Mexican Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Mexican Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
I know a lot of people who associated rich, chocolaty crinkle cookies with the holidays, as they are a popular item for seasonal cookie platters. But I like chocolate all year round, so I don’t just save these delightful cookies for the end of the year. My Mexican Chocolate Crinkle Cookies can certainly be served for any occasion that needs a little chocolate and spice!

These cookies are made with plenty of chocolate and have a combination of flavors that are commonly found in spicy mexican chocolate. I added ground cinnamon, chipotle peppers, cayenne pepper and both vanilla and almond extracts. The cookies are intensely chocolaty, with just the right amount of heat from the spices, and have a melt-in-your-mouth texture that is similar to that of a fudgy brownie. There is quite a bit of sugar in the recipe, but these cookies are not too sweet and the combination of sugar and chocolate is what builds such a delightful texture in these.

The cookie recipe is based on a recipe I jotted down during an episode of America’s Test Kitchen, which used a new-to-me technique for finishing off the cookies with sugar. Most crinkle cookies are rolled in confectioners’ sugar before baking, with a second layer sometimes added after baking. The ATK cookies got two layers of sugar before baking – one of regular sugar that added some crunch to the exterior of the cookie and one of confectioners’ sugar that gave the cookies their signature look. This technique is not only an excellent one, but it allowed me to sneak in another layer of flavor by adding more ground cinnamon to the sugar in the coating. Yum.

These cookies have a great shelf life and are even better the day after baking, though they’re also good when they’re still fresh out of the oven. When stored in an airtight container, they’ll be fresh for several days – and you can extend that even further by refrigerating them, during hot weather, as their fudgy texture holds up surprisingly well to cooler temperatures. Again, that is just one more reason why you should be baking these goodies all year round.

Mexican Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground chipotle pepper
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

Topping
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, chipotle pepper and cayenne pepper.
In a small microwave-safe bowl or saucepan, melt together butter and unsweetened chocolate.
In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and eggs. Whisk in melted butter mixture along with vanilla and almond extracts. Stir in flour mixture and mix until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and ground cinnamon for the topping. In another small bowl, place 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar.
Roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls and roll first in cinnamon sugar, then in confectioners’ sugar. Arrange cookies on baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies to allow for spread.
Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are set. Allow cookies to cool for 5-7 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen.

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