I love the combination of chocolate and chiles. That is why I love mole. Though I’m not a fan of sweet foods, this is a great compromise.
Recently, while reading through some of the cookbooks I checked out at the library, I came across a few recipes that combined chocolate and chiles for dessert. This is one of them (Mexico: The Vegetarian Table by Victoria Wise, p. 144).
I’ve made a few minor changes to the recipe. I love fruit, seeds and nuts, all ingredients in mole! My concession here is to use dried fruit, but they taste great in these cookies. I used pecans, pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), dried cranberries and dried apricots, but you can use what you like.
Chocolate Ancho Chile Cookies
3 disks of Mexican chocolate (Abuelita or Ibarra)
1/4 cup water
8 – 10 oz of dried fruit, nuts, and/or seeds (apricot, cranberries, pecans or pepitas)
4 cups flour (I used all-purpose)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Cut the chocolate disks into smaller pieces and place with the water in a small saucepan. Over low heat, melt the chocolate and set aside.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, cocoa, ancho chile powder, cinnamon, cayenne and salt.
If you are using pepitas and/or pecans, toast them in a small saucepan over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Toss them frequently because you don’t want them to burn. When ready, put them on a separate plate and set aside. If you are using dried fruit, dice them and set aside. Cranberries are fine as they are so you don’t need to chop them.
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until well mixed. Add the eggs. Once blended, add the melted chocolate. Working in 2 – 3 batches, add the dry ingredients, blending well before adding the next batch. With the last batch, add the dried fruit and nuts/seeds. You should have a moist but firm dough.
Divide the dough in four and set aside. Take one part and roll it out on a floured surface into a log (about 12 inches by 1 1/2 inches). Wrap it in plastic wrap and set aside and continue doing the same with the rest of the dough. Place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (about 175 C). Using a serrated knife, slice the logs into 1/4 to 1/3 inch rounds and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 6 minutes on one side, flip them and bake them for another 6 – 7 minutes (a minute more if you want them very crunchy). Take them out of the oven and let them cool.
Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cookies and place them on a serving plate or in a container for future use.
These cookies are good on their own, but they taste great with a good cup of coffee. They remind me of biscotti. Try dunking a few and see what you think!