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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mexican Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Mexican Chocolate Chunk Cookies
I love the grainy texture of Mexican Chocolate- but I've got to admit, I've become totally spoiled.  Since mi amiga has been bringing me freshly made disks of soft, pliable (and often still warm...or so it seems) cinnamon-flecked chocolate from Mexico an average of two times a year, I'm ruined for the store bought stuff.  I ran out of the good stuff a few weeks ago and tried substituting a round of the type I used to love from my Mexican market.  I found that I no longer loved it.  It's harder.  It doesn't melt as beautifully.  Spoiled.  Fortunately, I received another baggie-full this week.  I don't know what I'd do if she went to Mexico less often than she does (or wasn't able to bring me any).  Now, I know how to make it, but I am absolutely unable to source cacao beans.  But enough woe is me...I will survive.  If I use it frugally.

When I saw my friend Leslie of La Cocina de Leslie post her Mexican Chocolate Chunk Cookies last week, I knew that was exactly how I wanted to use the last of my stash (and since Mari would be back to the States in a few days).  So, with a mixture of anticipation and nervousness, I made a batch of cookies that everybody loved.  They were flecked with vanilla beans and studded with soft chunks of homemade Mexican chocolate and little pecan bits.  Turns out there was no need for apprehension, the chocolate was put to good use.  And I already know what I'm making with my new batch.  But I'm not telling.  Not yet.
Mexican Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Mexican Chocolate Chunk Cookies
adapted from La Cocina de Leslie
yield: ~2 1/2 - 3 dozen

    2 1/4 c. all-purpose unbleached flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. fine sea salt
    2/3 c. butter , at room temperature
    3/4 c. grated piloncillo, packed
    1/2 c. granulated sugar
    2 eggs, at room temperature
    seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
    2 disks Mexican chocolate, cut in small chunks
    ~1 c. chopped pecans, optional
scooped cookie dough
Preheat oven to 375° F.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in bowl and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar and piloncillo.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Add flour mixture and beat gently until just combined.  Fold in the Mexican chocolate and pecans, if using (or use half the amount in half the batter, like I do to please the kiddos...who don't dig nuts in their cookies).
Mexican Chocolate Chunk Cookies
optional step:  Cover dough and refrigerate overnight.  I find that this helps keeping the cookies from spreading around the edges (especially in a hot kitchen).

Scoop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased, baking sheet (I like to line mine with parchment or a silpat).  Bake for ~8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and let the cookies sit on baking sheet for about a minute, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Enjoy warm or at room temperature...awesome with a tall, cold glass of milk!
Mexican Chocolate Chunk Cookies
...and p.s.- remember: cacao beans.  Let me know if find any!

...and p.p.s.- if you can't find/make homemade Mexican chocolate, don't let me scare you away from making these fabulous, soft cookies.  Just because I'm ruined for it doesn't mean you have to be.