Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies

These are the cookies that you should add to your stable of Christmas cookie recipes this year. You probably have most of the bases already covered - the classic iced sugar cookies, the beautifully spiced gingerbread, the buttery, crumbly shortbreads, the jam-filled thumbprints. But I bet you don't have a cookie like this on your list.

Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies

The interior texture is both fluffy and moist, while the outside dissolves in your mouth in a crackle. The flavor is deeply chocolate-y, with a hint of wamrth from the cinnamon and a kick from the smoky chipotle chile powder that really sets these cookies apart. And these cookies are beautiful to look at without any rolling or cutting or icing. You simply chill the dough, scoop it into balls, and roll it in two sugars

If you're planning to make these cookies this holiday season, consider making two batches - they'll go fast.

Spices used in this recipe

Cinnamon, Ground
Chili Powder, Chipotle
Salt, Kosher


  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 Tbs. coffee liqueur or brewed coffee cooled to room temperature
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao preferred), finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (3 oz.) whole almonds, or 3 oz. almond meal
  • ¾ tsp. Vanns Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼-½ tsp. Vanns Chipotle Chile Powder, to taste (¼ tsp. will add a hint of spice, ½ tsp. will be more assertive)
  • ½ tsp. Vanns Kosher Salt
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar


  1. Fill the bottom of a double boiler with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. While water heats, toast the almonds in a 350°F oven or in a pan over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, taking care not to burn them. Allow the almonds to cool. If using almond meal, you can skip this step.
  2. When the water in the bottom of the double boiler comes to a boil, turn off the heat. Place the chopped chocolate, coffee or coffee liqueur, and butter in the top of the double boiler and place it over the hot water in the bottom half. Stir occasionally as chocolate melts. When the mixture is smooth, remove the top of the double boiler and set aside to allow the chocolate to cool slightly.
  3. Place the eggs and ½ cup of the granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a large bowl and a hand mixer for this, though it may take a little bit longer to whip the eggs. If you only have a whisk, and you really want to make this recipe, consider this step your arm workout for the week. Whip the eggs and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes with a stand mixer. If you’re not sure if you’ve whipped them enough, do it for another minute. This step is crucial to achieving these cookies’ amazing texture.
  4. Use a silicone spatula to scrape the chocolate out of the double boiler and into the eggs, and whisk at medium speed until fully combined.
  5. If using whole almonds, place the toasted, cooled almonds in a food processor along with the flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder, chipotle chile powder, and salt. Process until the almonds are very finely chopped, the texture of fine cornmeal. Pour the dry mixture into the bowl with the egg and chocolate mixture. If using almond meal, simply stir all of the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and pour into the egg and chocolate mixture. Whisk on low speed until just combined, and then use your silicone spatula to gently stir the mixture to make sure that there are no pockets of flour lurking at the bottom of the bowl. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with your spatula to consolidate the dough at the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until firmed up.
  7. Preheat your oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
  8. Pour the remaining ½ cup in a small bowl, and the ½ cup confectioners sugar in another small bowl. Using a 1 Tbs. ice cream scoop or a 1 Tbs. measuring spoon, scoop the dough into 1 Tbs. balls and place them on one of the cookie sheets. It’s okay to pack them in there - you’re not going to bake them in this state!
  9. When you’ve scooped out all of the dough, it’s time to coat the balls in sugar. First, roll the ball between your palms to even it out. Roll the ball in the granulated sugar to coat it lightly, and then roll the ball in confectioners sugar, coating it quite generously. Place the sugar-coated ball on the empty parchment-lined sheet and repeat the process with each ball of dough, spacing the cookies 1 ½-inches apart on the cookie sheets.
  10. Bake in the center of the oven for 11-14 minutes, checking the cookies at 11 minutes. They should slide on the parchment instead of sticking if you nudge them with a spatula. It’s better to take them out a little bit before you think they’re totally done - if you bake them for too long, they get too dry. Transfer the cookie sheets to a rack and cool completely. These cookies are best eaten the same day they’re made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days.

Makes 30 cookies. Adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking.

You might also like

Carrot Cake for a Crowd

Making dessert for a crowd can be difficult. Something like a pie is almost big enough, but you'll have to carefully dissect it into tiny slivers to really make it work. A layer cake looks spectacular, but presents the same slicing problem.

Chicken and Chickpea Tagine

A hearty combination of moist braised dark-meat chicken and tender chickpeas seasoned with a warm, Moroccan-inspired spice blend.

Cardamom Dutch Baby with Blackberry Compote

A fluffy, crispy, buttery Dutch baby pancake is spiced up with warm Vanns Cardamom and Cinnamom and topped with a sharp, sweet blackberry compote.

Almond Marmalade Crumble Bars

Almonds and Vanns Almond Extract add a hint of nuttiness to these citrusy marmalade crumble bars.

Turmeric-Chili Shrimp with Spicy Slaw

A quick shirmp dish that builds flavor through the use of Asian aromatics, earthy turmeric, and spicy chili flakes. Combined with a refreshing slaw, it just needs a side of rice to make a complete meal.

Turkey Taco Salad

A lighter take on a taco salad, featuring ground turkey spiced with Vanns Taco Seasoning, and a homemade pico de gallo salsa.

Jalapeño and Cumin Coleslaw

Maybe you have your grilling recipes all set for this weekend. Maybe you're letting someone else do the grilling. Either way, don't forget about the sides! This coleslaw hits all the right notes.

Delicious Harissa Sauce

What do you call something that’s a sauce, a paste, a flavor-adder, a spark of heat and a touch of earth, a zing to be stirred into soups and pilafs, mixed with yogurt and hummus, spread on sandwiches and mixed into marinades?

Stir-Fried Cabbage with Fennel, Cumin, and Sesame Seeds

A beautifully spiced, Indian take on a classic cabbage side.

Slow-Cooker Apple Butter

Perfectly spiced apple butter is made easy with the use of a slow cooker.