These cookies need a milk chaser, and that's a good thing. I prefer desserts that demand a cold glass of milk.
By that I mean, rich, dense and chocolatey. For me, there is definitely such a thing as “too sweet” — many commercially made desserts fit this category — but there is no chocolate “too rich.”
The cookies are bittersweet with subtle cinnamon and cayenne pepper. They're okay on their own, but the dulce de leche adds a needed creaminess. I have had the recipe bookmarked for two years, but you shouldn't wait anywhere near that long to make a version of these.
Chocolate and dulce de leche previously: Chocolate and Dulce de Leche Layer Cake and Chocolate Dulce de Leche Custard Puffs
Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies with Dulce de Leche
Adapted from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts and Cookie Madness. Cookie Madness thought to pair Heatter's cookies with dulce de leche, but she put it in the center of the dough, sealed the edges and baked it together. I decided to pile the dulce de leche on after baking, as you would an Argentine alfajor. Also, I added baking soda to the dough and baked my cookies soft, not 'extra crisp' as Heatter says hers are.
- 12 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into small pieces (or you could use unsalted butter and add 1/4 tsp. of salt to the dry ingredients)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup quality unsweetened cocoa (I don't know what the difference is, but the original recipe calls for Dutch-process)
- 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I've used white pepper, too)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup to 1 jar of dulce de leche (depending how much you want to use)
Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
In another bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, pepper and baking soda — plus salt if your butter is unsalted).
Gradually add flour mixture to the first bowl. (If using an electric mixer, don't overbeat.)
On a lightly floured surface, bring dough together in a roll, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in wax paper and put it in the freezer so it can firm up before you try to cut it. Or keep it frozen until you're ready to use. (I baked one batch right away, and the rest of the dough is still waiting for me.)
Preheat oven to 350.
Cut dough into rounds 1/4-inch thick or thinner. Put them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 5-7 minutes. (I decided I like the cookies even thinner than shown in that photo, and only cooked 5 minutes, so they just melt in your mouth. You can do up to 10 minutes if you cut them thicker and want crisp cookies instead.)
Allow cookies to cool before spreading with dulce de leche. The texture is even better once they sit overnight.
Then, just make sure you have milk on hand.