I store my spices in a drawer. It makes it easier to organize;)
I store my spices in a drawer. It makes it easier to organize;)

Now that my herb garden is no longer bursting with fragrant blossoms, I rely on my spice drawer being well stocked. As the winter months draw near, my spice drawer becomes one of my greatest allies in the kitchen. It’s loaded with spices from nearly every continent on earth. Spices such as cumin, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, curries and smoked paprika get a serous workout, in the cold winter months. Their flavors are satisfying, warm and complex.

This weekend, the weather in the Pacific Northwest was relentless. Heavy rain, wind and cold kept us indoors, near the warmth of the fireplace. Finally burned out on roasted squash and sweet potatoes, I turned to the humble cauliflower.

The humble cauliflower.
The humble cauliflower.

Not being discouraged by its lack of color (how boring can this vegetable be?!), I decided it would be my canvas for something wonderful.

I chopped the cauliflower into medium sized, manageable pieces and placed them on a large cookie sheet. Now what? I needed to add something flavorful to add interest to this seemingly boring base.

It's starting to come together!
It’s starting to come together!

I had some leftover pitted olives from our dinner party the week before. Perfect! These olives happened to be lemon and rosemary brined. I added the olives, whole, with their brine, to the cookie sheet, tossed it all together and drizzled some olive oil and a heavy pinch of salt. It seemed too simple, so I added lemon juice, to compliment the flavors of the brine.

Now, it was time to add a spice. I could add any variety of spices, but really, when in doubt, (or for simplicity’s sake), I often go to smoked paprika. It’s complex on its own, yet it blends well with Mediterranean, Latino and Central European flavors.

Smoked Paprika
Smoked Paprika

Plus the smoky flavor adds extra depth to roasted vegetables. So I added 2 TBS over the top and set it all into the oven to roast.

20 minutes later, I checked on it. The fragrance was amazing. All it needed was a quick stir and a few minutes to finish it off. This is the perfect time to add raw nuts. I love adding nuts to my roasted veggies. They add texture, interest and protein to any vegetarian dish.

Roasting up nicely!
Roasting up nicely!

So I tossed in some pine nuts, and a more olive oil to keep things from getting too dry. After 3 minutes back in the oven. It was done…..or was it?

I felt like I needed to continue turning this dish into comfort food….my kind of comfort food. I don’t know about you, but for me cheese is the answer. So I added a hefty handful of crumbled feta. I chose feta because it’s salty, crumbly and works perfect with the olives.

It's done!
It’s done!

All that’s left is a sprinkle of smoked paprika and some chopped parsley. It was delicious. We ate it all, so I’m not sure if it makes good leftovers;)

Olive Roasted Cauliflower with Feta
Serves 3
A hearty side dish or light main entree, full of flavor.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 head of cauliflower chopped into medium sized chunks
  2. 1 1/2- 2 cups of pitted olives of your choice (Rosemary lemon brined)
  3. 1 lemon, juiced
  4. 2 TBS smoked paprika
  5. 1/4 cup pine nuts
  6. 1/8 cup of olive oil, or more, if needed
  7. 2 tsp salt
  8. 3 TBS chopped parsley to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and dry cauliflower. Chop into medium sized chunks. Add to large cookie tray and toss with olives (brine included), olive oil, lemon juice, salt and paprika. Make sure cauliflower is evenly coated. Roast for 15 min, or just long enough for cauliflower to get browned. Remove from oven and toss in pine nuts. Add more olive oil and lemon juice, if cauliflower looks dry. Roast for an additional 3 min, just to brown the pine nuts. Remove from oven, mix in feta cheese and garnish with parsley and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve warm!
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Quinoa Pizza Crust

GF Quinoa Pizza

I’ve been GF for over three years. I gave up on manufactured, GF bread and pasta, years ago. When baking, I tend to gravitate towards the simplest recipes. Let’s face it, it’s very difficult to master GF baking without the addition of weird, binders and flours. So, I’ve gone without sandwiches, flour tortillas and pizza this whole time!

GF Pizza!
GF Pizza!

Pizza has been the most difficult sacrifice! One of my favorite meals, is a rustic style, thin crusted pizza loaded with fresh veggies, gobs of mozzarella and pesto. Well the wait is over! I’ve discovered the most incredible, easy to make, GF pizza dough EVER! All you need are 4 ingredients!

I ran across this link on Pinterest about 6 months ago…Summer No Bake Pizza. The concept was brilliant! The ingredients were simple! Alas, I couldn’t perfect it:( The dough kept sticking to the pan. In the end, it made a mess and it wasn’t pretty……but it was super tasty! It was something between a thin crust pizza and a flatbread.

So, I decided to forget about the stovetop method and opt to using the same recipe in the oven, in an oiled, parchment lined baking sheet. The results were perfect! And in the end, I was able to enjoy a yummy, GF pizza, made of wholesome ingredients, loaded with protein and void of processed junk! Pure heaven!

GF Quinoa Pizza
GF Quinoa Pizza

To start, you must soak 3/4 cup of quinoa overnight, or at least 8 hours. This allows the quinoa to soften up and bulk up! Rinse the quinoa and transfer it to a blender or Vitamix.

Add 1/4 cup of water, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder and herbs. I opted to add a hefty tablespoon of homemade pesto;) Now blend the mixture on high for 2 full minutes. Pour the batter into a small, oiled, parchment lined baking sheet. The parchment paper serves two purposes. One is to keep the batter from sticking and the other is to easily transfer the completed pizza for cutting and serving!

If you use a regular sized baking sheet, the batter will be too thin and will turn out to be more of a cracker! When pouring the batter into the pan, just concentrate on spreading it evenly. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully flip the crust. It will already look toasty and browned;)

After 15 minutes of baking! Now it's ready to flip!
After 15 minutes of baking! Now it’s ready to flip!

Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven. The crust should be perfectly browned!

Perfectly browned and ready for toppings!
Perfectly browned and ready for toppings!

Now for the fun part! Add all of your favorite pizza toppings. For my first pizza, I kept it simple, adding pesto as the base, fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil. Now pop it back into the oven for 5 more minutes, just to heat up the ingredients and melt the cheese. You know it’s done when you see the cheese bubbling:) 

GF Pizza!
GF Pizza!

Transfer onto a large cutting board to slice and serve:) I’ve experimented with all kinds of different toppings!

The finished product!
The finished product!

This pizza was made with pesto, fresh mozzarella and balsamic roasted veggies (green tomatoes, peppers, onion, eggplant and corn)!

A fun variety of balsamic roasted veggies!
A fun variety of balsamic roasted veggies!

A simple, elegant meal when served with a green salad and a glass of wine:) I’m thinking of making a large batch of crusts next time and freezing them! I’d love to hear about your creations! Let me know!

Quinoa Pizza Crust
Yields 1
A clean and easy GF pizza crust;)
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Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup quinoa
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 1-2 TBS pesto or fresh herbs
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp baking powder
  6. Your favorite pizza toppings
Instructions
  1. Cover quinoa with water
  2. Soak quinoa for 8 hours
  3. Rinse well
  4. Place rinsed quinoa into Vitamix or blender with all ingredients
  5. Blend on high for 2 minutes
  6. Pour into small, oiled, parchment lined baking sheet
  7. Bake at 425 for 10-15 min
  8. Remove from oven and flip over to bake the other side
  9. Bake for another 5-10 minutes
  10. Remove from oven and add toppings
  11. Bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling!
Adapted from The Pancake Princess
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