Call me the Cookie Monster.
Since recovering from my latest nasty cold, I’ve been on a cookie kick. I live in Japan, in an apartment the size of a bed, with one burner and no counter space. I can fit my finger in my toaster oven, and that’s about it. Therefore, cookies are pretty much my go-to thing.
And I just really, really love cookies.
I also really, really love chocolate, but it’s rare for me to find a chocolate cookie or cake that I can appreciate. I love brownies like no other, but when it comes to cakes and cookies, I am taken aback.
But these…these cookies are brilliant. They have such a flavor that I can fully appreciate, a kick to remind me to be myself, and when I eat them, I’m reminded of the assorted boxes of cookies I would discover on the kitchen counter when I was younger. The very same cookies that I would steal away to my room and devour on my own.
Sometimes, you see a flavor combination and you’re like wut. But sometimes you try the flavor combination, and you’re like oh my. This is one. Spicy chocolate is just such a combination. It has intrigue, mystery, and a swift kick in the face. I go crazy with the red and black pepper when I make spicy cookies, for a stronger, more assertive kick.
Taking that one step further, these are salted. In most pastries, salt serves to enhance or deepen flavors by contrasting them, hence the popularity of salted caramel and saltwater taffy. A recipe will usually say to put salt in with the flour mixture, but sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith, and save the salt for later in the process. If you sprinkle a pinch of salt on these cookies right before you put them in the oven, your taste buds will orgasm. First, you get a whiff of the salty, then you get the sweet and dark chocolate, and finally a red pepper wake-up call. They’re also a great texture: soft and chewy as cookies should be.
However, they burn quickly, so take them out early.
salted, spiced chocolate chocolate cookies
based on recipe by A Thought for Food
makes two dozen small cookies (2 tsp), or one dozen medium cookies (1.5 Tbsp/4 tsp)
Note: You can substitute coconut oil, melted, for butter (1:1 ratio), and they’ll still be amazing, and lighter. I’d recommend cutting back on flour in that case. The dough gets a little stubborn. You can also substitute other “kicks” for the cinnamon and peppers listed below, such as peppermint extract (1 tsp), peppermint liqueur (~3 tsp), ginger, herbs, and so on.
120 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or red pepper
18 g unsweetened cocoa powder
4 oz/8 Tbsp butter, softened and at room temperature
165 g granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c chocolate chips
extra add-ins, such as white chocolate chips, nuts, and so on
1 Tbsp kosher or sea salt, to top
If using a conventional oven, preheat to 350 F/ 180 C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, spices, and cocoa powder.
In a larger bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Slowly beat in the sugar and keep beating until it becomes pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, mixing for 2-3 minutes.
In small additions, beat the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Stop occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and scrape off any stubborn dough/batter from the beaters.
Once all the dry mixture is combined into the wet, beat or fold in the chocolate chips and extras, if using.
Using a medium cookie scoop, or two spoons, scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet in spheres approximately 2 inches or 4 centimeters in diameter, and spaced the same distance apart. If using coconut oil, flatten them with your hand. They spread more with butter than coconut oil.
Salt the cookies lightly.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes (15 if using coconut oil), until they spread, puff up, and become dry on top, making sure they don’t burn. If using a toaster oven, toast for the same time at 740 W.
Remove finished cookies from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. The cookies should be around 3-4 inches wide (~7 – 10 cm.)
When cooled, you can eat them or save them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. They harden a little as they chill, so they’re best enjoyed warm or at room temperature, when they’re a little softer.