Joy the Baker

Cinnamon Orange Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon tinted Mexican Wedding Cookies

February 21, 2008

Since I bake with what seems like a compulsion, I must admit that I often eat dessert for dinner.  Photographed above is my Wednesday night dinner-  Cinnamon Orange Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon tinted Mexican Wedding Cookies.  I know… it might seem like I went a little cinnamon crazy, but I had good reason-  Nikki at CrazyDelicious is hosting a Master Baker event, and this months theme in cinnamon!

So there were three things going on in my mad kitchen: cookies that are light, nutty and tender, hot chocolate that is perfectly rich and full of flavor , and funky orange slices that I would take back if I could…. Let’s start with the cookies.  They’re outta sight!

I have a vague memory of my darling Aunt DeeDee making these Mexican Wedding Cookies for me as a child.  What I remember about them was how the powdered sugar accumulated on my fingers the more cookies I ate.  And I remember the satisfaction I had licking my fingers clean after eating a dozen or so of these cookies.  These cookies are a breeze to make, and they are light, tender filled with a rich cinnamon and pecan flavor.  I only added a teaspoon of cinnamon, so it didn’t overwhelm the reipe, but really complimented the toasted pecan flavor.  You must must try these!

Cinnamon tinted Mexican Wedding Cookies

adapted from Demolition Desserts

Print this Recipe!

2 cups (8 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted, plus 1/2  to 3/4 cup for coating the cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons water

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted

1 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup finely ground toasted pecans, from about 1 1/4 cup pecan halves

Position racks in the upper third and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Pour 1/2 cup powdered sugar for coating into a shallow bowl or plate and pour the granulated sugar into another shallow bowl.  Set them aside until you are ready to coat the dough.

In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, cream together the butter and 2 cups powdered sugar for about 3 minutes.  Add the vanilla and water and stir until just combined.  Add the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and pecans and stir for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles.

Here comes the only trick to making this cookie: use a light touch when shaping the dough.  Lightly press the crumbly chunks of dough together between your palms to form balls the size of walnuts, being careful not to compact them.  Don’t try to form perfect, smooth little globes.  You want to push the dough together just enough so the balls hold their shape.   The looser the balls, the lighter the cookie.  As the balls are formed, set them aside of a baking sheet or tray.

When all the balls are formed, roll each ball first in the granulated sugar and then in the powdered sgar and place on the prepared pans, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart.  Don’t throw away the powdered sugar yet because you will give the cookies one final roll in it after they have been baked and cooled.

Bake the cookies, rotating the pan after about 7 minutes, for 14 to 18 minutes, or until lightly golden and just beginning to show cracks.  While the cookies are baking, clean any dough crumbs out of your bowl of powdered sugar.  If the powdered sugar seems low, add the remaining 1/4 cup to the bowl.  You will have powdered sugar left over  in the bowl when you finish, but having a good amount will make it easier to give the cookies the final coat.

When the cookies are done, let them cool completely on the pans, or transfer them to a cooling rack.  A cooling rack helps the cookies cool faster.  When they are completely cool, roll them gently in the powdered sugar one last time

These cooies have the best texture the day they are made.  They are fragile, so store them covered on a place instead of in a cookie jar, and eat them within 24 hours… that shouldn’t be a problem.

Cookies before they have been baked

Cinnamon Orange Hot Chocolate

adapted from Hershey

makes just over 4 cups

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened Cocoa

1 ounce bitter sweet chocolate (60%- 65%)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup hot water

4 cups milk

zest of 1 orange

Mix the sugar, cocoa, bittersweet chocolate, cinnamon and salt in a sauce pan.  Stir in the water.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils.  Simmer and stir for 2 minutes stirring constantly.  Stir in the milk and heat, stirring often.  Do not bring the mixture to a boil.  Remove from heat, add orange zest, and left mixture sit, covered for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, strain the hot chocolate through a fine mesh strainer to catch all the orange zest.  Serve and enjoy.

These blood oranges were grown by two dear friends of mine.  They were perfection just as they were.  I decided to try and dry thin orange slices in the oven at 250 degrees F, for about an hour.  The color and flavor of the oranges intensified, but next time I would definitely use these blood oranges as a garnish just as they are- beautiful, juicy orange goodness.


24 Comments Add A Comment

  • Your close-up shots are great and I am so jealous that you have a macro lens! I love photography as much as being in the kitchen too. I’ve only had my dSLR for 2 months. Playing around with it and learning about photography is great fun. I’m getting into portraiture as well!

    Okay, am babbling here in the comment section! Email me back and we can chat :)

  • We are total camera geeks! I have to tell you, my boyfriend gave me about a 15 minute camera lesson with his Canon SLR and his fancy lenses, and he hasn’t seen his camera since. I’ve stolen it every day since to practice and take pictures for my blog. I totally love it! Just as much as I love baking.
    Your pictures are amazing! The 50mm is treating you well.

  • A 100mm macro lens! I have wanted one for a while, but funds are rather limited at the moment :( I have a Canon SLR too, with a 50mm f/1.4.

    We can be camera geeks :P

  • Hi Linda- I use a SLR. Its a Canon, and I take most of my shots with a 50mm or 100mm lens. Lately I’ve been in love with the 100mm. Hey- thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  • Muy bien Joy! These cookies look really great. I can never refuse anything with cinnamon. It’s the most used spice in my baking cupboard!

    Quick question, do you use an SLR or a point-and-shoot for your photos? Some of them have some lovely bokeh and DOF :)

  • Wow these cookies look so yummy. I wish I had a friend that had blood oranges…hard to find here in Delaware.

  • Tartlette and Tammy- Thank you so much for your feedback! I had no idea my site takes so long to load. I’ll definitely try to get that fixed so you can enjoy the site faster. That must be frustrating for you! Thanks for handing in there with me!

  • Wow, they look gorgeous as does everything else on your site!!! I am like Tartelette – your site takes a long time to load, hence not too many comments from me so far

  • What? There are other choices for dinner other than cake or cookies? Your Wednesday dinner sounds like a lot of my dinners. Great cookies (and photos), maybe these will Saturday’s dinner. :)

  • Blood oranges are a favorite of mine too. I am with you on desserts for dinner! I am sorry that I comment so little on your blog but for some reason it takes an incredibly long time to load on my laptop but be sure that I viit daily! Great picture!

  • I have always loved mexican wedding cookies and the addition of cinnamon sounds great. Dessert always makes a perfect dinner in my book:)

  • Oh my, it looks lovely. Definitely worthy of dinner. I can honestly say I have never eaten a blood orange. I have never even seen them in stores. I swear sometimes, I live in a hole. They look amazing!

  • Oooh yum. The cookies look so elegant – and that hot chocolate, well, I’m going to make some right now. Hot chocolate is a huge weakness of mine and this sounds delightful.

  • Joy, as always I am now hungry after reading your blog. Your cookies and hot chocolate delicious!

    Thanks for the entry!

  • You have some lovely things going on here – would love to browse further through your archive instead of doing some work… And I fully sympathize with the idea of dessert for dinner!

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