Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
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Mexican hot chocolate cookies are chewy, chocolatey, and just a little bit spicy. Enjoy them with a glass of cold milk or a warm mug of cocoa!
When we lived in Texas, one of the things I got hooked on was Mexican hot chocolate — hot chocolate spiced with cinnamon and ground chile peppers.
I love the way the warmth of the spices plays off the sweetened chocolate, and I knew it would be great for cookies, too.
I’ve been making these Mexican hot chocolate cookies for years. It’s hard to choose my top holiday cookie, what with my double ginger molasses cookies and raspberry jam cookies also in the running, but these are definitely a family favorite!
The most important thing to remember for this recipe is that ground chile powder is not the same as chili powder!
Ground chile powder is a single ingredient made from ground chiles. I like to use ancho chile powder for the smoky flavor, and this recipe also uses ground cayenne pepper.
Do not use the chili powder you’d use for savory dishes, as it is a blend of spices including salt.
Crinkle cookies like these also call for cream of tartar. This helps make the cookies rise as well as creates that wonderfully chewy texture!
Cream of tartar works together with baking soda. If you don’t have cream of tartar, swap out both for baking powder instead. However, the texture of your cookies will be slightly different.
First, cream together your butter and sugars. I use both granulated white sugar and brown sugar here for the best texture. The mixture should be completely blended and slightly fluffy.
Then, add your eggs and vanilla and mix well.
In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. This recipe will work with any variety of cocoa powder you have on hand, so don’t worry about whether you have Dutch-process cocoa or another kind.
If you prefer you can skip the cayenne pepper, or add more if you want a truly heated cookie!
Mix the dry ingredients into the sugar mixture until completely incorporated. It will be a bit crumbly and not as wet as other cookie doughs you might be used to, but that’s OK.
Pop the dough in the fridge to chill while you preheat the oven to 350°F. I also line my baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent sticking, create even baking, and make cleanup easier.
When you’re ready to bake, stir together sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Scoop dough into balls and roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then place on the baking sheet.
I use a medium cookie scoop of 1 ½ tablespoons, which makes an approximately 3-inch cookie.
Make sure to leave room between the cookies to allow for spreading. I put about 8 cookies on each sheet to give them plenty of space.
Put the remaining dough back into the fridge and bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes.
The cookies will be lightly puffed when you remove them from the oven, but deflate quickly. Transfer them immediately from the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely.
Mexican hot chocolate cookies will stay soft and chewy for up to 1 week, stored in a cookie jar. I use a glass cookie jar for mine, or in a pinch I use a zip top bag.
If your cookies get too hard for your liking, add a slice of bread to the container. The cookies will take in the bread’s moisture and soften! Be sure to remove the bread once it is hard.
Chocolate cookies are great for freezing. I love freezing cookies so I can bake just a few at a time. It also makes it easy to prepare for holiday entertaining!
To freeze, after you roll the cookies in the cinnamon sugar, place them close together on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Freeze the baking sheet for about 2 hours, until the dough is completely frozen.
Then, transfer the dough balls to a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Be sure to label it!
You can bake the dough directly from frozen at 350°F. Keep in mind that the cookies might take extra time to bake through, so watch carefully.
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I hope you enjoy these Mexican hot chocolate cookies as part of your next cookie tray!
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Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chile powder, such as ancho
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, optional
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- In a large bowl, beat together the sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chile powders, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Slowly add to the sugar mixture and mix until well combined. Chill dough in fridge for about 30 minutes, and preheat oven to 350°F.
- When ready to bake, mix together granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Scoop dough into balls and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture, then place on parchment-paper covered baking sheet, leaving plenty of space between cookies to allow for spreading. Chill any remaining cookie dough while you bake.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes and transfer immediately to wire cooling rack.
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.
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Good-looking cookies, especially now that it’s actually cold here in TX. Love the idea of using hot cocoa mix in the batter, very clever!
Awwww……cayenne pepper in cookies! Sounds very interesting but super tempting!
I found this spice bottle a few weeks ago that has cayenne pepper mixed with cocoa all ready in it. How would you recommend using that in this recipe?
@The Chocolate Priestess, if it is a spice I’d use it in place of the cayenne, maybe adding more depending on how spicy it is. If it is a flavored cocoa, maybe use 1/8 cup of that and 1/8 cup of regular cocoa? Again, it depends on how spicy it is. What’s the brand name? I’d love to try working with that.
Mmm, love these cookies, I’ll have to try your recipe.
These sound interesting. Never heard of these! Going to save the recipe and give these a try.
Your cookies sound delicious! thanks for sharing 🙂
Hi, I haven’t had cream of tartar in my cupboard for years. What’s a substitute? I love Mexican hot chocolate and can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks.
Hi Lija, you can swap in the equal amount of baking powder. It won’t be exactly the same but it will work!
Loved the gentle kick behind the sweetness of the chocolate of these cookies!