Double Chocolate and Chilli Cookies

October 19, 2009
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 20 cookies
Author Notes

A few months back the gloom that is june in la inspired me to bake. I needed something that would warm the home and the heart. I knew that mole combined chocolate and chili and thought i would try and put the combination together in a cookie ... about a bajillion trys later viola ... u have this amazingly chewy, chocolaty, spicy cookie. I am really into the history of food and did a little research ... here is what i found ----> The chocolate chili connection is an Aztec concoction. Aztecs associated chocolate with Xochiquetzal, the goddess of fertility. Chocolate was consumed in a bitter, spicy drink called xocol?tl, often seasoned with vanilla, chile pepper, and achiote (aka annatto). Xocol?tl was believed to fight fatigue, a belief that can be attributed to the theobromine content ( it's kinda like caffeine) So um yeah ... who said chocolate wasn’t good for you?!?! And chocolate with a kick ... insta party! —amreen

Test Kitchen Notes

So in theory, January marks the time when we should all be tired of cookies and hunkering down as a people with some sort of juice concoctions made with our new blenders, watching the debates and trying to remember where we stored the anti-freeze.

I’ll admit there were about four days after Christmas when I didn’t want to eat any more sweets. But then I got over it, although I craved something new.

I cooked out of a new cookie book that my friend Elisabeth gave me, and I combed this site. It felt momentarily frightening to discover how many cookies here I have already tried, but I did stumble into some new territory with Double Chocolate and Chilli Cookies.

So, these cookies have a controversial past, which in the baking world means that the final product was cake-like, and not crispy, as the photo implied it would be. This sparked a considerable amount of back and forth, and amreen posted a whole new set of proportions in the comment section, which formed the recipe I set out to make.

I instantly had to go into improvisational mode, because I did not have enough white sugar (I substituted with a half cup of turbinado sugar and a handful of brown to make up for my shortcomings) and because I was out of chocolate chips, I chopped up a cup of good chocolate into chunks.

I would like to pause here to ponder why most writers do not indicate whether or not one needs natural or Dutch process cocoa for their recipe. I suppose it is because natural cocoa is everyone’s default, and Dutch process comes up on a need-to-know basis, but it matters because they are not interchangeable as the latter does not react with baking soda. I feel a deep well of sadness for the baker who has invested in Dutch process cocoa for her larder, only to be foiled by it but not realizing that natural is needed. I have used this space to beg for clarification on all matters chocolate in the past. Let’s come together as a community to right this cookbook wrong. (Learn more about cocoa powder here.)

So back to the recipe: you start with the creaming of butter and sugar (I added the eggs and vanilla three minutes into the butter sugar dance in the mixer) and sifting up those dry ingredients. Put your dough in the fridge while you get some parchment paper for your cookie sheet (my tweak, the author calls for ungreased cookie sheets) and get someone a glass of juice, even though said person is sitting inches from the fridge but has a strange preference for your pouring techniques.

Jenny makes her cookies on the big side, which is one of many don’t-live-like-Jenny pieces of advice I have for you; keep them on the smaller side and they will cook in seven to eight minutes. They won’t look fully done, and will be on the fragile side, but just trust me that in fact they are and let them cool on the pan for a few minutes before setting them to the rack.

I must report that even with more butter than the original recipe, my cookies were still more fragile tea cake than crispy bad ass, which was okay by me as they were rich and surprising.

I gave bacon girl the first bite, who proclaimed them delicious, for exactly ten seconds. Then, she started running for a glass of milk. Hot pepper, she asked? Well cayenne. “Mom, kids don’t have a spicy taste bud.” Then she grabbed some ice cream.

My husband and I loved them. The fact that the heat comes after the bite of rich chocolate, a mouth pre cooling system of sorts, is really fun and delicious. The incipient came home from volleyball practice, grabbed a cookie, took her first bite, smiled. Then wide eyes. Reached for water. “They are really good.” Polished off.

This morning I took a bag of them around the office, feeling that a reaction to a spicy cookie is a personality litmus test of sorts. They were largely popular, though one colleague said they should not be served for breakfast (fair enough) and others craved a flatter, chewier texture. Any ideas out there?

(We edited the measurements of this recipe to reflect the changes amreen made in the comments section.) —Jestei

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 sticks butter - softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 cup Walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl beat together the butter, sugar egg & vanilla ---> whip until creamy.
  3. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, chili & cinnamon.
  4. Pour 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, beat until incorporated. Repeat until it is all combined.
  5. Incorporate the chocolate chips into the batter. Let the batter firm up in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  6. Use a teaspoon to spoon the batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake the cookies for 7-8 minutes ----> you will get perfectly chewy cookies :D
  8. Let the cookies cool and consume with caution!!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • sheila356
  • greenchilemaven
  • kbehroozi
  • hope.thurman
  • Helen
I am one of the rare northern Cali girls who hearts LA. My family hails from India via Kenya and being a good little south asian i spent many of my young years in the kitchen. Surrounded by good food from birth (thanks mom!) i have always loved cooking, eating and learning about food. In recent years i have developed an interest in the history of food and its cultural connection particularly in how imperialism and colonization has had an influence on cuisines of the world. This blog is my way of exploring the amazing web of nourishment that sustains us.

22 Reviews

chrgee January 23, 2021
Love this recipe! I think the amount of spice is perfect; sometimes I feel like these recipes go a little too light on the chili, and this recipe has just enough to give a kick. I did leave them in for a bit longer than the recipe says (about 10 minutes) and they came put perfect. Will definitely be making these again!
sheila356 September 1, 2013
Sweet or savory, you can't go wrong with chocolate and chili! This recipe is wonderful. The only change I made was to use half granulated sugar and half brown sugar. I find this makes for a chewy cookie. Thank you so much.
Marymama November 4, 2012
I made these yesterday and scaled them with a 1 oz scoop. I put in fridge to firm up and then 7 minutes, they just didn't seem done and they didn't spread much. I wonder if the cocoa should be reduced some...seemed like a little too much because the dough was very dry and thick. I also cut back the cayenne to 1/2 tsp...they tasted great, but I was looking for chewier. I ended up baking fro probably 10-12 minutes.
amreen January 18, 2013
hey there! i totally have that problem too sometimes they turn out cackey ... i haven't been putting them in the fridge and that helps, baking is a total science experiment to me ... still haven't gotten it quite down yet. Let me know what you try :)
greenchilemaven January 31, 2012
I would definitely use parchment paper on the cookie sheet.
RisaCooks January 15, 2012
This looks like my type of cookie. I made Chipotle Brownies for a Pot Luck I went to 12 years ago (it was filmed for The Food Network - "Eat the Heat" was the name of the show). I love the combination of chocolate and chile. I will make these.
russbrent January 13, 2012
these are pretty terrific. not sure how you ended up with only 20 cookies, I got over 5 dozen. there's a small bite at the back of the throat but no real fire, and I'm a wimp when it comes to spicy. I had edit spices as I ran out of cinnamon (who ever runs out of cinnamon?!?) after 3/4 t and made up difference with 1/4 t cardamom. yum! sent these to the office with the husband and they raved about them - will make these again.
kbehroozi September 18, 2010
Just tried this recipe and it looks as though you might have transcribed it wrong (compared to the one on your website).

The resulting cookies had good flavor but were cakey, not chewy, and didn't look like your picture. But when I went to your website, I read that you actually used 3/4 cup of butter instead of 1/2 cup, and 1 cup of flour (not 1 1/3) and also significantly less cocoa powder (1/8 cup). So, if the pictures above were taken of the recipe on your website, it's no wonder that they had a nicer spread.

I'm thinking of adding chili and cinnamon to another recipe on this site:
amreen September 23, 2010
can i preface this with a thank you sooooo much for your comments?!?!?! and add to that a note about me: I love cooking, and throwing things together and being a science teacher i love experimenting! these tendencies work well with everything but baking ... which is something i have yet to master! I love the idea of these cookies ... and the cooker in me is never very good at measuring things ... so sometimes these cookes work ... and sometimes they don't?!?!? I will say that I tried a new version today with lovley results (almost like the ones pictured above ... tho i will say im not quite sure how those got that way) I'm going to try and edit the above recipe to reflect my new findings but please experiment and let me know what you find! :D
amreen September 23, 2010
hmmmmm ok so i can't seem to edit it. here goes a renewed attempt at these babies!

* 2 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 2 sticks butter, softened
* 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs, beaten
* 1 tablespoon vanilla
* 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
* 1 tsp cayanne powder
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 1 cups chocolate chips
* 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
amreen September 23, 2010
follow the steps in the recipe with the ingredients above this comment ... get your bake on and let me know how it turns out :D
solmstea April 23, 2010
I just whipped up a batch of these and they were so easy to make and quite delicious. But your cookies look really flat, so I was assuming they would spread out a bit as they cooked. Mine did not spread much at all. Did you flatten yours before baking?
amreen April 28, 2010
hey solmstea, glad u liked them ... i find them dangerously addictive! Baking is a new sport for me and in making the perfect chewey cookies I have had to do some experimenting ... i didn't flatten mine but I think the pic above was taken when i used batter that wasn't chilled so that they melted quickly ... on my blog there are some comments about making good cookies ... let me know how the next batch turns out!
solmstea April 28, 2010
Yeah, I didn't chill mine either. Maybe my chocolate chips were bigger than yours. In any case, I will make them again regardless.
hope.thurman February 4, 2010
These cookies are incredible. I am a cookie monster and am always trying to invent new combinations. The spice in these is just right with the chocolate-I'm obsessed! When I finished my first one I couldn't stop thinking about a scene in the movie Chocolat when two characters are drinking hot cocoa with chili powder! If you haven't seen the movie, it's mouth-watering!!
amreen April 2, 2010
oh i love that movie, it was definately an inspiration! would love to hear about any changes/additions you ever made to the recipe ... or what you love to eat them with :D
Helen October 19, 2009
I think you forgot to put the chili in the ingredient list!
amreen October 21, 2009
thank you sooo much helen!!! will update the recipe tomorrow :D gonna do a couple last minute re-touches and try and take a better picture :D
Helen October 19, 2009
I think you forgot to put the chili in the ingredient list!
Helen October 19, 2009
I think you forgot to put the chili in the ingredient list!
amreen October 21, 2009
thank you helen!!! will update the recipe tomorrow :D
amreen October 21, 2009
thank you sooo much helen!!! will update the recipe tomorrow :D gonna do a couple last minute re-touches and try and take a better picture :D