Mexican Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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OK, this is sort of a lengthy story that I will try to condense into something a lot shorter and neat. I think it was a year ago that the family went to lunch in Santa Cruz, CA. As we were leaving town and making our way home the other folks we were with decided they wanted some coffee and something sweet. We stopped at a little café and my better half (I always refer to her this way because she’s just better human being than I) got this cookie that was sort of an orange color, she didn’t like it, so she passed it over to me and I thought it was delicious. Some time later I thought to myself, ‘I could probably make something like that’, so I scoured the web for a recipe and sort of struggled to find anything. At that point I figured I’d take the next logical step, which would be to just make a chocolate chip/chunk cookie and replace the chocolate with Mexican chocolate. I did and they were a hit with a particular little visitor, who happened to be coming over this past weekend.

On Saturday ‘mi media naranja’  (that means my half orange…it’s a saying in Spanish akin to better half or other half) got a text from a cousin that was coming over stating they hadn’t left yet and that her son was wondering if I would be making the cookies I made last time. I was going to make cupcakes, but when you get requests they’re hard to ignore, right? So, her son wanted these cookies and I was willing to oblige. Luckily, I had just about everything on hand, well everything except for Mexican Chocolate that hadn’t gone beyond the best by date. If these were for myself I’d take a look at the chocolate and ‘risk’ something only two months beyond said date, but I would never do that to others. The chocolate is only $3-4, so it’s not a terribly expensive endeavor and after you have these cookies you’ll feel they’re well worth the effort of seeking out.

If you’re not familiar with Mexican chocolate it comes in an octagonal shaped brick/puck and is usually found somewhere either with the baking stuff or near the hot chocolate stuff since that’s traditionally what it’s used for. It essentially consists of three ingredients, chocolate, sugar and cinnamon, so if you can’t find it anywhere you could probably just add cinnamon to regular chocolate and get similar results, though how much is out of my scope of knowledge. These are the two brands generally found at the market’s nearest us:

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As you can see one is made by Nestle and features an old lady who resembles Mrs. Doubtfire on the box, the other doesn’t. I used the chocolate on the right for these cookies.

This is what the chocolate looks like, you can see the sugar crystals sticking out and that it’s divided into wedges for portioning out when turning into a drink:

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So, now that we know a little more about the chocolate and my family life let’s go ahead and move on to the recipe, yes?

I set off to look for a nice chocolate chip cookie recipe and found this one, by Dora on AllRecipes.com, with over 4000 reviews and a 4.5 star rating I figured this would be a good one. This is my adaptation of said recipe:

Mexican Chocolate Chunk Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups Mexican chocolate (4 pucks broken up)
  •  

    First I took a hammer, yes, hammer to the chocolate to break it up into chunks. In the past I would take a can of corn or soup to it, then finish it off with a hand operated food chopper, (Slap Chop, anyone? Yeah, me neither) but that’s not all that efficient, so this time I took a hammer to it and it was much easier. Just be careful please. You might be able to do this with a knife, but that’s a little too dangerous for me because it’s such a thick piece of chocolate. Anyway, I threw four on the floor and pounded them until they were broken up pretty good. [Note: The Ibarra’s chocolate was handy for this because it comes in sealed plastic packaging, the Abuelita’s comes wrapped in a wax paper type package, so bag it up before breaking to avoid a mess.] I then threw it into a measuring cup since I didn’t know how these would measure out. I then threw the chocolate into a Ziploc back and pounded out the chunks that I felt were too big, be careful not to rip the bag. Four pucks were a perfect two cups:

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    By the way, don’t reach your hand into my picture, please. By the way, I use by the way a lot.

    Hammer and chocolate. That should be my logo…or not.

    What you’ll notice when you hammer out the chocolate is that the cinnamon and sugar will start to come out. If you cared about how the cookie looks you could probably take out all the powdery stuff and just drop in the chocolate. I throw it all into the mix.

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Go ahead and cream your butter and sugars together. When that’s done add in your first egg let it mix well and then add the second and keep mixing. Add vanilla and keep mixing.

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    This next step I’d never done prior to this recipe, not sure if this is some trade secret or not, but dissolve your baking soda into hot water and stir into mix. Add your salt. Mix in your flour, I always do so in portions, so as not to make a huge mess. That much I’ve learned from experience. Add chocolate. Note that because the chocolate is in fairly big chunks if using a stand mixer it will struggle trying to mix this, it may sort of kick and buck a little. You could also mix it in by hand if you’re not comfortable with subjecting your mixer to this ‘torture’. Drop your cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for ten minutes.

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    I took my cookies out at exactly 10 minutes because I like them chewy. Leave them in a touch longer if you like them crispy. I just got the OXO medium size cookie scoop from Amazon.com to make uniform cookies and it was my first time using it and it works just as well as advertised.

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    I only noticed this yesterday, but the chunks weren’t as prevalent as I would have liked, but it was pointed out to me that it may have been because I ate it when it was still warm. They don’t stick out much, but they’re there.IMG_0079

    Those look pretty uniform if you ask me.

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    I ate mine warm with a  small scoop of vanilla ice cream. IMG_0086

    When I made these cookies last year I served them with homemade horchata ice cream, but that’s a recipe for another day.

    The cookies went fast and I got lots of compliments from everyone. Let me know what you think.

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