Icebox cookies are difficult. There is simply no instant gratification. And I have to admit, my mother’s tireless efforts to make me a patient person, steadily working to achieve my desires, have failed miserably - we laugh about it to this day - I want instant gratification. I’m no Veruca Salt, at least I hope not, but I do understand her mentality. And so it happened, that when I tried to make these lovely little Mexican chocolate cookies from this year’s Saveur 100, I couldn’t resist just baking 2 after only 2 hours or so in the icebox (I’m sorry, I just love that word, icebox). Husband tried then and complained that the flavors weren’t balanced, and I thought he was just being petty - they’re Mexican chocolate! Spicy, and not American! (To be fair, the recipe comes from San Antonio, but still.) And so they sat, in their little parchment logs, as I tried to decide whether to lick my wounds from husband’s criticism and go ahead and bake them, or simply toss them out. They sat there for 2 days, while the cayenne seeped into the cocoa, flavors uniting and growing. So yesterday, I decided that I may as well bake them, for I like Mexican chocolate and maybe I can think of some way to improve them. Yum! They do pack more heat than their chocolaty appearance would let on, but everyone at work liked them. Even one person who initially made a face after one bite reconsidered, and ended up eating 3. Husband, who dislikes all cookies except Pepperidge Farms Bordeaux cookies (a wine snob even in relation to cookies), surprised me by eating at least 4. Nonetheless, I believe that I will make them again but add a little grated semisweet chocolate to the mix. I think the melting chocolate will carry the heat nicely, smoothing it out just a touch.
The really nice thing about this recipe is that I had all of the ingredients on hand, making it a nice little amuse to whip up when you can’t think of anything else, and you have at least one day to patiently await their arrival on the cooling rack.
Mexican Chocolate Cookies
½ cup flour
3/4 cup dutch-process cocoa
½ tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp freshly grated black pepper (fine grain)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
12 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
stir together the flour through Cinnamon and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle, beat the egg, vanilla and sugar until light. Stir in the cocoa mixture, and then cut in the butter just until blended. Form in to sticky 9" logs with hands and place on sheets of parchment or wax paper; wrap like candy, twisting ends. Place in refrigerator OVERNIGHT!! No cheating.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice each long into 1/3 discs and place 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake about 9 minutes, or until surface is dry. Transfer to cooling racks, eating at least one immediately.