The Mexicans regarded chocolate as a savory rather than a sweet commodity, and ate it cooked in casseroles - undoubtedly mixed with chili pepper. This is a whimsical little recipe, combining both sweetness and the traditional chili-chocolate Mexican idea. I like it. I hope you will.
Put the chocolate and water in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the chocolate melts, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, chili powder, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt, and set aside.
Beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until well mixed. Beat in the eggs and the chocolate. Add the dry ingredients in two or three batches, beating well after each addition to make a somewhat moist dough. Divide the dough into four equal parts.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough into a log approximately 12 inches long and 1½ inches thick. Place the dough logs on a sheet of wax paper, cover loosely with another sheet of paper, and refrigerate until firm but not hard (1½-2 hours).
When ready to bake the cookies, slice the logs into ¼-inch-thick rounds and arrange on ungreased baking sheets.
Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a serving platter. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over and serve right away, or store in an airtight container.
© 1999 Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright estate. All rights reserved.