Chocolate and Chili . . . Oh My!

So i have been trying to brighten up the nastiness that is LA’s june gloom by baking . . . but i don’t bake . . . but i’m trying to bake! The gray weather has me craving all things sweet and spicy and naturally i thought hey why not kill two birds with one stone (never do that in real life kiddies!) and make sweet and spicy cookies . . . . mmmmm chocolate and chili! u can’t go wrong . . .right?!?! after countless hours slaving away in a hot kitchen i finally got the recipe right! I was so excited about the deliciousness that came out of my oven that i facebook statused it . . . will someone come up with a verb for that soon . . . please?!?!

lovers & haters

lovers & haters

To my surprise not everyone was knocking down my door to get at these cookies, in fact i had some reactions that were quite the opposite . . . what?!?! The thing that struck me as odd tho was that the ewwww responses were from my chicano friends . . . ummm mole anyone??? The chocolate and chili combination goes back ages . . . so long story short the below u will find a history of this oh-so delicious flavor combination along with with a recipe for the yummiest of yummy double chocolate chip and chili cookies.

Chocolate hearts Chili

Ecuadorian Cocoa Farmer

Ecuadorian Cocoa Farmer

The amazingness that is known as chocolate comes from the Cocoa Plant . . . native to South and Central America the earliest traceable history of this oh so delicious creation is found in  Puerto Escondido, Honduras.  Bottles with traces of cocao residue can be dated back to around 1100 BC at this site.  Cocao residue was also found in jars from Belize that date to approximately 600-400 BC.  While there are many theories on the history of the word chocolate one major thought is that it is a mashup of words used by the Maya and the Aztec.  Some trace the word back to the Yucatec Maya word “chokol” meaning hot, and the Nahuatl “atl” meaning water, as originally chocolate was consumed in the form of an alcoholic drink as well as a hot drink with spices added to it.

Chili in Mesoamerica (central america and its surroundings) was grown as a foodPicture 6 crop as early as about 4000 BC2, although the wild varieties of chili in Mexico were gathered much earlier, dating to at least 7200 BC3.  Mesoamericans used chili in everything . . . It appears that nothing was eaten without chili. . . inother words it was the player player of all spices. Chilies were used fresh, dried, smoked or roasted and were added to food whole, chopped or ground—much as they are used today. Chocolate and chili were a favorite flavor combination among the Mesoamericans.

The chocolate chili connection is an Aztec concoction.  Aztecs associated chocolate with Xochiquetzal, the goddess of fertility. Chocolate was consumed in a bitter, spicy drink called xocolātl, often seasoned with vanilla, chile pepper, and achiote (aka annatto). Xocolātl was believed to fight fatigue, a belief that is probably attributable to the theobromine (a chemical similar to caffeine) content.  Who said chocolate wasn’t good for you??? And chocolate with a kick . . . insta party!

While this combination may make u smile from ear to ear the production of chocolate has a long and sordid history. Chocolate is now produced in Central and South America as well as many areas of Africa.  wftd_postcards_chocolate_hi_res_largeIssues surrounding chocolate range from slave labor, child labor and environmental destruction. Much of what is produced on a cocoa farm goes straight to big business . . . leaving the hard working local farmers with little to show for their work.  Fair trade and locally owned and produced chocolate is becoming more available and is a great way to make ur mouth happy while supporting local farmers.  Check out the Kallari Cooperative, based in Ecuador this group of families now farms, harvests, produces and distributes their own chocolate! Check out this list of fair trade chocolate before you get that next chocolate craving!

So there kiddies . . . ur history lesson for the day courtesy of wikepedia.  If ur are now in dire need of trying this most amazing flavor combination check out the comida page for the Double Chocolate Chip and Chili cookie recipe!

Double Chocolate Chip and Chili Cookies . . . Oh-so-good . . . yet so   dangerous! doubl choc chili cookiesGottsta give a shout out to my lil sis for being my inspiration on these . . . she sent me a vegan recipe, which i promptly made un-vegan & sooooo much better (heee heee sorry sis!).  This recipe makes about 16 cookies, for a lotta kick follow the recipe, for the meek of heart cut the ammount of chili and cinnamon in half (for the math phobic that makes it 1/4 tsp each).  Monster em! PS . . . this was my first ever attempt at food photography, be nice! suggestions alwayz welcome!doubl choc and chilli cookies

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5 Comments

Filed under My Musings

5 responses to “Chocolate and Chili . . . Oh My!

  1. Nisha

    Hey wiener

    i loooooved those cookies! and pooh to those that do not understand! chile and chocolate is not as far fetched a combo as people think. Let us take a look at ancient and contemporary Mexico for that one. Mole Poblano, anyone? and to this day, in the South of Mexico (Oaxaca and Chiapas) they lace their chocolatito with chile – maybe not everytime, but they do!!

  2. Nisha

    o you know what? i swear to gawd i did not finish reading the article before i put the previous comment in, hehe – funny i also said, “mole anyone” but i specified mole poblano cos that is the spicy one. but yes – it is very true that the combo goes back a looong time.

  3. Karyn

    Years after visiting Oaxaca…I placed chili powder into my hot chocolate especially during the cold New York winters. Delish! Love the post…

  4. ltlmscurlz

    Here are some cookie makin tips from ledette …

    - Make sure the butter is at room temp but not too soft – you can leave a deep thumbprint in it and it doesn’t feel too hard when you are doing it.

    1. First beat together sugar and butter. But just until well incorporated, not until creamy.
    2. Add eggs/ vanilla on slow until incorporated
    3 Add flour on slow and do not overbeat, once again just until incorporated. You can throw it in all at once, or in two batches (3 leads to too much overbeating which makes for a tougher cookie – and cake!)
    4. I leave my cookie doughs in the fridge overnight. I also refrigerate them again for at least 30 minutes after I’ve scooped them so they go in the oven as cold as possible.
    5. pull cookies out of oven while they are still a bit soft in the middle (not raw, just a bit soft to the touch), they’ll keep baking for a bit after you pull them out.

  5. patricia torres

    these made it onto my fam’s official holiday dinner menu! along with some chocoloate chile bohemia ice cream and hot chocolate, with chile! thanks for the inspiration…will let u know how this batch turns out with the addition of the cookie makin tips :)

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