Make Ahead

South of the Border Chocolate Cookies

December 19, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Makes 40 to 50 cookies
Author Notes

The fabulous mrslarkin turned me onto the Mint Chocolate Cookies from Bon Appetit. They are a fantastic cookie with a great balance of chocolate and mint, and if you follow mrslarkin's recommendation of baking them for 9 minutes they turn out chewy and delicious. I made some for a cookie swap, and they were a big hit. I only had Dutched cocoa powder on hand, so eliminated the baking soda and increased the baking powder to a tablespoon (to account for the loss of acid). They turned out perfectly, though maybe not quite as good as mrslarkins!
Of course my mind jumped to a flavor variation idea – What if they had a Mexican chocolate flavor profile? I decided to tinker, and was quite pleased with the outcome, so am sharing the recipe. I use a mix of turbinado and metallic gold crystal sugar (or edible 24kt gold powder) to make them look especially festive, and add a little bit of crunch as a counterpoint to the soft cookie. Hope you enjoy! —hardlikearmour

What You'll Need
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar (12.25 oz)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (10 oz)
  • 1 cup dutched cocoa powder (3.25 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne - see cook's note at end of recipe
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup (or more) turbinado or crystal sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F with a rack near the middle. Line 2 to 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
  2. Cream sugar and butter using a stand or hand mixer, until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs and extracts, and beat until well-combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Add them to the sugar and butter mixture, and mix on low speed until the flour has been incorporated. Increase to medium speed and mix until well-combined, another minute or two.
  3. Roll dough into 1- to 1 1/4-inch diameter balls, then roll balls in sugar. Place 12 to 15 balls on prepared baking sheets – stagger 3 rows each of 2 and 3 balls to get 15 on a sheet. Flatten balls slightly, so they are about ¾-inch thick . Bake one sheet at a time for 9 to 9 ½ minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 5 minutes. The cookies will look puffy, and may seem like they're not done, but they will be perfect! Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing the cookies to a cooling rack. Once cool store in a sealed container to maintain perfect texture for at least several days.
  4. Cook's notes: 1.) 1/2-teaspoon cayenne gives a pleasant warmth to the back of your throat after eating a cookie or two. If you're not a fan of heat, feel free to scale back or omit the cayenne. 2.) If you prefer to use regular cocoa powder just add 1 teaspoon baking soda and decrease baking powder to 1/2 teaspoon.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • csegher
  • nannydeb
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • lapadia
  • EmilyC
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

30 Reviews

csegher September 26, 2015
Ok I finally got around to making these cookies. Chili and chocolate are fantastic together and I find no exception here except for one thing: the almond flavor takes away from the perfect marriage. It's very strong. I love almond cookies, marzipan, etc. but here it was a lot. I'll make them again but next time without the almond addition. Perhaps a couple of tsp of strong coffee or a little more vanilla. They are texturally delicious and the turbinado sugar adds amazing shine and crunch.
Curlytexan February 8, 2015
Made these according to recipe and they are fabulous! I will definitely make them again. Thank you!
nannydeb October 19, 2013
Sara, I just made these and they are fantastic! I made them for my neighbor and now I have to make more for me! thanks!
LeBec F. September 8, 2013
hla, skimming through some of this Spicy contest's entries and i find this recipe which i still haven't gotten to! Only now, i have some almond paste on hand, so i think i'm going to try them just as created by you, and then with a ball of almond paste in the middle of the cookie. Will let you know how they turn out!
hardlikearmour September 10, 2013
Definitely let me know how they turn out. I'm sure the almond paste will be a delicious surprise.
lapadia September 7, 2013
Yay this recipe some cookie love, they are Excellent!!
hardlikearmour September 10, 2013
I've definitely gotten some rave reviews when I've served them! Thansk for the cookie love.
EmilyC February 18, 2012
HLA -- made your cookies today with my son; they're so, so delicious! We omitted the cayenne, doubled the vanilla (didn't have almond extract), and used regular cocoa powder based on your notes. I love the step of rolling them in turbinado sugar. Upon first bite of a warm cookie, my son got a huge smile on his face. I've heard many times today..."more cookie, momma."
hardlikearmour February 19, 2012
I'm thrilled you made them, and I'm ecstatic you and your son both enjoyed them!
aargersi February 14, 2012
Everyone should know I made these for Christmas and they are FANTASTIC. I would have taste tested more than 3-4 myself but my nephew grabbed the WHOLE BAG and made off with them after he tasted them. I was lucky to get what I did. Rotten kids.
hardlikearmour February 14, 2012
I'm thrilled you made and enjoyed them! Darned nephew!
TheWimpyVegetarian February 14, 2012
I've made these too - and thought they were one of the best cookies I've ever made! I unfortunately had to share with my husband. Bummer.
hardlikearmour February 14, 2012
*blush* Thanks much, CS! Good thing you love your husband!
TheWimpyVegetarian February 14, 2012
No Kidding. :-)
LeBec F. February 12, 2012
hla, i forgot to ask you, as i look at this recipe again, when you bake them for 9 minutes, are these chewy- like Molasses Crinkles? I am not a fan of cake like cookies! thnx again.
hardlikearmour February 12, 2012
They are chewy, much like a molasses spice cookie, and not cakey in the least.
LeBec F. January 17, 2012
Hi hla, I'm new to food52; have spent the last couple of days entering recipes in the Citrus contest, and looking through recipes. I have been sidetracked today looking through your many intriguing recipes! I wondered what you thought of this: for some reason, when i was looking at your photo of these cookies, an image popped into my head of a lighter brown molten center. What about a creamy gianduja that would ooze out a bit when you bit into a cookie? There is a product called Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter that I happen to have bought...maybe if i added a bit of heavy cream to it, rolled it into a small ball and then put that ball inside a ball of choco cookie dough. Maybe i'll try a room temp gianduja ball and also a frozen gianduja ball.... What do you think,hla?
hardlikearmour January 17, 2012
Hi, LBF. It's definitely an interesting idea! I have no idea if/how it would work, but think it's definitely worth an experiment or two. I'd love to hear how it works if you do give it a go!
stellaelizabethx January 13, 2012
Very delicious! The cayenne pepper definitely adds a wonderful warmth, and I like the subtle hint of almond. I think next time I will use a little less cayenne though, it was almost too much warmth. They are a bit time-consuming, more than I predicted. The combining of the butter and sugar mixture with the dry mixture took longer than is typical with cookies in my opinion because the dry mixture outweighed the wet in ratio. Well worth it though!
hardlikearmour January 13, 2012
Thanks for your feedback, stella! Heat level is definitely a personal preference. I've fed the cookies to a dozen or so people, and one adult and one child thought they were way too spicy. I'm glad you enjoyed them; they are my new favorite cookie, and I've made 4 batches already!!
drbabs December 23, 2011
I'm so glad I found this! We're a little cookie'd out these days but I'm saving them for some day soon. Happy holidays, hla!
hardlikearmour December 23, 2011
Thank you, drbabs! I know what you mean about being cookie'd out, but these will be good anytime of year.
TheWimpyVegetarian December 23, 2011
The first batch just came out of the oven, and they're amazing. How did you know I wanted to make chocolate cookies today? Happy Holiday, HLA!
hardlikearmour December 23, 2011
I'm thrilled you tried them! I packaged up and gave away 3/4th of the batch I made. I was afraid my husband and I would eat them all. Happy Holidays to you too, CS!
lapadia December 20, 2011
"Seriously addictively insanely delicious", hla! :)
hardlikearmour December 20, 2011
You've got that right, lapadia! I had to package them up so we'd stop eating them.
aargersi December 19, 2011
I am SO making these for Christmas, they look amazing! Nice photo too!!!
hardlikearmour December 19, 2011
Thanks, aargersi! I think you will love them.
mrslarkin December 19, 2011
Awesome adaptation, hla! Can't wait to try this version. I'm loving the sanding sugar - so sparkly!
hardlikearmour December 19, 2011
Thanks, mrsL! I'd have never made them if it wasn't for you!