Sunday, June 17, 2018
Cooking

On the fifth day of Christmas Cookies: Mexican Hot-Chocolate Balls

These cookies had me at first bite.

We first tested Mexican Hot-Chocolate Balls in 2009 and they've been on our hit parade ever since.

Mexican Hot-Chocolate Balls are another variation of the snowball, just like the Pistachio & Cranberry Snowballs, which we featured on day 3 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies. Rather than being rolled in white confectioners' sugar, the Hot-Chocolate Balls get an extra dose of chocolate from a dusting of cocoa powder.

It is uncanny how much they taste like Mexican hot chocolate. Rather than the traditional milk, serve them with a cup of strong coffee. Coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate.

I've made these several times, once adding a healthy pinch of cayenne pepper to the dough. This adds another flavor dimension.

Mexican Hot-Chocolate Balls freeze beautifully after they are cooled completely. After they thaw, freshen with another sprinkling of cocoa powder.

Mexican Hot-Chocolate Balls

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, divided use

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided use

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided use

1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa powder and vanilla until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer; stir in the remaining flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and pecans.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

Combine remaining 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Roll cooled cookies in the sugar mixture.

Makes 4 dozen.

Freezeworthy: Yes, but cool completely first.

Submitted by Linda Spurgus, New Port Richey

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