Before I visited Mexico I had thought that the three T’s of the Taco, the Tortilla and the Tequila were the country’s culinary high points. So I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered mole sauce on the Mexican menu card during a trip along the Inca and Mayan trails. Mole is a rich, savoury sauce with chocolate, nuts and spices that is usually served with turkey. Every self respecting Mexican cook has his or her own version. Chocolate is originally from this part of Middle America and Mexicans used chocolate in savoury and sweet dishes hundreds of years before explorers brought the beans to Europe. In this mole chocolate cookie from Mexico I used the most characteristic ingredients of the mole sauce. I don’t have any turkey shaped cookie cutters and could not find anything looking remotely like a sombrero. But there are a lot of cacti in Mexico and the red pepper in this mole chocolate cookie can sting. Not a fan of chocolate? Try my recipe for the Puerquito cookie from Mexico.
Mole chocolate cookie from Mexico
for about 30 cookies
275 grams dark muscovado sugar
350 milliliters water
4 cinnamon sticks
2 pieces of star anise
450 grams flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
40 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
40 grams ground almonds
350 grams butter
dried red chili pepper flakes to taste
In a saucepan stir the muscovado sugar with the water, the cinnamon sticks, the cloves and the star anise and bring to the boil. Leave to bubble on low heat for about 20 min. or until the mixture has reduced to a thin syrup. Remove the spices and leave to cool.
Cut the butter into small pieces. In a large bowl mix the flour with the baking powder and the salt. Using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the cocoa powder and the almonds.
Stir in 3 eggs, add the syrup and mix well. The dough will be very soft and sticky. Cover with cling film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Beat the last egg with a fork. Dust a sheet of baking paper with flour and take 1/4 of the mixture out of the refrigerator. Dust the top of the dough with some more flour or cocoa powder. Roll out the dough to 0,5 cm / 0,2 inch between 2 pieces of baking paper for soft thick cookies and to half the thickness for thinner crunchy ones. Cut out cookies with cookie cutter. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Put the dough back in the refrigerator to firm up again when it gets too sticky to work with.
Carefully transfer the cookies to a cookie sheet covered with baking paper and brush with the egg wash. Bake them in the middle of the oven. The thin cookies will be done in about 15 min. The thick softer ones will need about 5 min. more. Take the cookies out of the oven and leave to cool on the cookie sheet.
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