The recipe: Devil’s Delight Cookies

Why you should bake: Because carefully inserting cayenne pepper, cinnamon and other heat-generating spices into chocolate is always a happy occasion. And because they’re a secret-ingredient version of the same-old, same-old chocolate crinkle cookie.

Degree of difficulty: A relatively simple drop cookie.

What we didn’t tell you: The original recipe called for Vosges Red Fire chocolate bars, but the company no longer produces them. Any similarly sized chocolate-chile bar will do, and there are a number of them on the market. Green & Black’s dark chocolate Spiced Chili bar is a fine substitute.

Fun fact: Baker Michelle Clark found inspiration at St. Paul’s Legacy Chocolates. Her minor obsession with the store's dark chocolate-chipotle truffle got her thinking: Could it translate into a cookie? Clark kicked the idea around for a few weeks, and then remembered the Christmas presents she bestowed upon friends: Vosges chocolate bars with chipotle and cinnamon. Eureka. And, hurrah.

DEVIL’S DELIGHT COOKIES

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Note: From 2005 winner Michelle Clark of St. Paul.

For dough:
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c. plus 2 tsp. flour
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. plus 1 tbsp. sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (3.3-ounce) chile-infused chocolate bar, chopped
1/2 c. (3 oz.) cinnamon chips
For dusting:
4 tsp. granulated sugar
4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions
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 granulated sugar, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

Drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies 2 inches apart. Sprinkle a pinch of dusting mixture over each cookie. Bake until tops are evenly cracked but cookies are not yet firm to the touch, about 12 to 16 minutes. Remove from oven and cool cookies completely on baking sheets.

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