(strangely hot Mexican chocolate cookies)
"I used to think I was the strangest person in the world, but then I thought: There are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it's true I'm here, and I'm just as strange as you." -Frida Kahlo
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 teaspoon hot pepper extract (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, chipotle pepper, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl using a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) on medium speed, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the chocolate and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla paste and hot pepper extract and mix until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until well combined.
Drop the dough by generous tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheet.
Sprinkle a generous amount of turbinado sugar on top of each mound of dough. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or just until the cookies have set. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet.
Hot Pepper Extract
Yields 1 cup
1 serrano chile, stem removed, cut in half lengthwise
2 jalapeño chiles, stems removed, cut lengthwise into strips
1 cup vodka
Have a sterilized jar (run through a hot dishwasher cycle) with a tight-fitting lid ready.
Put the chiles in the jar and pour the vodka over them. Screw the lid on tight and give it a good shake. Set aside in a dark place for 1 month, giving it a shake every few days. Strain into a clean sterilized jar and put the lid on tightly. Store the hot pepper extract in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. There is no need to refrigerate.
From Sweet and Vicious by Libbie Summers, Rizzoli 2014.
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