Sunday, December 28, 2008

Aztec Cookies

I found this recipe just before Christmas, and knew I had to make it for our Christmas Dinner, for several reasons. The idea of spicy chili and chocolate together is not new, but is one that I have enjoyed in the past. Too, this used a new chili that I had heard of before, ancho chilies, but had never tried. You can find dried ancho chili powder in most supermarkets, bottled by McCormick. It has a heat, but is not too hot. And so, these turned out really good, spicy and chocolate-y, they're also supposed to taste like Aztec hot chocolate.

Aztec Cookies
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
icing sugar for rolling and dusting

In double boiler, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, spices and salt and set aside.

In stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix butter and sugar on low 30 seconds. Beat until fluffy on medium high, about 2 minutes. Turn speed to low and add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, until combined. Slowly add chocolate until combined. Slowly add dry ingredients until combined. Transfer dough to plate and spread out evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Form heaping tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in icing sugar. Place slightly more than 2 inches apart on trays and flatten with bottom of coffee mug. If pans won't fit side by side on middle rack, use top and middle and switch trays halfway through baking time as quickly as possible to maintain oven temperature.

Bake in 180C/350F oven until cracked and cooked through, about 16 minutes. Cool completely and dust with more icing sugar. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

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