Mayan Chocolate Cookies

A quick detour from sewing, because it’s that time of year when we all must make and eat lots of cookies!

I make these cookies every year around Christmas time to give out as gifts and bring to parties. They are truly delicious. They are probably the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten. I may like them even more than chocolate chip cookies (gasp!). They are a bit spicy, a lot chocolately, with a sugar crunch on the outside and a soft slightly gooey center. And did I mention delicious?

Mayan chocolate cookies

I don’t think a year has gone by without someone asking me for the recipe, so I thought I’d put it up here for all to enjoy!

This, of course, is not ‘my’ recipe (although I’ve made it so many times that I think of it as my own), but a recipe I cut out of the San Francisco Chronicle many years ago. A bit of internet sleuthing & I found it online here. So recipe credit goes to Jacqueline Higuera McMahan of the SF Chronicle.


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee powder, such as Medaglia D’Oro
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar (3/4 cup for dough, 1/4 cup for rolling)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • about 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I like semisweet best)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift (or whisk) together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, espresso powder, black and cayenne peppers and the cocoa powder.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with 3/4 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; mix well. Add the sifted dry ingredients and blend well. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl.
  5. Roll a piece of dough about the size of a small walnut between the palms of your hands. Using your index finger, press an indentation in the center of the cookie. Place 4 chocolate chips in the indentation. Mold the dough around the chips to enclose them completely; press to seal. Roll the dough into a ball, then roll in the sugar and place on the baking sheet. Continue forming the rest of the dough.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes. Do not overbake. These cookies are best when still a little moist in the center.

If you’re like me, then you will be making several batches of these and want them all freshly baked right before you give them out. To do that, you can make them up through step 5, then instead of popping them in the oven, put the entire cookie sheet in the freezer. Once the balls of dough are frozen (a few hours), you can transfer them to a ziploc bag to store in the freezer until you’re ready to bake. When you bake them, lower the oven temperature to 325 and cook them a bit longer (10-12 minutes).

Mayan chocolate cookies 2

So enjoy some nice warm cookies this winter, preferably curled up on the couch with a good book!

2 thoughts on “Mayan Chocolate Cookies

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