Mexican Hearts of Fire Cookies

Mexican-Hearts-of-Fire-CookieThe cookies I am sharing with you today are completely different than the Bittersweet Chocolate & Toasted Walnut Cookies Perfect Mundo! I posted last week. You cannot live on one cookie alone, right?

Those were big, crisp-edged, and fabulously chewy cookies (deep bow to Francois Payard), reminiscent of the best brownies you’ve ever eaten but thinner, chewier, and more chocolaty. I think of them as voluptuous cookies, not so much to be savored as devoured. They make you feel unredeemed and unrepentant.

LunaCafe Mexican Hearts of Fire Cookies Being Rolled and Cut

Mexican Hearts of Fire, on the other hand, are demur, almost austere, little cookies that befit reflection, refinement, and lovely rituals, such as afternoon tea. You don’t devour them, you savor them, you take your time eating them, you experience the HERE, the NOW. They make you feel almost saintly.

LunaCafe Mexican Hearts of Fire Cookies Ready to Bake

These exceptional cookies fall in the shortbread category, because they contain a high amount of butter and no eggs. However, they are not likely to remind you of typical shortbread, as they are ever so crisp, thin, extravagantly spiced, and hot as Hades.

LunaCafe Mexican Hearts of Fire Cookies on Wire Rack There is something else a little unusual about these cookies. I don’t know why (I suspect the rather large quantity of orange oil) but even though the cookies look perfectly “normal” when they go into the oven, as they bake, the texture opens up a bit, and they get craggy around the edges. (MauiJim insists on calling them Hot Lava Cookies.) At first I thought this was something I needed to correct in the formulation, but then it hit me, “Hey, this effect is cool. Leave the formulation alone.”

LunaCafe Mexican Hearts of Fire Cookies on Red Plate

Mexican Hearts of Fire Cookies

Sometimes love is intense, fiery, a little ragged around the edges, and bittersweet. Those adjectives also describe these addictive, crisp little chocolate-orange-chile-cinnamon-cayenne cookies.

2½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

½ cup superb-quality cocoa powder (I used Valrhona natural-process cocoa)

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1½ cups unsalted butter (3 cubes)

1½ cups extra-fine sugar (regular sugar will also work)

minced zest of 1 large orange, about 1 tablespoon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Mexican or Tahitian vanilla if you have on hand)

¾ teaspoon pure Orange Oil (or 1½ teaspoons orange extract)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

½ teaspoon cayenne powder (or ¾ teaspoon if you can handle the heat)

White Chocolate Icing

4 ounces premium white chopped, finely chopped

1.In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.

2.In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, orange zest, vanilla extract, orange oil, cinnamon, ancho chile powder, and cayenne powder until well combined, about 3-4 minutes.

3.Add the flour mixture and mix on very slow speed briefly, just until dough just begins to forms.

4.Divide the dough into three pieces, each about 12-ounces, and flatten each piece between layers of plastic wrap.

5.Seal each package with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days.

6.Lay a round of well-chilled dough on a plastic rolling mat or sheet of plastic wrap, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and, and roll cookie dough to 1/8-inch thickness.

7.Cut with 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutters and place 1-inch apart on a heavy cookie sheet.

8.Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes, until cookies are lightly browned on the bottom. This is difficult to ascertain with chocolate cookies, so bake a few, let cool, and then taste. Cookies should be crisp and dry. Adjust baking time accordingly on subsequent batches.

9.Remove from the oven and loosen each cookie from the baking sheet with a spatula. Let the cookies cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

10.When cookies are completely cool, lay out of a wire rack.

11.Put the white chocolate in a small glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, and then for additional 10 second increments, until chocolate is melted when stirred with a wooden chopstick. (This typically takes 50 second total in my microwave.)

12.Quickly spoon melted white chocolate into a small pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with an 1/8-inch diameter opening.

13.Pipe the melted white chocolate over the tops of the cookies and let the icing firm up for at least an hour.

14.Stack cookies in an airtight cookie tin in a cool, dry place. Iced cookies will keep for 1 or more weeks.

Makes about 7 dozen cookies.

There’s More

Check out these additional CHOCOLATE recipes, which are part of the first annual Love Rules! celebration at LunaCafe (All Chocolate All Month):

Bittersweet Chocolate & Toasted Walnut Cookies Perfecta Mundo!

Mexican Hearts of Fire Cookies

Bittersweet Chocolate & Montmorency Cherry Morning Love Muffins

Luscious White Chocolate & Raspberry Rose Petal Cheesecake

Coming Soon

Smokin’ Hot Chocolate Pudding

Burnt Sugar & Rosemary Chocolate Tart

Chocolate and Cabernet Red Velvet Pound Cake

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  2. gypsybaker says

    Came across this recipe when looking at the white chocolate cheesecake recipe…these cookies are stand-alone fabulous…I may add soft candied ginger (drained 1st) when I make them again…and, there will be an “again” Thank you!

  3. brian says

    Very good cookies!! Many did not make it to the icing stage because our children started gobbling them up. You can crumble them up for a delicious ice cream topping too. We found this out after a care package my wife sent arrived in crumbs.

    • sms bradley says

      LOL! Yes, that happened to us too. Couldn’t stop eating the little devils. :-) Ice cream topping is an excellent idea. Also, try as the crumb base for a cheesecake. Thanks for stopping by!

    • sms bradley says

      Thanks Kevin, you and me both! I think chocolate and orange together are one of the worlds most perfect flavor combinations. Add a little heat, and well, oh mama! :-)

    • sms bradley says

      Hey pigpigs! I thought that too the first time I encountered the combination but actually it goes all the way back to Mayan times. cocoa and chiles groe in the same regions, so the combination is a natural. now I’m to the point where I want chile in anything chocolate. That little bit of kick is just so satisfying. You have made me hungry, so I’m going to go make the One Hot Mama Drinking Chocolate featured earlier this winter season. That’s a dynamite flavor combination as well.

    • sms bradley says

      Thanks Sara! :-) The first time I tasted chile with chocolate, I was bowled over. Now, “That’s What I’m Talkin’ About!” (Napolean Dynamite)


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