Saturday, December 19, 2009
Mexican Chocolate-Cherry Rounds
Rich chocolate cookies get some Mexican flair when spiced up with cinnamon, cloves and cayenne pepper. Blanched almonds or pistachios can be used instead of cherries. (Note adapted from Epicurious)
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (315 grams)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup powdered sugar
60 (about) candied cherry halves
Stir chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water until smooth; cool.
Combine flour and next five ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 3/4 cups of sugar and butter in a large bowl until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and chocolate. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating just until combined. Chill dough until firm, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets. Place powdered sugar in a shallow pan. Form the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in powdered sugar to coat; shake off excess sugar. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 and 1/2 inches apart. Press 1 cherry half into the center of each cookie. Bake until cookies puff and crack but are still soft. About 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to rack and cool completely.
Cookies can be prepared ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month)
Makes about 5 dozen.