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Recipe for Mexican chocolate cookies

Mexican chocolate cookies

Until my husband Ted, Cousin Martin and I visited Tlacolula, a small village near Oaxaca, on a New Year's Eve some years ago, I didn't really "get" Mexican chocolate. The only business open on the holiday, save for the three-table restaurant where we had the most incredible mole colorado of all time, was the village grindery, where people would bring their grain, coffee or chocolate to be ground. As we walked along the main street, we caught the distinct aromas of chocolate and cinnamon which, together with sugar, make what we know as Mexican chocolate. These cookies don't use actual Mexican chocolate but they incorporate all of the key flavors, plus the tiniest bit of cayenne pepper, which doesn't make the cookies spicy, but simply must be there. The first time we made them, we used a Scharffen Berger mocha dark chocolate bar, and the addition of the coffee taste took these cookies over the top.

Mexican chocolate cookies

Mexican chocolate cookies

From the pantry, you'll need: bittersweet chocolate, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, instant espresso, baking powder, table salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, sugar, butter, egg, pure vanilla extract.

Adapted from Cooking Light Quick Baking, a magazine special, and baked by Ted. Makes 32 cookies.


5 oz bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp instant espresso (optional)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp confectioners sugar, for dusting (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with Silpats (silicone mats) or parchment paper, and set aside.

Place the chocolate in a glass bowl, and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute or until almost melted, stirring until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, espresso, baking powder, salt, black pepper and red pepper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar and softened butter, and beat until well blended. Add the egg, and beat well. Add cooled chocolate and vanilla, and beat just until blended. Then add the flour mixture, and beat until just blended.

Drop dough by level tablespoons (or use a small scoop with a release) 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, or until almost set. Remove from the oven, and let the cookies cool on the pans for 2 minutes or until set. Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. The cookies will be crackly on the outside, and chewy on the inside.

Just before serving, dust with confectioners sugar.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Señora Gonzales' chicken with mole colorado
Mexican chocolate "diablo" cupcakes
Mexican chocolate pots de creme
Chocolate-mango-kiwi wontons

Other recipes that use these ingredients:
Bittersweet chocolate cake, from Simply Recipes
Bittersweet chocolate tartlets, from Dessert First
Rosemary and bittersweet chocolate quick bread, from Family Style Food
Flourless bittersweet chocolate chili cake with salted caramel gelato, from Chez Us
Bittersweet chocolate and pistachio biscotti, from Jane's Sweets & Baking Journal

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


These look really good! Very interesting with the pepper in them. Would love to taste!

This looks yummy....you have a lovely blog.

Oh, Lydia, this is another recipe that will have to be converted to gluten free! Very soon. ;-) These look fabulous and I so love travel-inspired recipes! :-)

Those cookies look amazing! I remember when I was in Oaxaca walking down the street with all the chocolate grinderies... the scent is intoxicatingly amazing.

Mexican chocolate sure is a great thing to "get", isn't it? :-) Love the sound of these cookies, I can't wait to try them.

Maris, chocolate and chile is a popular combination in Mexican chocolate (think mole sauces), and it's just as good in these cookies.

Aarthi, thanks so much.

Shirley, I hope the g-free version has every bit of the flavor of the originals. Not sweet but very complex in flavor. If you post a g-free version, please come back and leave a link here or on our Facebook page.

Julia, isn't the smell amazing? It just drew me in right off the street.

Kathy, I always have some real Mexican chocolate in the pantry. And I'll bet that would work well in this recipe, too.

This is calling to me -- and it's getting louder. If I use the Mexican chocolate, would I sub by weight?

Susan, I'd substitute the chocolate by weight, but cut down on the sugar and cinnamon. It would be a total experiment, but a fun one. Let me know how you make out if you try it.

These look and sound terrific! I love the chocolate, cinnamon, pepper combination!

These look dangerous, but I'm feeling a little
adventurous. I'm making them tonight!

That really looks and sounds good!

These look amazing and I love the pinches of pepper, they liven up a cookie perfectly.

I had to do a double-take when I saw the photo for these. I thought they were meat patties - oops! The first time I had a pepper and chocolate combination was about a year ago. It was an odd, and yet really satisfying blend of flavors. I've been trying to find a recipe where I could put those two ingredients together again. It also works really well in a paleta, too. Great recipe - thanks for sharing!

JUST made these and it's like tasting a little bit of heaven in every bite. Thank You!

Aimee, Angela, Papacheong, Kitchen Magpie: yes, indeed, these cookies are delicious and you can really taste the pepper, chile and coffee, though no one flavor jumps out at you.

Chelsey, pepper and chocolate is a traditional Mexican combination. I've really come to love it.

Chris, I'm so glad you like them!

I made these tonight and I'm a little disappointed. They didn't spread nearly as much as the pictures suggest; I think they need about twice as much butter as the recipe calls for.

I used dark chocolate (72%) instead of bittersweet, which might have killed the pepper flavors; either that or I just didn't use enough. The cookies taste fine, they're just not spicy enough (and I tend to be really sensitive to spice, so that's a weird thing for me to say).

Next time I'll use a whole stick of butter and up the pepper amounts, maybe to 1/8 tsp each or so. Hopefully they'll turn out better.

Alice, I'm sorry the cookies didn't work for you. As to pepper, I think it's a tricky balance when you use chocolate and cayenne together. The cookies shouldn't scream "pepper"; rather, the peppers add a slight undertone to the chocolate. As to doubling the butter, that will no doubt make them spread more, and also will make them less "light", but they'll surely taste good!

These were a big hit as a dessert to a "Taco Night" event at my church. I used Hersey's Special Dark chocolate (which is a 45% cocoa). Not as bold a chocolate flavor as the original recipe, but still very good.

I just received some Mexican chocolate as a gift, which included an ounce of Salt & Pepper chocolate. I was wandering the Net, wondering "what in blazes does one do with salt and pepper chocolate?" and that led me here. Now I'm so excited, I can't wait to try these cookies!

Another fabulous treat from the woman who claims she cannot bake! These look and sound fabulous! Thanks for resharing!

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