Monday, July 25, 2005

More of Maida: Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Lest you think that I am posting all of Maida Heatter's recipes, be assured that this one is quite popular. It was published in Saveur magazine earlier this year, too. So I have no qualms about publishing it, again, here.
These are icebox cookies, the slice-and-bake variety of cookies that are great to have in your freezer because the dough will keep for weeks and you can baked them off as you crave them. This specific cookie is no ordinary cookie, however. Because of its use of a variety of spices, the cookie tastes much better as it ages and the flavors have a chance to meld. This is a characteristic of many spice-filled products, from chili to gingerbread. The spices included here are cinnamon, cocoa and cayenne pepper. The cookies will have a tiny hint of pepper when they first come out of the oven, but after ageing for several days, the spice will be noticeable.
I love the heat from these cookies. It makes them fun to eat and they pair wonderfully with hot cocoa or coffee. In the summer, though, I think they make perfect little ice cream sandwiches. Use vanilla or dulce de leche for an amazing snack. You can even make the sandwiches ahead of time and store them, wrapped, in your freezer for emergency snacking.

Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies
1 1/2 cups ap flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
Sift together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in vanilla extract and egg. Gradually add flour mixture until dough is uniform in color and no unmixed flour remains.
Shape in two 9" long logs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Make sure your wrapping is airtight.
Freeze overnight or up to 6 weeks.
When ready to use, preheat your oven to 375F and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookies should feel a bit firm at the edges. Store in an airtight container when cool.
Makes 4 dozen