My Mexican hot chocolate cookies are soft and chewy, with Mexican spices and rich cocoa frosting. Make this recipe for a cookie exchange or for your Christmas cookie platter!
Generally, other than the occasional loaf of focaccia bread or southern buttermilk biscuits, I don’t do much baking during the year. However, when November rolls around, everything changes. That’s when it’s time to start baking Christmas cookies!
I think baking cookies is a great way to get us into the holiday spirit, and the euphoric aroma of cookies baking in the oven is always a bonus.
There are going to be a lot of new and updated Christmas cookie recipes for you on Kevin is Cooking this month. I’m going to publish one per week through the end of November, so you’ll have plenty of cookie baking inspiration!
You can already see my recipes for wedding cookies and classic American favorites like chocolate meringue cookies.
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Mexican hot chocolate cookies
These Mexican chocolate cookies are a combination of the flavors of Mexican hot chocolate and my recipe for Texas sheet cake cookies.
They’re super simple to make and perfectly soft and chewy. They’re slightly spicy cookies, but you can easily adjust the amount of cayenne to suit your taste buds. The cocoa frosting is made in a saucepan on the stove, then while it’s still warm, poured over the cookies. Or, you can dip them, which is how I do it.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
There are two components to this chocolate cookie recipe; the hot chocolate cookie dough and the cocoa frosting. My notes and possible substitutions are shown below.
Hot chocolate cookies
The chocolate cookie dough uses the standard ingredients for most chocolate cookie recipes. All purpose flour, sugar, egg, baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract.
GLUTEN FREE OPTION: If you need a gluten-free substitute, use an all-purpose 1:1 gluten free baking blend. Bob’s Red Mill makes a great one.
Spices– So that everyone can enjoy them, the spices for the Mexican hot chocolate cookies are simple as well; just a bit of cayenne powder and some ground cinnamon.
If you’d like a bit more spicy heat, feel free to increase the amount of cayenne, or use a spicier ground chile powder, like ancho. On the other hand, you could leave the Mexican spices out altogether, for rich and delicious frosted hot chocolate cookies.
Unlike chocolate buttercream frosting, which is typically made with melted chocolate chips, this cookie frosting is made with cocoa powder.
It’s a simple process; Just melt some butter, then add dutch process cocoa, also known as alkalized cocoa or dark cocoa. The frosting is sweetened with powdered sugar, also known as confectioner’s sugar.
Because it’s alkalized, Dutch process cocoa has a darker color and richer flavor than regular unsweetened cocoa powder. When baking cocoa powder into cakes other baked goods, there’s a science behind which is the best cocoa to use.
Because we’re not baking with the cocoa powder, you can use either type for the frosting on your Mexican hot chocolate cookies. I use Hershey Special Dark cocoa, which is alkalized, dutch process cocoa.
I love the rich, dark color it lends to the frosting!
Recipe notes and tips
- Cookie dough consistency
Keep in mind that the dough is very thick and sturdy. Look at the photos and you’ll notice that cookie dough doesn’t spread much in the oven. I like the domed tops, but if you prefer a flatter cookie, simply press the dough with your hand to flatten it a bit before baking.
- Freezing the dough and/or baked hot chocolate cookies
If you like to freeze cookie dough for baking later, this recipe is perfect for you! The chocolate cookie dough freezes really well, and it will keep in the freezer for at least 3 months.
If you’d like to freeze the baked cookies, you can do that, but freeze them unfrosted. This cookie frosting doesn’t hold up well in the freezer; it tends to separate when it thaws out.
Add-ins for Mexican hot chocolate cookies
Is anything better in the winter than a cup of hot chocolate and cookies? Well, maybe… like when the hot chocolate has mini marshmallows in it!
For a fun twist, add some mini marshmallows over the frosting. I haven’t tested this chocolate cookie recipe with mixing marshmallows into the cookie dough itself. If you try it, please come back and leave a comment so I know if it works!
Another delicious add-in or topping for your Mexican hot chocolate cookies could be crushed Mexican peanuts. They’re spicy and crunchy; the perfect way to make the chocolate cookies even better!
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder also known as Dutch process (See Note 1)
- 3 Tbsp milk
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone mat, set aside. Makes 24-30 depending on size.
- In a microwave safe bowl heat the butter and chocolate chips on high in 30 second increments until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds (or in a small saucepan over medium heat until melted).
- In bowl of mixer, beat the melted butter/chocolate with the sugar. Add egg and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated.
- In a bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cayenne powder.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet in mixing bowl and stir to combine. Mixture will be slightly loose. Place bowl in refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up the dough.
- Using a scoop or measured tablespoon, drop cookie dough onto baking sheets (either keep rounded or flatten slightly if you prefer). Bake for 7-8 minutes until cookies just appear set. They will still be very soft on the inside. Don't over bake these or they will be hard. You just want a firm dense center.
- In a medium saucepan combine butter, cocoa powder and milk over medium heat, whisk until blended. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar.
- Once the cookies are cooled, dip each into the frosting, shake excess and place on wire rack to dry (See Note 2).
- Using alkalized dutch process cocoa gives the frosting a darker color and richer flavor. However, regular unsweetened cocoa powder will also work.
- The frosting is quite versatile. If used right away and round cookies are dipped, there will be leftover, but I’d rather have leftover than be left without enough! I’ve even double-dipped for an extra coating of chocolate goodness. I also have found if I flatten the cookies instead of leaving them rounded before baking, and let the frosting firm up a little, it spreads well, too.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.