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Mayan Chocolate Sparklers

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“A friend pointed me to this recipe (which I've changed slightly) on the blog MontCarte that is adapted from a recipe on Under the Highchair. I love recipes involving spiced chocolate. These cookies are absolutely delicious and they smell wonderful while baking. I didn't want to leave the kitchen! The topping gives the cookie a sparkly look and a wonderful crunch accented by a hint of heat from the cayenne pepper. The MontCarte blogger substituted the vegetable shortening with additional unsalted butter, but her cookies were crumbly as a result. I used vegetable shortening and my cookies crumbled very little. I've switched to bread flour in this cookie recipe. I will produce cookies with lasting softness. If that's not something you want, the bread flour can easily be replaced with all-purpose flour. If you plan to serve these to sensitive mouths and tummies, leave out the chili powder and cayenne but keep the black pepper to still achieve the spiced-chocolate taste without the burn. I prefer to use freshly ground black pepper for this recipe to achieve a stronger note in the taste. If you have an audience who's hesitant to spiced chocolate, dub these cookies simply "chocolate cookies" and watch for a reaction. I've seen these cookies win over many a cinnamon-chocolate, pepper-chocolate hater. Yield of this recipe is around 5 dozen and serving size is 2-3 cookies but I usually eat twice that amount in each sitting. The cookies great well with a glass of milk or crumbled over ice cream.”
48-60 cookies

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place rack in center of oven. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat and set aside.
  2. TOPPING: In a small dish, add granulated sugar and cinnamon. Stir until evenly combined. Set aside.
  3. COOKIES: In a large mixing bowl, add shortening, softened butter, both sugars, and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, beat on low-speed for 30 secs until ingredients are combined.
  4. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue to beat at medium-speed until mixture is creamy (1 -2 minutes).
  5. Add one egg to mixture and beat on medium-speed until combined (30 secs). Repeat with second egg.
  6. In a separate mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, and baking soda.
  7. Add black pepper, salt, chili powder, and cayenne pepper to flour mixture and gently stir to combine all ingredients.
  8. Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture (1/2 cup at a time) and beat at low-speed until combined (1 minute) after each addition.
  9. Add half of the chocolate chips to bowl and fold them into the batter. Repeat with remaining chocolate chips.
  10. (Optional) Attempt to roll a small amount (1 tbsp) of batter into a ball. If the batter is too sticky and not cleanly rolling off your hand, chill batter in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes or until desired tackiness is reached.
  11. Roll tablespoons of batter into 1" balls. Do not flatten.
  12. Roll balls of batter through cinnamon and sugar topping until evenly coated.
  13. Place rolled balls on prepared cookie sheets, about 2” apart. Do not flatten.
  14. Bake batches for 7-10 minutes in the preheated oven. Cookie edges will be dry, but centers should still be soft.
  15. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes before attempting to remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  16. TIP: Place a paper towel under the wire rack to catch loose topping.
  17. Store cookies in a counter-top cookie jar for 1 week or in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

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