Traditionally, these cookies are for Christmas, but don’t worry. I’m not making them that far ahead of time. This batch is for graduation festivities, particularly, our Teacher Appreciation fiesta. I signed up to make “Mexican Cookies” (because brownies were taken) and decided to go with these.
The original recipe is based on one from the Houston Junior League’s Stop and Smell the Rosemary: Recipes and Traditions to Remember (excellent book!!!), but I’ve made a few modifications. The coating is kind of interesting because it’s made with the usual sugar and cinnamon as well as grated chocolate, which melts onto the shell of the cookie and adds some color, but not a whole lot of chocolate flavor. The flavor is inside the cookie. The combo of cinnamon and vanilla goes a long way, and that hefty proportion of butter does its job for the texture. These aren’t quite as dusty as polverones, but they are ethereally light and delicious, nonetheless. While not exactly flashy in appearance, they will impress after one bite. And they’re just perfect for an afternoon snack with a cup of coffee.
That being said, if I can find the time today, I want to run to the store and buy brownie ingredients. I might try to make some Mexican brownies anyway. What are they gonna do about it if I show up with extra brownies, eh?
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or Mexican vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups to 1 3/4 cups (7.9 ounces) all-purpose flour (see note)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the salt, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and cinnamon, scraping the sides of the bowl often, until mixture is smooth. Beat in the baking powder. When it’s thoroughly mixed in, add the flour and stir by hand until it’s well mixed. The batter should be soft, yet sturdy enough to shape.
- With a level tablespoon, scoop up the dough and shape into 24 balls. Place the balls on a plate and chill for 2 hours or if baking ahead, chill until very firm, then put in a heavy duty zipper bag and freeze.
- When ready to bake, bring the dough balls to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Arrange the dough balls, spacing about 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets, then press the balls into 2 inch rounds. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
- Meanwhile, mix the sugar, chocolate and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Remove warm cookies from baking sheets and let cool for about 3 minutes on a wire rack set over a sheet of foil. Spoon coating over the cookies, letting it fall down onto the foil. Scoop fallen coating off the foil and use it to coat the bottom of the cookies. Let cool completely before serving.