Chocolate is certain to arouse the passions. Even more so if it has a hint of spice. So on Valentine's Day, heat things up with these Chocolate Chile Cookies.
Intrigued by the combination of chocolate and chile? You may also want to check out this Chocolate Fondue for Two with Strawberries.
Chocolate Chile Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon chile de arbol
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chile de arbol, and salt in a medium bowl. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium until creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly combined and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until the dough comes together, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, bring together into a ball, and cut into quarters. Form each portion into a ball and then flatten into a disc. Wrap each disc separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 15 minutes or freeze for up to 1 month. (Thaw frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator and let soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a disc of dough to 1/8 to 3/16-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes and arrange the shapes about half an inch apart on parchment-lined baking trays. Gather the scraps, knead once or twice, and roll, cut, and arrange on baking trays in the same manner. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until firm. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.
Make more cookies with the remaining discs of dough in the same manner.
Makes approximately 120 2-inch cookies. Inspired by the flavors of Mexican chocolate and based on a recipe from a fabulous but now defunct restaurant I worked at while I was in culinary school. The chef was very secretive and refused to share the recipe, but as soon as she turned her back, the pastry chef snuck it to me. I believe the original version called for black pepper in addition to the chile de arbol but didn't include any vanilla. Chile de arbol can be found at Mexican markets. If you can't find it, cayenne pepper is a good substitute.