Spicy Double Chocolate Mexican Cookies

Around this time last year I made a few different kinds of cookies that Bogdan took to work. Honestly, these chill-chocolate cookies were included as sort of a last minute afterthought. Now, a year later, I had to really dig deep to remember the other types because the chocolate-chili Mexican cookies were by far the crowd favourite. You see those ones on the end? They’re cream cheese frosted pumpkin spice cookies. The ones on the other side are lemon & walnut shortbread. I still don’t get why the chili-chocolate were so much more popular!

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I’m noticing more and more lately that people won’t necessarily be impressed by whatever I think is most exciting. For example, a little while ago I posted my Harvest Biryani With Chickpeas, Dried Cranberries, and Pepitas and my Pumpkin Spice Steel Cut Oat Brûlée (again, as an afterthought) at the same time on Instagram (see my feed to the right!). I thought people would like the Harvest Biryani way more…the pictures were striking, it had much more going on and was (relatively) a bit more complex than the Oat Brûlée.


The Oat Brûlée was way more popular.

Back to a year ago. There were a few requests for this recipe at the time. One, in particular, was from one of Bogdan’s co-workers. Bogdan reminded me so.many.times.  The conditions just weren’t ever right: I was in exams, I didn’t have the right vanilla, or cocoa powder…it was summer and too hot to bake spicy chocolate cookies….

Finally, a whole year later, this post is dedicated to you, patient coworker. I’m sorry for delay but it had to be perfect!

I changed the recipe up a bit to make the cookies a little more moist. The chocolate is now inside of them instead of on top but you could easily drizzle more chocolate on top if you like. Also, I used white and bitter-sweet chocolate because it was what I had on hand. I think if I were to do this again I would try bitter-sweet and milk chocolate. Up to you how you do it. The white was really good too.

These cookies are really chocolatey and fudgey with enough spice to really make them pop. I also recently picked up some Vietnamese cinnamon from the girls at Dirty Girl Farm. It has a very bright and rich cinnamon flavour compared to conventional cinnamon. Makes a big difference. Definitely recommended if you can get your hands on some.Ingredients

115 grams / 4 oz / 8 TBSP (one stick) salted butter (softened)

64 grams / 2.25 oz / 1/2 cup granulated sugar

32 grams / 1.12 oz / 1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract (my go-to is vanilla bean paste)

1 egg

160 grams / 5.6 oz / 1 + 1/4 cups AP flour

1 tsp baking soda

32 grams / 2oz / 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

90 grams / 3 oz / 1/2 cup each of white & bitter-sweet chocolate chips

1.5 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cinnamon (my favourite is Vietnamese cinnamon)

32 grams / 1 oz / 2 TBSP granulated sugar with 1/2 tsp cinnamon for edges (optional)



In a large bowl cream together the softened butter and sugars until smooth.

Add egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt.

Use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until incorporated.

Add the chocolate chips and mix.

The dough should be chilled before baking. I recommend taking out a sheet of plastic wrap, piling your dough on in a rough log shape and then fold over the plastic wrap and shape it into a nicer log. Place in freezer for about 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C.

Mix the cinnamon sugar to coat the edges on a plate and then remove the log from the freezer. Slice into 1 cm thick pieces and run the edges through the cinnamon sugar, then place on a parchment lined baking sheet. You can also cut the log first into larger pieces and run the entire thing over the cinnamon sugar and then cut into 1 cm thick segments. Up to you.


Bake for about 10 minutes or until the centres of the cookies are still soft but not jiggly. The ideal amount of time for me is 10 minutes for fudgey soft cookies, but conditions can be different so keep an eye on them the first time you make them. If you prefer your cookies crisp bake an additional 2-3 minutes. I also like to bake a test cookie before baking all of them just to make sure it’s to my liking. You could start with less spice, bake a test cookie, and add more if you wanted. If you do bake a test cookie just remember that the cooking time will be different for one cookies versus an entire pan full. Reduce time by 1-2 minutes.

PS: Bogdan’s favourite joke now is that he has to put in requests for things a year in advance. Ha ha.


Honey & Chile de Árbol Skillet Cornbread

Usually whenever I want cornbread I just toss a few things in a blender and it’s done in about five minutes. This particular iteration of my many five minute cornbreads was absolutely perfect. It had a great sweet to spice balance and was just moist enough. I made it to go with frijoles borrachos – in case you’re interested. Best part is how fast it is.




2 cups cornmeal (I used medium ground like for polenta)

1 tsp baking powder

1.5 – 2 cups yogurt/buttermilk/kefir (enough to make a batter that pours)

1 egg

1/3 cup softened salted butter + 1 pad for buttering the top of the finished cornbread

1/3 cup honey

3/4 cup of corn (frozen is fine)

Dried chile de árbol, seeds removed (use however many you can handle – I used 5 or 6 small ones and it was perfect for me.)




I usually just toss everything in my mini blender and it’s good to go but because this recipe has corn in it too I removed the batter to a bowl where I added the corn and mixed with a spatula. If you want to be precise about it you can mix wet ingredients first, then dry and pour the wet into the dry. However, I don’t see the point of dirtying more dishes when it isn’t necessary.


If you aren’t using a mini blender or food processor I recommend you dice up your chile however fine you want it (ideally very fine) before adding it…in case that isn’t obvious.


Bake at 400 F / 200 C for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 325 F / 160 C and bake an additional 5 minutes. The reason for this is that you want to achieve a solid centre without burnt edges.

Remove from oven and butter the top. Slice and serve with honey butter if you want to do things right.




Frijoles Borrachos Mexican Soup with Crema & Chili Oil

Frijoles borrachos is a Mexican soup recipe also affectionately known as drunken beans. In spite of the dubious name, this is one of my favourite soup recipes. I’m always surprised by the rich aroma and flavour just a few ingredients can produce. I think one of the most important components is the beer.

Once the alcohol cooks away it leaves a very well developed soup. I made the mistake once of using a bitter beer, thinking it would be of no consequences. I don’t know why I thought that because it made so much sense when my soup came out bitter. Word to the wise, use a mild beer (preferably Mexican…for authenticity). I really like Negra Modelo.

For the longest time I didn’t put any garnish on this soup. It’s really a new development. Kind of a shame really. There’s already cilantro in the soup so I reasoned that it wasn’t necessary. Wrong. Also, the crema adds a very nice cool and creamy finish and plays well with the chili oil.

I’m starting to realize that I was doing this soup all wrong because I also didn’t think to eat it with honey & chile de árbol cornbread until recently. What was I thinking. It’s really a perfect pairing. That cornbread is also so well balanced. Just enough moisture, heat, sweet, and butter.

Besides the fact that it just tastes really good, I think what I like about this soup is that it’s such a solid go to recipe. I have most of these items on hand in the pantry or freezer and can toss them in a pot and have a really satisfying and hearty soup in very little time.

I can also usually whip up cornbread in no time at all, which makes it a more complete meal. Definitely going to keep this in my weeknight rotation this fall.




2 cups of pre-soaked pinto beans (alternatively you could flash boil them or use 2 cans instead)
32 oz / 1 litre chicken stock + 4 cups / 1 litre of water
1 yellow onion, finely diced
6 slices bacon, diced (I keep mine in the freezer to make it easier)
1 bottle of beer (see post above on best kind to use)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 TBSP diced cilantro plus more for garnish (optional)
Salt to taste
Crema, crème fraîche, or chili oil for garnish (optional)



Sauté diced bacon in instant pot on the sauté setting or if using a regular pot, then right in the pot on medium-high heat.
When bacon is almost cooked add diced onion and cook until aromatic (3-4 minutes) stirring frequently.
Add the pinto beans, chicken stock, water, beer, cumin and 2 TBSP diced cilantro.
Seal (or cover) and cook under pressure for 30 minutes or on the stovetop until beans are soft.
Adjust salt to your liking.



Pressure Cooker Ancho Chicken

This is the easiest and most delicious way I’ve made chicken breast EVER! It takes about 30 minutes start to finish and you can use the resulting chicken to make these beautiful tacos or any one of a number of delicious recipes. Each serving of chicken is also under 100 calories with 13 grams of protein!

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….or anything else you can think of like nachos, burritos, taco bowls, served over rice etc etc.


Here’s the super easy recipe.

pressure cooker ancho chicken


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8

Serving Size: 4oz/115 grams

Calories per serving: 94

Fat per serving: 3

pressure cooker ancho chicken


  • 1lb/450 grams boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 large size can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 TBSP olive oil or ghee
  • 1 tsp ancho chili pepper
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro for garnish (optional)


  1. Sauté onion in 1 TBSP of oil on the "sauté" setting
  2. Add all other ingredients to the instant pot except cilantro
  3. Seal and cook on manual mode for 10 minutes (may take 5 minutes to seal)
  4. Allow the pressure to come down on its own then remove lid
  5. Chicken is cooked when it shreds easily
  6. Taste and adjust salt if necessary
  7. Serve as you like


See my review on the instant pot electric pressure cooker [here/http://www.cristinaskitchen.com/the-best-pressure-cooker/]