Hot and Spicy Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are few desserts that I can think of that cause as much debate as the proper texture for a chocolate chip cookie. Some like them chewy, others like them crunchy while there’s another camp that prefers a more cake-like texture. I’ve always been on the fence, loving the crisp caramelized snap of a good crunchy cookie while feeling equally partial to the soft and chewy cookie more reminiscent of the dough before it’s been cooked. And if you’re a dunker like me, you probably also appreciate the cakier cookies for their ability to soak up milk like a sponge for a cool creamy mouthful of sweet heaven.

So why have these chocolate chip cookie factions always been mutually exclusive? Is it not possible to have a cookie that suits everyone? These were some questions I started asking myself as I set out to make my first batch of cookies in over 4 years. I started with the basic recipe I learned from my mom as a kid. Then, I reduced the amount of flour (her’s is very cakey), increased the amount of sugar (to make it more chewy and to increase crispness), and finally played with the baking times with each tray.

By using a balanced dough (between flour, sugar and butter), I was able to get different textured cookies based on the amount of time they were cooked for. At 12 minutes the edges were slightly cakey while the centers were chewy and slightly gooey. At 16 minutes the cookies were cooked all the way through with crunchy edges and a crumbly center. 14 minutes turned out to be the magic number for my oven, producing cookies with a nice snap at the edges, a layer with a slightly cakey crumb on top and a dense chewy bottom.

In the flavour department, I’m a big fan of rustic Mexican chocolate, which is often infused with spices such as cinnamon and chili peppers. It also tends to be much more course than European chocolates due to the lack of conching. I wanted to introduce some of this into these cookies, but since Mexican chocolate can be hard to find, I added the spices to the dough instead. The heat really punctuates the earthy chocolate and brown sugar, making you pause for a moment while you figure out what’s different about this cookie.

While I recommend the combo, if spicy cookies aren’t your thing, try adding some peppermint oil to the dough, or replacing some of the sugar with raspberry jam. While experimentation in baking is often frowned upon, cookies are pretty forgiving and a great opportunity to try your hand at something a little different.

1 1/2 sticks of butter at room temperature
3/4 C packed dark brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 C + 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 C bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks

Move the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 325 degrees.

Cream the butter and 2 kinds of sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix till combined after each addition. Add the vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, mixing until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add it to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir in by hand.

Scoop roughly 1/4 cup of batter for each cookie onto a baking sheet (it’s okay if the balls are jagged) leaving enough room for them to spread. Bake 1 sheet at a time for about 12-15 minutes each or until the edges are set, but the middle is still soft. You may need to experiment with your oven to figure out the perfect cooking time. As these cookies bake, they go from chewy to cakey to crisp, so you can change their characteristic by the amount of time you bake them for.

To get the chewy center, allow them to cool on the pan (not on a rack).

  • http://www.slim-shoppin.com/ Jennifer

    I never would have thought about putting those spices in, that sounds really cool!

    I have three kids and I bake cookies pretty much every week, but I have one that likes chewy, one crunchy and one in the middle. I never thought about taking them out at different times, now I can make everyone happy!

  • http://www.slim-shoppin.com Jennifer

    I never would have thought about putting those spices in, that sounds really cool!

    I have three kids and I bake cookies pretty much every week, but I have one that likes chewy, one crunchy and one in the middle. I never thought about taking them out at different times, now I can make everyone happy!

  • http://www.practicallydone.com/ helen

    I think I’ll be taking my cookies out of the oven at the 12 minute mark. I’m quite fond of underbaked pastries.

  • http://www.practicallydone.com helen

    I think I’ll be taking my cookies out of the oven at the 12 minute mark. I’m quite fond of underbaked pastries.

  • http://www.peanutbutterboy.com/ Nick

    Man, just the description of the dough was getting me hungry. I’d love to play around with cookie recipes but I don’t want to eat 400 cookies!

  • http://www.peanutbutterboy.com Nick

    Man, just the description of the dough was getting me hungry. I’d love to play around with cookie recipes but I don’t want to eat 400 cookies!

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    I love your spirit of adventure. Yes, there’s a lot of chemistry in baking, but you’re right–they’re cookies. And a little healthy experimentation never hurt anyone :) I love to add a pinch of cayenne and cinnamon to my hot chocolate. Same idea–a nod to the Mayan gods, I guess!

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    I love your spirit of adventure. Yes, there’s a lot of chemistry in baking, but you’re right–they’re cookies. And a little healthy experimentation never hurt anyone :) I love to add a pinch of cayenne and cinnamon to my hot chocolate. Same idea–a nod to the Mayan gods, I guess!

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com/ The Duo Dishes

    When you get a perfect cookie, you want to sing it on a mountaintop! Please warm up your voice and proclaim these to be awesome.

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com The Duo Dishes

    When you get a perfect cookie, you want to sing it on a mountaintop! Please warm up your voice and proclaim these to be awesome.

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    Great idea adding the cayenne in Marc! I too enjoy different type of cookies for all the reasons you listed.

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    Great idea adding the cayenne in Marc! I too enjoy different type of cookies for all the reasons you listed.

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    While I am firmly in the soft and chewy camp, if you knew me even a little bit you’d know that I’d devour everything anyway ;) And now you know I can’t refuse anything with cayenne pepper in it!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    While I am firmly in the soft and chewy camp, if you knew me even a little bit you’d know that I’d devour everything anyway ;) And now you know I can’t refuse anything with cayenne pepper in it!

  • http://www.foodgal.com/ Carolyn Jung

    Oooh, cayenne, huh? That’ll jump-start taste buds for sure. Thanks for such a useful — and well conceived — cookie recipe.

  • http://www.foodgal.com Carolyn Jung

    Oooh, cayenne, huh? That’ll jump-start taste buds for sure. Thanks for such a useful — and well conceived — cookie recipe.

  • http://www.applesandbutter.com/ Jessica

    I am chewy all the way! Mexican chocolate in cookies sounds like a great idea. I am all for your experiments in baking – they seem to turn out perfectly!

  • http://www.applesandbutter.com Jessica

    I am chewy all the way! Mexican chocolate in cookies sounds like a great idea. I am all for your experiments in baking – they seem to turn out perfectly!

  • http://www.buffchickpea.com/ Hayley

    Adding cinnamon to chocolate chip cookie batter has always been one of my favorite tricks. It does amazing things to the flavor. I’ll have to try the cayenne pepper, too. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.buffchickpea.com Hayley

    Adding cinnamon to chocolate chip cookie batter has always been one of my favorite tricks. It does amazing things to the flavor. I’ll have to try the cayenne pepper, too. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.selbyfood.blogspot.com/ Selba

    I love chocolate chips cookies especially those chewy ones.

  • http://www.selbyfood.blogspot.com Selba

    I love chocolate chips cookies especially those chewy ones.

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com/ Peter

    The beauty of chocolate chip cookies is that there’s always room for improvement. They are forgiving and no one ever chucked a batch unless burnt. I think the cayenne w/ chocolate with be a great sensation.

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com Peter

    The beauty of chocolate chip cookies is that there’s always room for improvement. They are forgiving and no one ever chucked a batch unless burnt. I think the cayenne w/ chocolate with be a great sensation.

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/ Elra

    Wow, that’s a lot of cayenne pepper Marc. But then I know that chocolate is actually taste good with chili. So I can imagine how good this cookies must be.
    Cheers,
    Elra

    • marc

      Yea, you definitely taste it. A lot of mexican hot chocolate recipes call for such a small amount that it’s not even noticible which seems to defeat the purpose for me, but you can change the amount to suit your tastes.

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com Elra

    Wow, that’s a lot of cayenne pepper Marc. But then I know that chocolate is actually taste good with chili. So I can imagine how good this cookies must be.
    Cheers,
    Elra

    • marc

      Yea, you definitely taste it. A lot of mexican hot chocolate recipes call for such a small amount that it’s not even noticible which seems to defeat the purpose for me, but you can change the amount to suit your tastes.

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com/ pigpigscorner

    I love mine thick and chewy. I’m dying to try out choc and chili combo now…

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com pigpigscorner

    I love mine thick and chewy. I’m dying to try out choc and chili combo now…

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Christie @ fig&cherry

    Mmmm, love chilli and chocolate. Cayenne pepper would be just right with the dark choc chunks.

  • http://www.figandcherry.com Christie @ fig&cherry

    Mmmm, love chilli and chocolate. Cayenne pepper would be just right with the dark choc chunks.

  • http://www.thehungrymouse.com/ Jessie

    Oh, love, love, love the combination of chocolate with chili! Well done! :D

    +Jessie
    a.k.a. The Hungry Mouse

  • http://www.thehungrymouse.com Jessie

    Oh, love, love, love the combination of chocolate with chili! Well done! :D

    +Jessie
    a.k.a. The Hungry Mouse

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    I think I’m in the thin and crunchy camp, but I’m fickle with cookie preferences! The cayenne addition sounds great.

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    I think I’m in the thin and crunchy camp, but I’m fickle with cookie preferences! The cayenne addition sounds great.

  • http://simplyscrumptiousfoodie.com/ Jessie

    great cookies! I’ve had peanut butter cookies with cayenne pepper in them. It was very different and interesting but I actually found myself enjoying it!

    • marc

      Wow peanut butter cayenne cookies is unusual. Kind of makes me think of Thai food. I bet they were great!

  • http://simplyscrumptiousfoodie.com Jessie

    great cookies! I’ve had peanut butter cookies with cayenne pepper in them. It was very different and interesting but I actually found myself enjoying it!

    • marc

      Wow peanut butter cayenne cookies is unusual. Kind of makes me think of Thai food. I bet they were great!

  • http://recipespicbypic.blogspot.com/ Nuria

    That is Patience Marc! This is how you finally achieve perfection, isn’t it? Trying and trying… I love the combo of chocolate and spices you made :D
    I’ve never baked cookies… I’m keeping your recipe!

  • http://recipespicbypic.blogspot.com Nuria

    That is Patience Marc! This is how you finally achieve perfection, isn’t it? Trying and trying… I love the combo of chocolate and spices you made :D
    I’ve never baked cookies… I’m keeping your recipe!

  • HoneyB

    Great recipe! Love the added heat!

  • http://wwwshelbymaelawstories.blogspotcom HoneyB

    Great recipe! Love the added heat!

  • http://www.thedailyspud.com/ Daily Spud

    Well, *somebody* has to experiment with baking, don’t they? Otherwise we’d never find out about new and interesting combinations and textures :) – and I love your description of the different textural stages of your cookies.

    I reckon I would like your spice combination. I put cayenne in the gingerbread I made before Christmas – it was a teeny little experiment for me, and I loved it. Of course I later discovered that people have been doing this for centuries (if the recipe for gingerbread from Mrs. Beeton’s 1859 book is anything to go by)!

    • marc

      I have to say I’m not a big fan of gingerbread personally, but I could see how cayenne pepper would work well with gingerbread:-)

  • http://www.thedailyspud.com Daily Spud

    Well, *somebody* has to experiment with baking, don’t they? Otherwise we’d never find out about new and interesting combinations and textures :) – and I love your description of the different textural stages of your cookies.

    I reckon I would like your spice combination. I put cayenne in the gingerbread I made before Christmas – it was a teeny little experiment for me, and I loved it. Of course I later discovered that people have been doing this for centuries (if the recipe for gingerbread from Mrs. Beeton’s 1859 book is anything to go by)!

    • marc

      I have to say I’m not a big fan of gingerbread personally, but I could see how cayenne pepper would work well with gingerbread:-)

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com/ Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Brilliant idea! Love the spicy. I will definitely have to make these for my husband.

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Brilliant idea! Love the spicy. I will definitely have to make these for my husband.

  • http://www.sweetsfoods.com/ Gera @ SweetsFoods

    I’m big fan of choco cookies…really addicted…the new hot-spicy-cayenne dimension is gorgeous to eat!
    Marc a perfect and delicious inspiration :)

    Cheers!
    Gera

  • http://www.sweetsfoods.com/ Gera @ SweetsFoods

    I’m big fan of choco cookies…really addicted…the new hot-spicy-cayenne dimension is gorgeous to eat!
    Marc a perfect and delicious inspiration :)

    Cheers!
    Gera

  • http://www.palatetopen.com Jen

    Sweet & spicy, I likey! I also like the peppermint oil suggestion.
    I’m actually working on a Mexican chocolate post—great minds cook alike :-)

  • http://www.palatetopen.com/ Jen

    Sweet & spicy, I likey! I also like the peppermint oil suggestion.
    I’m actually working on a Mexican chocolate post—great minds cook alike :-)

  • http://abutterworld.blogspot.com/ Butterball

    Love the tips for chewey, crunchy, etc. Being the moody type I change with the wind on which way to go.

  • http://abutterworld.blogspot.com Butterball

    Love the tips for chewey, crunchy, etc. Being the moody type I change with the wind on which way to go.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    I like the sound of spiced ccc’s.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    I like the sound of spiced ccc’s.

  • Pingback: Recipe Round-Up! ~ Jan 31 - Feb 6 Sugared Ellipses . . .

  • Pingback: Buttermilk Banana Bread | [ No Recipes ]

  • Pingback: White Chocolate Chestnut Blondie | [ No Recipes ]

  • http://www.ztastylife.com/ amelia

    wonderful: a grown-up, spiked up, version of a classic!

  • http://www.ztastylife.com amelia

    wonderful: a grown-up, spiked up, version of a classic!

  • bribri

    umn no..i wanna know if ii could make em with out it ruining the shape or order of the way they turn out besides the taste~~~~~~~~~!!!!

  • Pingback: Hot And Spicy Chocolate Chip Cookies | I Sing In The Kitchen

  • Catie_cohen130

    they were a hit! that says a lot since my family considers themselves cookie connoisseurs :) 

  • Susie Anne

    chili and chocolate…excellent combination, something new to the taste buds.

  • Pingback: Crustless Apple Pie Recipe | Fresh Tastes Blog | PBS Food

  • Pingback: Fall Baking Kept Simple: Crustless Apple Pie - EHAds.com

  • Emily Davis

    I have made these cookies maybe 8 times now…? And myself and my family can’t get enough of them! I love putting ‘Andes peppermint crunch baking chips’ in them with white chocolate chips as they make a great combination and go with the cayenne pepper surprisingly well. Thank you for posting so many amazing recipes, my next goal is to make the chicken stock for tomorrow nights ramen!

    Thanks,

    From Emily.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying them. Good luck with the ramen!

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

Sanma No Nitsuke
Kedgeree
Tomatillo
Creamy Salmon Miso Soup (Sake No To-nyu Jiru)
Strawberry Rhubarb Parmesan Crisp
Chinese Five Spice Powder
Pomegranate Poached Pears
Mapo Tofu (Sichuan Style)