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Chocolate Espresso Mayan Cookies

Chocolate Espresso "Mayan" Cookies
This is a republication of an old favorite Christmas season cookie recipe – a dark chocolate cookie kicked up with a little cayenne pepper – originally published November 26, 2005.

These little guys are sneaky little chocolate bombs. They look innocent enough on the plate, but in your mouth they explode a burst of dark, dangerous flavor that will have you checking your competition and grabbing for more. You know who you are, you chocaholics, with your pulse quickening a little now at the prospect of a chocolatier cookie than you've ever had before, so just copy this recipe down and give it a try. I know my claims for this one are bold but I don't expect any complaints when the testers weigh in...

By the way: as I did with the other forays into the world of deep, dark chocolate, I have to credit my neighborhood purveyor of exquisite handmade chocolates, Cacao, for inspiring my experiments with cayenne pepper in chocolate treats. Their cayenne-laced "Mayan" truffle still leads the pack for extreme dark chocolate pleasure, so if you are one of the above-mentioned people of quick pulse, I suggest you plan a visit to Government Street in Kittery, Maine, as soon as possible, or call the number given in the link to inquire about mail order.

Chocolate Espresso "Mayan" Cookies

Makes about 40 cookies


  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons finely ground dark-roast coffee beans, such as Italian-roast
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup walnut pieces (optional)

Equipment: dark metal cookie sheets.


Preheat the oven to 350º.

1. In a double boiler – or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water – melt the unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.

2. Beat the eggs, sugar, cayenne and ground coffee with an electric mixer on high speed until very thick and pale. The mixture should form a ribbon when beaters are lifted, after about 3 minutes. Beat in the chocolate mixture.

3. Sift the flour into the chocolate mixture, then the baking powder and salt. Stir until just combined. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips and walnuts, if using.

4.Drop the batter by heaping teaspoonsful about 2 inches apart onto greased dark metal baking sheets and bake in batches around 7 minutes, or until puffed and cracked on top. Cool cookies on baking sheets 1 minute and then transfer to racks to cool completely.

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Love the cayenne pepper ingredient. I'm sure it makes a difference in the recipe.


Wow Stephen, these look amazing, can't wait to try them out.

They're a beautiful entry to SHF, thanks for sharing.

Stephen, intriguing recipe and beautiful picture as always. I especially like the name as my cat is called Maya...

ooooohh, these look so great. I love the photo too, with the chilli in the background. Can't wait to try these.

Not there? :(

:\ Never mind, I seem to have missed that it said "Part I"

This may just be the most delicious sounding cookie around! Love the flavor combo!

omg. i just made these for my friend's bday. mine are not as good-looking as yours, but they are still delicious. i want to keep them for myself.

Oh my. These are good!

I made these over the holiday season & they disappeared faster than anything else on the table. The best part was that the fussy "I don't like spicy things" eaters were coming back for more.

They've been elevated to an official family must-have for the holiday season.

(FYI: I substituted 100g of Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa for the 3oz of unsweeted chocolate.)

Thanks again Stephen!

(and I do hope things are ok & that you'll be back in 2008... your blog & recipes are among my favorites!)

Unfortunately Cacao (Susan) is on a year-long sabbatical as of Thanksgiving (2009). Apparently she has taken up spooring!

For more info:

Thanks for the update, Joe!

These cookies would be a great treat for dark chocolate lovers. Thank you for sharing....I can't wait to give them a try.

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