|photo by Anthony Palatta|
I found the recipe in a magazine of holiday cookie suggestions from Betty Crocker. It begins with the mix for their sugar cookies, to which you add an egg, chocolate chips, and butter melted with a "mexican hot chocolate tablet."
When I read the word "tablet," I was expecting a pill-sized nib of chocolate, the kind of thing you use to make Easter egg dye. So I was surprised to find that Mexican hot chocolate tablets are actually a large and thick hexagonal disc of chocolate, the size of a hamburger patty.
I found two different brands of Mexican hot chocolate at a local supermarket that has a large Spanish-speaking clientele. I went with the Nestle version for the cute picture of the grandma on the box.
What makes these cookies "Mexican" is the mix of cinnamon with chocolate, which gives the finished cookie an unexpectedly earthy bite that contrasts with the sweetness of the chocolate chips. The last time I baked these cookies, I made them small, so that they were little bites, with a brittle, crackling crust and a fudgy center.
It's the kind of dessert that makes your friends pause, then smile in recognition, then reach for another.