Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookies -- No Swine Flu!

Yes, although these are "Mexican" Chocolate Chip cookies, there is nothing remotely swine flu-esque about them. (Perhaps that joke was a bit in poor taste, but when you work in a lab that deals with swine flu samples daily, the words "Does not contain swine flu extract" might be a little more appropriate. ;) )

In fact, these cookies were delicious. I baked a batch yesterday and brought at least two dozen cookies in with me this morning. When I went to see how many were left, only two lonely cookies remained. Even they found their way into my coworkers' tummies soon after.

So, a huge resounding success. I found the original recipe whilst browsing the blog, Cookie Madness, a blog with absolutely dozens of decadent, mouthwatering cookie recipes. There is a reason the blog is called cookie madness!

What caught my eye about this recipe was that not only was in listed in the "Top 5 cookies of all time" section, it wasn't just your plain, old chocolate chip cookie. Don't get me wrong though, I looooove chocolate chip cookies -- but lately I've been in very much of a cinnamon mood. And this recipe spiced up it's traditional counterpart by including not only cinnamon, but a wee bit of cayenne pepper as well. But truly the star of this cookie is the chopped up chunks of (in my case), Abuelita.

Abuelita is a brand of Mexican hot chocolate, and does not come as a powder. Instead, it is packaged as a series of disks which can be broken into pieces and dissolved into hot milk. The chocolate itself contains spices, most prominently cinnamon, and is made with granulated sugar. I speak from experience when I say that it makes some delicious hot chocolate, and would be an awesome complement to these cookies.

I think Abuelita can be found at most grocery stores, although I have to confess I'm not sure. We had some on hand in the pantry, but I do not know if it was a stowaway from my parents trip to Mexico a few months back or if we managed to find it in Canada.

Hopefully you will be able to find some Abuelita or other bricked Mexican hot chocolate, for drinking or for these cookies.

As for the cookies themselves, they surprised me a bit by flattening out as they baked. I suppose I was lulled into thinking I'd get nice round, puff ball cookies since the last two batches of cookies I've made have been Alton Brown's The Puffy and the Chocolate Covered Raisin Oatmeal cookies.

Still, they stayed soft and chewy -- even after they'd cooled to room temperature. The warm cinnamon flavours, mixed with dark chunks really stole the show. However, I found that the yield of this recipe was way too low. It was estimated to give about 32 cookies; I know I baked about 42 and I was not being stingy on cookies size. Still, I guess it depends if you want bakery-style giant cookies, or cookies that you won't feel guilty about going for seconds.

Lastly, if anyone has any experience in regards to metal baking sheets vs stone where, I'd be interested to hear your opinions! I found that the stonewear sheets gave me a flatter, more spread out cookie. The metal sheet cookies seemed to remain a wee bit puffier.

Any ideas?

Anyways, without further ado...

Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Cookie Madness

Mexican Chocolate Chunk Cookies Made With Ibarra

MAKES 32 COOKIES (more like 42)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 slightly rounded teaspoon cayenne pepper or black pepper (I used cayenne pepper)
8 oz unsalted butter — room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla (regular is okay)
8 oz dark chocolate — cut into chunks
4 oz Ibarra chocolate — chopped by hand

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl using high speed of an electric mixer; Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until absorbed, then mix in chocolate chunks and chopped Mexican chocolate. Refrigerate dough for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto sheets, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake cookies until golden brown and set - 10-12 minutes. Let stand on sheets 3 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and cool.

Oh! Perhaps just a little further ado. My dog was barking at me as I was taking the photos of the food. I think she wanted a cookie too! ;)

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