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February 9, 2013

Read It, Made It- Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies

I've decided to come back to the world of blogging with a delectable cookie recipe (this is my fourth blog that you've never heard of!). It seemed fitting because delicious, fresh-baked, homemade treats are a big part of home to me, and this blog is mainly about the pleasures of home. This month I've been kind of a baking fanatic, thanks to all the yummy cookbooks I've been hoarding from the library. My family is thanking me profusely, my scale is not so happy about it. My most recent "experiment" was this sweet, rich, dark, perfect cross between a brownie and a cookie- Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies! I found this recipe in Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. I thought they would be too spicy for the kids with their potent combination of cinnamon, cayenne pepper and freshly ground black pepper, but, fortunately, my kids absolutely adored them. They would be a perfect coffee/tea break treat, and I personally enjoyed them with a orange-flavored seltzer and chocolate ice cream float (oh yes, I did!).  I recommend that you try these sweet yet sophisticated cookies very soon because I haven't found a recipe that turned out this perfect in a long time.
*Remember to make these the day before, or at least, several hours before you need them because they need at least 2 hours to set before you bake.
 *Also, I accidentally used 2 sticks (or 16 tablespoons!) of butter instead of the 12 tablespoons or 1 1/2 stick stated in the recipe, and I think it was for the better because they were perfectly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
*Feel free to cut back on the spices if you think they will be too spicy for your household. I put a little less black pepper in my first time- but next time I'll definitely put in the full amount
*You can use Dutch-processed cocoa if you'd like, but I always use regular old 100% pure cocoa for everything because I remember hearing that it has more anti-oxidants than the Dutch stuff
*Next time, I think I will very lightly sprinkle them with a few grains of kosher/sea salt before I bake them for a more pronounced sweet-salty bite- I love that combo!

Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies(Source: Maida Heatter's Great Book of Chocolate Desserts)

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons cayenne
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, room temperature (*use 2 full sticks or 16 tablespoons if you're up for it- I didn't regret it!)

Whisk the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together in large bowl. Beat in vanilla and egg. Gradually work flour mixture into butter mixture until dough is just combined (in other words, do not overwork the dough). Divide dough in half and roll each half into a 8 or 9-inch log. Wrap each log in parchment paper, twisting ends tightly to make a uniform cylinder. Freeze dough logs for at least 2 hours and up to six weeks. If you like you can put them in drinking glasses, travel mugs so that they won't flatten on one side.

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Unwrap dough and slice each log into rounds 1/3-inch thick. Place rounds one inch apart on cookie sheets (You can use parchment but I didn't need it- they didn't stick at all). Bake cookies until edges harden, about 8-10 minutes (I baked mine to perfection in 10). Cool cookies on the baking sheet for a couple minutes before transferring . Makes about four dozen cookies.

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