Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mexican Hot Chocolate Shortbread and the Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

So here's a confession - I don't like pumpkin stuff.  I mean, pumpkins as a decorative object is pretty great but pumpkin as food is not so much.  I'm also good with it as a candle fragrance but all these pumpkin-y treats just leave me a bit cold.  I've really tried to like pumpkin stuff.  I really have but something about the texture and general flavor just don't work for me. So during the fall season when everyone is happily gobbling up pumpkin flavored everything I'm looking for something else that's fall-ish but not pumpkin.
And that's how these shortbread cookies came to be made.  I love shortbread in general.  I love the buttery goodness and the perfect simplicity of really good shortbread so I was a little hesitant about adding all this other stuff to it.

I love The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook from Cheryl and Griffith Day!  While it isn't the most unique of all the bakery cookbooks everything I've made from the book is amazingly delicious.  If I'm ever in Savannah The Back in the Day Bakery will definitely be on my itinerary
Mexican Hot Chocolate Shortbread
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder or finely ground coffee
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
about 1/4 cup granulated sugar for dusting

Line two cookie sheets with parchment
Whisk the flours together in a medium bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bow, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter, vanilla, and almond extract until the mixture is pale in color, 1 to 2 minutes.  Turn the speed down to low, add the brown sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, espresso, salt, and cayenne pepper, and continue to mix until the mixture is smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the flour mixture in thirds until just combined.  With the mixer running, sprinkle in the chocolate chips, mixing until just combined.
Transfer the dough to another bowl and finish mixing by hand to make sure no bits of flour or butter are hiding on the bottom of the bowl and the dough is thoroughly mixed. (I didn't do this but I did mix carefully)
Use a small ice cream scoop to form the cookies, about 1 rounded tablespoon each, and place on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1 inch between the cookies to allow for spreading.
Flatten each cookie with a cookie stamp dusted with granulated sugar, or gently flatten each cookie with the palm of your hand and then dust the tops with sugar. (I used the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar) They will have little cracks in the top.  Refrigerate the cookies for at least 1 hour, or up to 5 hours.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350.  (I forgot about the oven position)
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time for even doneness.  Cool the cookies completely on wire racks.  Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

My Changes: I didn't have almond flour so I replaced it with just regular all purpose flour.  I left out the coffee because I just don't love coffee in cookies and used chili powder instead of cayenne pepper because that's what I had.

My Results: Rich chocolate-y spicy heaven.  The cayenne pepper doesn't make it super spicy but instead really exaggerates the spiciness of the cinnamon.  The texture is amazing.  The shortbread practically melts in your mouth but still holds together.  These will definitely be on my Christmas baking list.  They're delicious and chocolate-y but just unique enough to be interesting.

Next Time: I'll probably try to pump up the almond flavor since that didn't come out too much.  If I don't get the almond flour maybe I'll increase the amount of extract?

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads


  1. Thanks for sharing, I can turn that recipe into a vegan one very easily, I'll try it :)

  2. I don't like pumpkin either. These sound delicious- am definitely going to try!

  3. I have this cookbook and once did a blog post about the bourbon bread pudding. It was so YUMMY! It's a great cookbook. This shortbread sounds delicious.

  4. I've always loved the cover of this cookbook, but I don't have a copy. That shortbread sounds amazing. I have everything to make it but the mini chocolate chips. Maybe I'll try this and leave out the chips.

  5. I love shortbread. This recipe looks good -- but there's no actual Mexican chocolate in it?

  6. I am totally with you on pumpkins! Shortbread is yummy and adding chocolate to it sounds wonderful. Too bad I'm a lazy baker. :D

  7. I love pumpkin pie, but anything else made with pumpkin or made to taste pumpkin-y is gross. I think I'll see if my library has that book. It looks interesting.

  8. I must look out for Mexican hot chocolate! Cheers from Carole's Chatter!

  9. Pumpkin pie is the only thing I have actually tried but I think I would be willing to experiment with pumpkin in other dishes. I like shortbread for sure, the cookies are making me hungry as I read this!

  10. Funny I never liked anything pumpkin either until I made pumpkin cheesecake. Still won't eat pumpkin pie though.

  11. Ahhh no pumpkin here either! They're cute and round and perfect on the doorstep but never in my food. lol The cookies sound good!

  12. I have yet to try shortbread cookies. These sound good.

  13. I love shortbread! And I've never had cayenne or chilli in shortbread but I'd give it a try. You'd fit right in in Australia, all that pumpkin pie is quite foreign lol. It's more a savoury vege here, baked pumpkin with a roast, or pumpkin soup.

  14. I hate pumpkin flavoured treats too! Ugh! Gross. And it's freakin' everywhere. I also don't mind the smell. But I'm very happy when it disappears in November.
    I also love shortbread. Mmmmm... and these sounds delicious. Send me some, k? XD

  15. The only thing I like pumpkin flavored is pumpkin pie. I don't get this pumpkin spice coffee thing in the fall, bleck! I love shortbread, but I have never made or had homemade. I might try this recipe. :)

  16. Just love the cover of that cookbook, lol! These treats sound delicious, and I won't hold your dislike of pumpkin goodies against you ;-)

  17. This is a unique recipe, thanks for sharing. And I agree with JoAnn, I love the cover.