2005 Winner: Chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne conspire to make a devilishly good cookie.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Taste Tip: Vosges chocolate bars are available at Whole Foods Market and other specialty stores and at www.vosgeschocolate.com.
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (3.3-ounce) Vosges Red Fire chocolate bar, chopped (see Taste Tip)
½ cup (3 ounces) cinnamon chips
4 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a double boiler over gently simmering water, melt bittersweet chocolate until smooth. Remove from heat and cool melted chocolate for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cayenne pepper and salt, and reserve. In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until mixture is pale, light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add lukewarm melted chocolate and vanilla extract, and mix until just combined. Using a spatula, fold in flour mixture, and then fold in chopped chocolate bar and cinnamon chips.
In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
Drop batter by ¼ cupfuls onto prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies 2 inches apart. Sprinkle a pinch of dusting mixture over each cookie and bake until tops are evenly cracked but cookies are not yet firm to the touch, about 16 minutes. Remove from oven and cool cookies completely on baking sheets.
2005 Winner: Michelle Clark of St. Paul, Minnesota