I wanted to make a pretty cookie, but it just wasn’t going to happen. I really thought I could do it. I’ve probably made thousands of cookies by now, but they were mostly the drop kind. Not the freeze, roll into a three-sided triangle shape, roll in sesame seeds, freeze again, slice really thin through the hard chocolate and nuts without distorting the shape kind. But the Ancho Mole Cookies sure tasted good, despite being less than the perfect triangles I was hoping for.
Epicurious had the recipe for Ancho Mole Cookies on their web site recently, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I was going to make it. The combination of chocolate, chile, cinnamon, sesame seeds, fruit, and nuts — ingredients in a classic mole sauce –was pure genius, and immediately caught my attention and went on the “bake soon” list. Plus, they were just so dang pretty. Perfect equilateral triangle slices, with dried fruit shining through like colored glass.
Russ noticed I was busy in the kitchen, and asked what I was making. “Cookies for the blog.” Russ: “My name is Blog. That’s my new name”. “Blog” gave them his seal of approval, really liking the chile bite combined with the chocolate, fruit and nuts, and he didn’t care that they weren’t equilateral triangles.
Instead of dried fruit, I used fruta cristalizada, a common treat in Mexico, where entire halves of camote (sweet potato), large chunks of papaya or calabaza (winter squash), whole figs and many other fruits are cooked in a sugar syrup until candied, but still tender on the inside. The colors are like gems. If you are not in Mexico, use any dried fruit you have on hand.
Make these cookies. Don’t be put off by my misshapen attempt. I plan on making them again, and just not obsessing over achieving a triangle cut as specified in the original Epicurious recipe. Round cookies are fine. A good cookie is a good cookie, regardless of shape.
Omit the chile if you are faint of heart/palate. And use white flour, if you are not of the whole wheat persuasion. If you use ancho chile powder, be prepared for a mouth tingling zip that leaves you reaching for another cookie.
Ancho Mole Cookies
- 1 cup (4 oz/115 g) nuts (I used walnuts)
- 1¼ cups (6.34 oz/180g) raw sesame seeds, divided
- ¼ cup (.84 oz/24g) pure, ground ancho chile powder
- ¼ cup (59ml) agave syrup
- 2 cups (256 g) whole wheat or all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 12 Tbsp. (6 oz/170 g)unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup (33.55 oz/100 g) sugar
- 1¾ tsp. kosher salt
- 3 large egg yolks (save the egg whites for brushing on the rolls)
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup (130 g) dried fruit, such as papaya, mango, or pineapple,, cut into (¾”) pieces. I used papaya cristalizada.The weight may vary, depending on the moisture content of the dried fruit.
- 3/4 cup (4 oz/110 g) chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
- Heat oven to 350 F. Toast nuts and 1/4 cup sesame seeds for 10 minutes, tossing halfway through. Set aside.
- Blend all dry ingredients, chile and cinnamon included.
- In standing mixer, cream butter and sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat an additional minute. Add agave syrup and beat until well blended.
- With mixer on low speed, gradually add dry ingredients until blended.
- Stir in nuts, toasted sesame seeds and dried fruit.
- Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 10″ log and wrap each one in plastic wrap or wax paper, rolling again to make each log smooth. Freeze for 20 minutes on a flat surface.
- Now you have a choice. Either follow Epicurious’ instructions and slap the cold cylinder on the counter to form a 3-sided triangle form, OR skip that and leave as a perfectly round log shape. Whichever your choice, leave wrapped and freeze an additional 15 minutes.
- Working with one log at a time, unwrap and brush with egg white. Roll in remaining 1 cup of sesame seeds, covering surface completely. Freeze unwrapped for about an hour, until surface is firm but not frozen.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F/180 C.
- Slice each log into 1/4″ (6.35 mm) slices. If dough warms and becomes soft while slicing, return to freezer for 10-15 minutes. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced 1″ (25 mm) apart.
- Bake 10-12 minutes, until edges are set, but centers are still soft. Let cool on baking sheets.
~ Ancho chiles are dried, smoked poblano chile, with a complex, smokey flavor. The powdered form is common, and is found in many salsas and moles.
~ Mole ( MOH-lay) is a classic Mexican sauce used for chicken, pork, almost any meat. I’ve even spooned it over sautéed tofu slices. The states of Oaxaca and Puebla are famous for their mole. Depending on ingredients, mole can be green, yellow, black or red, and there are more than a dozen different ways to prepare it. Fruit, chocolate, seeds, nuts and chile are typically found in mole sauces. Bottled Doña María mole sauce is the easy way to make a mole dish at home. You’ll find it in the Mexican food aisle if you are north of the border. For those of you south of the border, Doña María is in every little grocery store in Mexico.
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