Cookies With a Kick

Brian is famous for his double chocolate chip cookies. They always make an appearance after the Thanksgiving feast and have won accolades from many of our friends. The recipe is from The Grove House Cookbook, a small spiral-bound book purchased at a restaurant by the same name on the campus of Pitzer College. It seems that the latest version of the book, available here, has made a few changes and the recipe is now vegan. I can’t speak to how the new version would taste, but the original recipe is divine. Soft with gooey chunks of chocolate, these are quite the treat. I recently played around with the recipe a bit and added a few spices for kick and tested out a new smaller size. The changes morphed the sweet cookie into a zesty treat that ended up being the perfect takeaway gift for friends after a Mexican-themed party. Lucky for all of you, this is just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies by

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies by

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

(Recipe adapted from Double-Chocolate Mocha Chip Cookies in The Grove House Cookbook)

Makes about 4 to 5 dozen cookies

  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (check out our homemade extract recipe)
  • 1/2 shot espresso
  • 2 cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

1.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Add the red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper to a mortal and pestle and grind until red pepper flakes are much smaller in size. Alternately, you can blend them together in a mini food processor. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add the pepper mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and dark brown sugar. Slowly mix in the eggs, vanilla and espresso. Add the dry ingredients in two equal parts, mixing until combined between each. Add chocolate chips or chunks and mix to combine. Place plastic wrap over the top of the dough and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Drop the chilled dough, a tablespoon at a time, onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until cooked through (cookies should still be soft in the middle), then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are made.

SWWU Tip 1: You can make these as spicy as you like, or leave the spices out all together. Play around and see what works for you.

SWWU Tip 2: These cookies are pretty small, really just a bite or two each. You can make them bigger if you like, just plan to cook them a bit longer.

SWWU Tip 3: Want your cookies to be perfectly round like the ones pictured above? Just roll each teaspoonful into a ball before you place it on the baking sheet. 

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We All Scream for (DELICIOUS) Ice Cream

I truly believe you can never have too much ice cream. It doesn’t matter if a nor’easter is blowing in snow along with a sub-zero wind chill—I’ll still crave a scoop of creamy goodness to finish off my day. Luckily, Brian feels exactly the same way. We whipped up the decadent flavor below last year, and have been dreaming about it since then. We plan to make another batch this weekend. You should join us!

Espresso Hot Chocolate Ice Cream by

Espresso Hot Chocolate Ice Cream by

Espresso Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup hot chocolate mix (such as Silly Cow Farms)
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 3.5 ounce dark chocolate bar with cocoa nibs (such as Valrhona), roughly chopped

1. In a large bowl combine the cocoa powder, hot chocolate mix, brown sugar and espresso powder. Whisk to remove any lumps, add heavy cream and continue whisking for 1 to 2 minutes or until foamy. Pour in milk and whisk for 1 minute more. Cover with plastic wrap (so plastic is touching the milk and cream mixture) and chill in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.

2. Once chilled, pour mix into an ice cream machine and churn until nearly finished. Once you think you have about 5 minutes remaining, add the candy bar pieces and continue to let the ice cream maker do its thing. When complete, transfer to a freezer-proof container and freeze for 2 to 4 hours or more.

SWWU Tip: This recipe works best with an ice cream maker (or an attachment for your stand mixer). We have the Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker. It’s easy to use and doesn’ t take up a lot of storage space. 

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Red-Hot Chocolate

Few people would argue that chocolate and wine make a great pair. In this quick recipe they go from casually dating (appearing on the same table together) to full-on making out in a very hot and steamy way. I experimented with a few different red wine and hot chocolate combos (tough work, I know) and finally stumbled upon the right mix. A bold cabernet sauvignon, extra dark chocolate and a touch of sugar create the perfect warm winter sipper. Cheers!

Red-Hot Chocolate by

Red-Hot Chocolate by

Red-Hot Chocolate

Makes 4 cups

  • 2 cups 2-percent milk
  • 2 ounces 85-percent dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons raw sugar, plus more as needed

1. Heat milk and chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium-low. Stir until chocolate is melted and well incorporated. Add wine, salt and vanilla extract and bring to a gentle simmer. Add sugar and stir until dissolved; add additional sugar to taste if needed. Pour into cups and serve immediately.

SWWU Tip: The wine you choose will have a big impact on the flavor of this drink. Taste this one a lot as it’s coming together and adjust the amount of milk and sugar you use until you find something that works with your particular blend. Play around and have fun—it’s worth it!

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