Recently, I wanted to bring a dessert to a potluck where I knew there would be chocoholics but was looking for something a little different. This cookie is inspired by one of my favorite movies, “Chocolat”, where she often added a bit of spice to her chocolates. It has some Cayenne pepper and cinnamon to balance out the sweetness of the chocolate and sugar. It’s a variation of a recipe I saw in Better Homes and Garden magazine but I found that recipe way too sweet for me so I adjusted the spices, cut back on the sugar and used a chocolate with a higher (86%) cocoa percentage. If you want a sweeter cookie use more sugar and 60% cocoa chocolate bars. Pulsing the broken up chocolate bars in the food processor worked great. The few pieces that were too big I whacked with a small hammer before pulsing in the processor, so satisfying😀.
I also made a batch with bittersweet chocolate chips which tasted OK but the chips stayed intact and I didn’t want them to look like chocolate chip cookies; plus they didn’t get very crackly on top compared to the ones made with chocolate bars chopped up.
My intention was for a nice crackle top and some of them came out great but I clearly have not mastered that technique and after making 3 batches I have had enough of chocolate and sugar for the rest of the year! I gave most of them away but I had to sample them first, right? They do freeze well which helped keep them out of my reach! Something about the cayenne and chocolate made them hard for me to resist and I am not usually a big chocolate eater.
There were rave reviews and requests for the recipe from several people so that made them qualify for a blog post. They have an egg and some butter in them so are not vegan but they are vegetarian! You could also try them with gluten-free flour.
SPICY CHOCOLATE CINNAMON COOKIES (makes about 3 dozen)
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup dark-brown sugar (1/2 cup makes a not-too-sweet cookie)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 12 oz. dark chocolate (60- 85% cacao), pulse in food processor = 2 1/3 cups
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar for sparkle top
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Break up the chocolate bars, place in a food processor and pulse until you have small pieces but not too powdery.
- In medium bowl whisk flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda and cayenne powder until well mixed.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and the brown sugar on medium-high speed until it is very light and fluffy. This may take a few minutes. Add egg and vanilla and continue to beat until will mixed.
- Turn speed down to low and slowly add the blended dry ingredients, just mixing until it forms a stiff dough. DO NOT OVER MIX. It will be a very dry dough!
- Stir in all the ground up chocolate pieces. Use a big wooden spoon for this, not a mixer.
- Make small balls of dough, about an inch in size. Roll each ball in the turbinado sugar to coat the outside and place on baking sheets lined with parchment or silpat.
- Bake about 12 – 15 minutes until the surface starts to crack (hopefully!).
- Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to completely cool before storing or eating! When they are completely cool you can put them in plastic bags and freeze some or store them in an airtight container for a few days, if they last that long 😋