These cookies taste like a mug of rich hot chocolate. The deep mocha-flavor is followed by a kick of cayenne pepper. Don't let the heat put you off; it only enhances the flavor.
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder or finely ground coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
- About 1/4 cup granulated sugar for dusting
Special Equipment: Cookie stamp (optional)
Line two cookie sheets with parchment.
Whisk the flours together in a medium bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter, vanilla, and almond extract until the mixture is pale in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the speed down to low, add the brown sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, espresso, salt, and cayenne pepper, and continue to mix until the mixture is smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture in thirds until just combined. With the mixer running, sprinkle in the chocolate chips, mixing until just combined.
Transfer the dough to another bowl and finish mixing by hand to make sure no bits of flour or butter are hiding on the bottom of the bowl and the dough is thoroughly mixed.
Use a small ice cream scoop to form the cookies, about 1 rounded tablespoon each, and place on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1 inch between the cookies to allow for spreading.
Flatten each cookie with a cookie stamp dusted with granulated sugar, or gently flatten each cookie with the palm of your hand and then dust the tops with sugar. They will have little cracks in the top. Refrigerate the cookies for at least 1 hour, or up to 5 hours. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time for even doneness (see Tip). Cool the cookies completely on wire racks. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.
Tip: It is really difficult to tell when dark chocolate cookies are done. Pull them out when they are firm to the touch on the edges and the sweet smell of chocolate has begun to fill your kitchen.
Sweet Note: I love stamping designs in the tops of our shortbread cookies. I use cookie stamps, which are available in a variety of designs, but I have also used the bottom of a decorative vintage glass in a pinch. To use, simply spray the stamp (or glass) lightly with cooking spray and dip into a plate of sugar, then lightly press into the cookie to emboss the design. You may have to reapply the cooking spray occasionally if the stamp starts to stick to the dough.