A recipe! And a good one, at that!
I think I once found a recipe somewhat like this one in Saveur magazine, but I’ve completely changed it around. I think the original incarnation of these were icebox cookies, but it’s actually not all that easy or fun to make true icebox cookies with coconut oil. Icebox cookies are sliced cookies—the dough is made into a log, chilled, then sliced into perfect rounds. I’m sure it works great with butter, but because coconut oil doesn’t have the range of temperature differences that butter has—it is pretty much always either liquid or rock-hard—it’s difficult to make and slice a cookie log without it turning into a pile of crumbs or mushy mass. Spare yourself the frustration and use a small ice cream scoop to portion out cookies and flatten them into perfect circles. In exchange for saying goodbye to cookie logs, you will get great flavor and texture in these “icebox” cookies.
What the fuck, do I write a food column now? Sometimes I slip into this ridiculous food writing voice that irritates even myself. Let’s just get going.
Mexican chocolate chipotle sandwich cookies with cinnamon ganache
makes about 25 cookies
¾ c all-purpose flour
¾ c cocoa powder
¾ ts. Mexican cinnamon, coarsely ground*
¼ ts. sea salt
¼ ts. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 ts. chipotle chile powder (or ancho chile powder, for a milder flavor, or nothing, for no spiciness. Or cayenne, if you want to kill people.)
1 cup sugar
1 ½ ts. vanilla extract (not to brag or anything, but I make my own.)
3 Tb. flax seed “eggs”**
½ c coconut oil, at any temperature except liquid (you know about coconut oil, right? If not, let me explain it.)
- Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, sea salt, pepper, and chipotle chile powder.
- In standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, vanilla, “eggs,” and coconut oil. Mix on medium speed for about three minutes (depending on how hard the coconut oil was), until thoroughly combined and fluffy. (Veronica made the cookies in these pictures and I think it’s safe to say that her favorite part—as well as mine—is this step. The mixture gets all puffy and white and so so so non-vegan looking, and for some reason it just delights both of us.)
- Add flour mixture and mix just to combine (Don’t overmix!!! Tough cookies will be the result.).
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Use a small ice cream scoop (I think mine is size #73) to portion out dough onto a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet, leaving ½” space on all sides. Use wet hands to flatten into balls.
- Refrigerate until hard, about 15 minutes.
- Bake cookies until lightly puffed, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to let cool.
Bring half of a 14 oz. can (7 oz) of coconut milk to a boil. Turn off the heat and add 3/4 lbs finely chopped chocolate (good chocolate, you know. Organic and f/t and all that. Mine is about 56%). Cover and let sit about 5-10 minutes. Slowly whisk until combined, then add either a bit of cinnamon extract (Boyajian makes a very strong one that you can probably get at crapass While Foods) or more ground canela cinnamon. Or, any flavor you want!
(I do not know if this will make enough ganache. I feel like it will make way too much, but I’m used to working in such larger sizes that that amount looks insanely tiny. You might want to double that and use 1 can of coconut milk and 1 1/2 lbs chocolate. Extra ganache can be used as frosting, thinned out with water for hot chocolate, made into truffles [roll into balls, then roll in cocoa powder and you will have what I very unkindly call fakeass truffles that are still delicious], or, of course, eaten straight.)
Transfer ganache into a pastry bag ideally fitted with a star tip. A plain tip or no tip is OK, and instead of going the pastry bag route, you could just put the ganache onto the cookies with a spoon. When ganache is cool enough to pipe easily, pipe a swirl of ganache onto half of the cookies—don’t go all the way to the edge. Top with the other half of the cookies.
*Mexican cinnamon is the best cinnamon ever (Sorry Moom, I also do really love the Vietnamese cinnamon you brought back for me from Vietnam, it’s beautifully spicy!)—it’s soft (in all senses of the word: the flavor is softer than what you probably think of as cinnamon flavor, and the sticks are very soft and crumbly) and sweet and floral and fragrant. I buy mine in Mexican markets, where it is usually labelled canela. You can also get it at Penzeys.
**You know: bring a few tablespoons of flax seeds to a boil in a cup or more of water, then strain. It looks and works like egg whites, minus the leavening qualities.