Monday, July 30, 2007


Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies
Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies.

Give Mexico credit where it’s due. Not only does our Neighbor to the South provide an unceasing stream of Potential New Citizens eager to paint our houses, cook our restaurant meals, cut our lawns, clean our living rooms, and maintain our swimming pools, they also Wrote The Book when it comes to chocolate.

Oh, the Swiss and the Belgians are no slouches when it comes to frou-frou truffles or fine eating chocolate. Hell, in Brussels there’s a chocolatier on practically every street corner. Now, that’s Civilization.

But the Mexicans invented the stuff...and they still put their own spin on it.

Checkit: One of my favorite Hot Chocolate Drinks is Abuelita, which may be rendered “The Little Grandma” in English...or “Bubeleh” in Yiddish. What a great brand name.

Abuelita is simply chocolate, sweetened with coarse sugar and fortified with a goodly dose of cinnamon. It comes in pre-scored hexagonal tablets. You snap the tablet into quarters - one quarter being the right amount to make one cup of hot chocolate - drop it into a cup of hot milk, and beat the crap out of it. Or drop a quarter-tablet into a cup of cold milk and nuke it until it’s steaming hot, then beat the crap out of it. Either way, you’ll end up with a great cup of chocolate...with that extra pong of cinnamon. It’s just like being in the Zona Rosa.

And then there are the infamous Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies that I’ve written about on several occasions.

Don’t let the “Icebox” in the name fool you. These little fellas are baked in the oven...but after you make the dough, you chill it in the fridge and then roll it into a log for slicing and baking: thus the name. Of course, you could hack the raw dough into little bits and mix it into a couple of quarts of vanilla ice cream...but that would be so, so, wrong on so, so many levels...

They are dark little gems, these cookies, each one carrying a load of cocoa flavor and jacked up with cinnamon, black pepper, and cayenne. Ridiculously good with cold milk...or dunked in hot coffee.

In the past, I’ve make these Bad Boys with Dutch-process cocoa and gotten excellent results, but lately I’ve taken to using a 1:1 or 2:1 blend of Dutch-process and black cocoas. The black cocoa gives the cookies that Oreo-like “black as the ace of spades” coloration that betokens Extreme Chocolatiness. Black as the very night, they are.

Look upon them...but only if you dare...

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