Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

For many, many, many years I have been a co-chair of the teacher and Staff Appreciation Committee at my kids school.  We put together a few events throughout the year to thank the school for all they do for the kids, but while the Valentine’s Day Candy is appreciated, and the Staff Appreciation party is a blast, we are best known as the cookie committee.  

Every month our committee organized a specific cookie baking project in a couple of the grades across the middle and upper school.  These cookies are gathered by us in the morning, and distributed in cute bags and cookie jars around the school for the staff and faculty to enjoy.  We are also known as The Cookie Ladies.  It sounds a little silly and old-fashioned, but we’re ok with it.  

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

One of the most popular cookie recipes, which we usually bake in January, are these Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies.  I adapted this recipe from a Martha Stewart recipe (credit where credit is due), and they are beloved.  The cookies become Mexican thanks to a bit of cinnamon and a pure chile powder. 

What Kind of Chile Powder to Use

DO NOT USE MEXICAN CHILI POWDER BLEND! That has other seasonings in it, like oregano and garlic, and it’s not what you want in a cookie. You want to use pure chile powder, and it doesn’t really matter what kind.  Ancho chile powder, guajillo chile powder, as long as it is a powder made from pure chiles, you are in business.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Rolling Cookies in Cinnamon Sugar

The dough is rolled into balls, and then those balls are rolled in a bend of cinnamon and sugar, which offers the finished product a lovely crackley crust.

This rolling in the sugar thing is a good task for kids to help with.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

The result are cookies that are moist and chewy, with a little glow of heat in them.  Not enough to make you feel like you are in unpleasantly spicy territory, more like the chocolate got a bit of a backbone.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies: A bit of cinnamon and pure chile powder turn these crinkley chocolate cookies into something very special.

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If ever a cookie was ready to be paired up with a glass of milk, these would be the ones.  They will keep for several days, even a week, in a tightly sealed container.  If you hide the container.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

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Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

A bit of cinnamon and pure chile powder turn these crinkley chocolate cookies into something very special.
Yield: 24 Cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 ¾ cup sugar , divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon pure chile powder (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper if you have it, or leave them ungreased if not.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 ½ cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and beat to combine. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until combined.
  • In a small bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar, cinnamon, and chile powder (if using). Using heaping tablespoons, form balls of dough and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place the balls about 3 inches apart, on the baking sheets.
  • Bake one sheet at a time until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack, about 10 minutes. If you want to bake the two sheets at once, make sure you have the racks spaced out in the oven in the top third and the bottom third, and rotate the baking sheets halfway during the baking. Let the cookies cool on sheets on wire racks for 3 or 4 minutes, then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 102mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 269IU | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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