Double Chocolate and Chilli Cookies

October 19, 2009
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
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

  • Makes 20 cookies
  • 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)
In This Recipe
  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!!

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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.