Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies

Chocolate, cinnamon and not too much sugar. Oh yeah, cayenne!
Makes 40 cookies
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11/2 cups sifted flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process

Generous pinch of cayenne

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

6 ounces (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter

11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

Sift together

  • 11/2 cups sifted flour (210g)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (62g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • generous pinch of finely ground black pepper
  • generous pinch of cayenne
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

and set aside. In the large bowl of electric mixer, cream

  • 6 ounces (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter

Add

  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar

and beat to mix thoroughly. Beat in

  • 1 large egg

Turn mixer to low speed and gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only until mixed. Toward the end of the mixing, if the dough starts to crawl up on the beaters, remove the bowl from the mixer and finish mixing with a spatula.

Lightly flour a cutting board or counter. Turn the dough out onto the board. Lightly flour your hands and shape the dough into a cylinder about 10 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Try to make this as even in diameter as you can.

Wrap the cylinder of dough in wax paper and place it in the freezer until firm (or keep it frozen for as long as you like).

Before baking, adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat oven to 375°. Unwrap the dough and place it on a cutting board. With a paring knife and a ruler, place marks every 1/4-inch down the length of the cylinder. With a sharp, heavy knife, cut 1/4-inch slices. Place the slices 11/2 to 2 inches apart on unbuttered cookie sheets; the cookies will spread a bit as they bake.

Bake 10 or 11 minutes, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during backing to insure even browning. The cookies are done when they feel almost firm to the touch. ATTN Watch them carefully to be sure they do not burn. If you bake only one sheet at a time, bake it on the upper rack; the cookies will bake in less time with only one pan in the oven, so watch that they do not burn.

Let them cool for a few seconds on the sheets until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack. Then, with a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to racks to cool.

Store cookies in an airtight container. They freeze well.

Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts

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