I live in the green chile capital of the nation. Most people that grow up here develop a sort of addiction to it, wanting it at every meal of the day. It’s really not a problem as long as you continue to live here, but once you move away, wow. Even if you can find cans of chopped green chile, people come back with horror stories of not being able to find what they really need: whole chiles. It’s the curse of the canned vegetable; flavor goes out the window, but at least you can console yourself with that oh-so-familiar texture. But perhaps most importantly, you can’t make chile rellenos with chopped chile. Chile rellenos are magical, in case you’re living some place where you’ve never heard of them. Whole green chiles, stuffed with cheese, dipped in batter, and then fried. Seriously, come visit the Southwest. A friend from New England recently made a journey down here, and the first thing he did upon his arrival was become hopelessly addicted to chile rellenos.
As whole chiles are not available everywhere, you can, however, use these cookies to bribe people to freeze and ship some to you.
My sister didn’t even go very far, one state over, and she gets picked on for wanting to add chile to everything. A list:
Breakfast burritos with green chile,
Green chile Alfredo,
Green chile mac and cheese,
Green chile bagels,
Pizza topped with green chile,
Red chile honey,
Red chile brownies,
Hot cocoa with red chile.
That last one seems to be the inspiration for this recipe, which I found in a cookbook. So, even though it’s not a local recipe, it should feel right at home alongside them. Like the chile brownies I recently had, these cookies are more chocolate snickerdoodles than anything else. The spice from the cayenne pepper just tickles your mouth as an afterthought and makes you crave another. It’s that unexpected moment of “oh, well that’s interesting,” that makes these cookies special. Plus, cinnamon sugar topping. What could be better? Maybe that this recipe is originally written vegan. I only had dairy milk on hand, but that still means no butter and no eggs. So, for a cookie, that’s pretty healthy, right?
Just look at that cayenne…
These were so easy to form, though usually that’s the hardest part. But that could just be me.
And I can’t decide if they’re cuter going into or coming out of the oven.
Don’t forget your milk; it’ll cool your mouth a little. :)
Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
¼ cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons milk of your choice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract (original recipe calls for one teaspoon vanilla extract and one teaspoon chocolate extract, but alas, I had none)
1 2/3 cups flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (the recipe specifies not Dutch-process, which is presumably because of the higher fat content of the regular unsweetened cocoa powder. As these cookies have no butter, they need that extra source of fat in there.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne (this may not seem like a lot, and I even considered addling a little more, but this ½ teaspoon turned out to be the perfect amount.)
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2 Mix topping ingredients together on a large dinner plate. You will be pressing the cookies into this mixture later, so a plate will work better than a bowl.
3 In a medium-size mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together the oil, sugar, syrup, milk, and extract.
4 Sift in the remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Once all the ingredients are added, mix until you have a pliable dough. It may seem a little wet and sticky, but it should still roll out well.
5 Roll the dough into balls about 1”-1.5” in diameter. Pat the dough balls into the sugar topping to flatten into 2-inch discs. Transfer the dough balls to a baking sheet, sugar side up, at least 2 inches apart, as they do spread a little. This should be easy as the bottom of the cookies should just stick to your fingers, so you can just ease them onto the tray.
6 Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. They should be a bit spread and crackly on top. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies will be soft in the center and have perfectly crisp outer edges.
*you will have some of this cinnamon sugar mixture left over. Since there’s no raw eggs being pressed into it, I like to sprinkle a good amount on buttered bread before throwing the whole thing in the toaster oven. I have childhood memories of that deliciousness.