And now a brief reprieve from 30th Birthday Bash coverage…..Also this is a long one full of sentimentality so if you just want the recipe feel free to skip ahead.
My First, and possibly most loved, Signature Cookie: Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies:
I developed this recipe when I was in grad school and having a really hard time with it. Basically, I spent a lot of time having panic attacks in the bathroom. As miserable as it was, it was also a super happy time in my life because I had started dating this amazing guy with an even more amazing beard. It was both awful and exciting to be beginning a really great, healthy relationship while being in unhealthy head-space professionally. Those two years were a strange mix of crying jags in my car followed by awesome dates with this guy who just made my whole life light up. Propelled by my own unhappiness with school and my future husband’s support, I began finding outlets for stress besides sobbing uncontrollably. I went to therapy and did a whole lot of stress baking. That’s when I developed this recipe. It was my first signature recipe and is now own of the most requested things I bake.
Inspired by one of my favorite desserts, Mexican Hot Chocolate, I wanted a cookie with the same wonderful mix of chocolate and cinnamon with that subtle undercurrent of heat you only get with a good cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate. That flavor profile was trickier to recreate than originally thought. Luckily that’s where my boyfriend/hubs stepped in as my official cookie taste-tester. That may sound like a really awesome job, but it loses its appeal after you’ve eaten 1001 Frankenstein cookies that taste more like Dorrito’s than an actual cookie. It was frustrating as a baker, but really fun for us as a couple. Nights out turned into nights in watching movies and eating my lab experiments. The only that would have made this more of an idyllic rom-com is if the cookies had actually tasted
Luckily for my future husband’s taste buds, my friend Maggie stepped in and helped guide me to cookie nirvana (she is a pastry chef and is AMAZING) The rest is history. With the critical addition of Mexican hot chocolate bars, the resultant cookie had a complex and subtle flavor with just the right amount of heat.
To this day, its my husband and my favorite cookie and is jokingly referred to as “the reason he married me.” We even served this cookie at our wedding in lieu of a wedding cake. Though I make these often, they always make an appearance on our wedding anniversary, which is today). They are a small, but tasty, way to celebrate my wedding and my union to the man, who is my favorite person and my official cookie-taste tester. It’s a tough job, but he seems to be handling it pretty well.
For more info about our wedding, check out this sweet post on the Mia Bridal Couture Blog
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (leave them out of the fridge for a few hours).
- 1-cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 C Flour
- 1 t Baking Soda
- 1t Kosher salt (if you are using salted butter, reduce this to 1/2 tsp. of salt)
- Spice Mixture: 1/2 tsp. fresh coffee grounds, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4-teaspoon chipotle powder, 1 small pinch (or 1/16 of a teaspoon ) cayenne pepper.
- 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablet of a Mexican hot chocolate bar finely chopped into 1/4 inch chunks (you want them roughly the same size as the chocolate chips. The bar is a little grainy, so when you chop it will disintegrate a little bit into a powder. Make sure when you add this to the dough that you get the chunks AND powder into the bowl using the back of your knife to scrape up the chocolate)
- Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, or an Electric mixer with a large mixing bowl, (or a wooden spoon and your arm). I use a Kitchen Aid.
- 9” X 13” Baking sheets
- Silicone baking mats or Parchment paper to line baking sheets (In a pinch you can grease your baking sheets with butter, Shortening, or a non-stick cooking spray).
- Separate mixing bowl for dry ingredients
- Rubber spatula to scrape sides of bowl with
- Wire racks for cooling
1) Preheat oven to 375. Line your baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Set pans aside
2) Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl using a whisk or a spatula: flour, salt, baking soda, and coffee grounds
3) Cream the butter, brown sugar and white sugar on medium speed (Kitchen aid speed of 4-6) for 5-7 minutes to incorporate air.
4) One at a time, one medium speed, add the eggs to the mixture. Then add the vanilla
5) When the wet ingredients are combined, stop the mixer and scrape the side of the bowl. Turn the mixer back on for a minute or two to ensure the wet ingredients are thoroughly combined. Turn off the mixer
6) Add the 1/2 the dry ingredients. Start mixing the dough on lowest speed to begin combining the ingredients (reduces splatter). Then gradually turn the speed up back to medium speed. Mix until dry ingredients are barely combined (2-3 minutes tops). Then repeat this step with the rest of the dry ingredients. Stop the mixer. Be careful not to over mix or the cookies will become tough.
7) Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add your chocolate chips and chopped hot chocolate bar. Turn the mixer to low-medium speed (Kitchen Aid speed of 3 or 4) until the chocolate is evenly combined.
8) With spoons or an ice cream scoop, spoon out 1 tablespoon sized balls onto your prepped baking sheet. Cookies should be about 1 inch (or 2 fingers width) apart.
9) Bake for 9-11 minutes rotating the pan half way through cooking.
*If Baking two sheets in the oven switch sheets half way through baking so they bake evenly
10) When the cookies are golden, take them out of the oven and let them cool for 2 minutes on the pan (for a crispier bottom, leave them on the pan for longer). Take the cookies off the pan and let them cool on wire racks.
11) When the cookies have cooled for 5-10 minutes, Serve and look longlingly into your lover’s eyes.
Storage: Store in an airtight container with a few slices of bread on top to help keep the cookies from drying out. Change out the bread daily. Cookies will stay fresh for up to 2 days.
*Cookies and Salt Note: I use Nestlé’s Abuelita Hot Chocolate Round tablets. You can get them at the grocery store either in the hot chocolate or in the international foods section. Another brand is Ibarra. They also come in a bar. Tablet or bar work, but I’ve never tried the powder. Amazon also carries multiple brands. If you can’t get ahold of Mexican hot chocolate, then just use regular chocolate chips along with the spice blend. It won’t be quite as intense, but it will still give you that Mexican Hot Chocolate Vibe.
I received nothing for this post except some cookies and a nice walk down memory lane.
If you’re interested in weddings, check out the vendors I used for my wedding : The Matchmaker Band, Hyde Park Photography, Stem Floral Designs, Mia Bridal Couture, Laura Needham for hair, and Barr Mansion. Again, none of these people paid me for the shout out. There were just really awesome and deserved one.