Hubby has always been a fan of spicy foods, but I’ve only started getting into them since I started dating him. I blame my family for my delayed interest. My family prefers foods with very little heat at all. Not sure why, but that’s how they roll. It works, and I enjoy it, but I’m also having fun flirting with foods on the hot side.
Besides learning to like things spicier eats like more-than-one-star-spicy Thai food, wings, non-mild salsa, and chili, I’ve also really enjoyed the unusual combo of heat with chocolate. Have you seen some of the bars available these days?!
Enter Mexican Hot Chocolate Dough Balls. I took one of my dough ball recipes, converted it to a chocolate version and added cinnamon and cayenne pepper to give it some real kick.
I wasn’t sure at first how much cayenne to add, but like most great questions these days, the answer was just a quick google search away. I found this recipe by Martha Stewart, and since it had a similar dry ingredient amount to a doubled-version of my recipe, I used half her measurement, which ended up being a mere 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. Not too scary an amount, right? One batch later, and I knew I’d had success. A spicy-chocolate cookie – oh yes!
Mexican Hot Chocolate Dough Balls
These chocolate cookies have a spicy kick thanks to the simple addition of cayenne pepper. Add chocolate chips for extra richness. I bet a drizzle of melted chocolate syrup would be fun, too, and would make great presentation if you were entertaining with them.
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus at least an additional 20 minutes for the chill/scoop method (chill time) or at least 1 hour for the scoop/freeze method (freeze time)
Bake time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: Makes about 16 cookies depending on scoop size
*Vegan options listed below*
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want your cookies – 1/4 is pretty spicy)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 stick butter, softened/room-temp (or use vegan substitute)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 egg (or flaxseed-egg)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or use vegan chocolate/carob chip substitute)
Directions (Scoop then freeze method):
- Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, baking powder, baking soda.
- In a medium bowl, mix sugar and butter. (I used a handheld mixer, but you could probably just use a whisk). Add egg and vanilla and mix till combined.
- Mix wet into the dry. Note: it will appear there is not enough liquid for the amount of dry ingredients, but continue mixing. It will form into a dough, it will just be a firm dough. See tips on this post (click) for combining. Careful to not overmix. I’ve found pressing the back of a firm, medium/large spatula into the dough seems to work well.
- Stir in chocolate chips, if using.
- Use a small sorbet scoop to scoop out dough into small mounds. Spread evenly on a baking sheet, leaving roughly 2-3 inches between each ball. Freeze for at least 30 minutes, though 1 hour is better if you can wait that long. I like to bake half of the dough balls after freezing them for between 1 hour and overnight and save the rest to bake off later at my convenience.
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake balls for 10-11 minutes, depending on how set you want your centers. If you use egg, and you’re paranoid like me, you can use a meat thermometer to ensure the centers of the balls are at least 160 degrees F, which many web sites say is the safe temp to eat eggs.
- Let your dough balls cool to room temperature.
Optional Preparation (Chill then scoop):
- Follow above directions through step #5.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes before using a small sorbet scoop to scoop out dough into small mounds. Roll each mound into a ball and spread evenly on a baking sheet, leaving roughly 2-3 inches between each ball.
- Bake balls for 10-14 minutes, depending on how set you want your centers. If you use egg, and you’re paranoid like me, you can use a meat thermometer to ensure the centers of the balls are at least 160 degrees F, which many web sites say is the safe temp to eat eggs.
Other recipes you may like:
- Chocolate Chip Dough Balls (the original and most popular flavor!)
- Sugar Cookie Dough Balls
- Chocolate “Depression” Cake Minis (emergency chocolate cake when you need a quick fix)
Sweet, chocolatey, and yes…spicy! Try these out this holiday season to freshen up your cookie line up. Happy baking!