hot chocolate cookies

Yesterday morning, I had an entirely different post planned for you today. It wasn’t about cookies, it wasn’t about Nashville, it wasn’t about the person who likes these cookies most.

But plans change.

chocolate spice cookie

You might remember over a month ago, when I brought you these thin chocolate cookies and ice cream sandwiches, how I mentioned being on the hunt for a crisp chocolate cookie, the kind that was like a cocoa gingersnap, spiced and crisp, sharp and crunchy. What I didn’t tell you then was that it was really Tim who wanted this cookie, Tim who had mentioned it and sent my mind to work.

HOT chocolate cookies

And so it was, last week in Chicago, that I first tried this new recipe, an adaptation of Mexican chocolate cookies I’d found online, while Tim sat in my parents’ dining room working on his computer and I worked in a light-filled kitchen, hoping for crisp, spiced bites of chocolate. That first experiment was such a hit, I made the recipe again Monday, so I could bring them over to Tim’s house before we went to our respective Monday night Bible studies and he made me a chicken sandwich while we talked in his kitchen. They’re just what we (well, he) were after: chocolate cookies with the snap of ginger and hints of cayenne that surprise you.

I made them to try and do something nice for him, but, as is so often the case, I’ll remember them for how they surrounded his doing something nice for me. When I made them in Chicago, so it happens, it was just hours after Tim had sat down for coffee with my dad. When I made them in Nashville, so it seems, it was just one day before Tim sat with me in a park and got down on his knees.

percy warner park

And so it was, yesterday afternoon, that the love of my life—the same man who revolutionized my eating habits, lured me from Chicago to Nashville, became in the course of 15 months the best friend I’ve ever had—asked me, on a blanket beneath trees and alongside a creek, next to a cooler holding a handful of these very cookies, homemade lemonade, rosemary sourdough, avocados, apple slices, cheese, chocolate, bowls of blueberries and oranges, cream and a very important box, to become his wife.

our picnic

my ring

And when he slipped that ring on my finger, as you can imagine, I said yes.

HOT Chocolate Cookies
Recipe adapted from Alice Medrich
Makes about 40 cookies

1 cup whole-grain spelt flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Sucanat (or brown sugar)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons palm sugar (or granulated sugar)
4 tablespoons sweet butter, slightly softened
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Generous pinch of ground black pepper
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Sift the flour, cocoa, soda and salt together in a medium bowl.

Combine the sugars in a small bowl and mix well with fingers pressing out any lumps. (Process in a food processor if lumps are stubborn).

In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter and coconut oil until creamy. Add sugar mixture, cinnamon, peppers, and vanilla. Beat on high speed for about one minute. Beat in egg. Stop the mixer. Add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until incorporated. Gather the dough together with your hands and form it into a neat 9 to 10-inch log*. Wrap in waxed paper. Fold or twist ends of paper without pinching or flatting the log. Chill at least 45 minutes, or until needed.

Place oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven preheat to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Use a sharp knife to slice rounds of chilled dough a scant 1/4-inch thick. Place 1-inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes. Cookies will puff and crackle on top, and then begin to settle down slightly when done. Use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing or stacking. Store in an airtight container up to two weeks, or freeze up to 2 months.

*If you make the log longer and skinnier, you can get smaller cookies, which we like.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 80 Comments

  1. Alexis Zimba-Kirby

    Not going to lie, this post made me choke up a bit. Special memories like this connected with food are what really makes me happy. Congratulations!

  2. Maxine

    This is such wonderful news! Enjoy every moment!

  3. MaryAnn

    I’m so very happy for you! It sounds as if the Lord has led you to just the right man. I expect some great things…I mean recipes, are going to keep coming out of this relationship :-) God bless you both!

  4. Nick

    Congrats Shanna! That’s awesome!

  5. Lisa

    eeeek!!! I’m so excited for you! Congratulations!!

  6. Sara

    Well I certainly thinks this calls for a HUGE congratulations! May your new journey bring you all the happiness in the world.

    Oh, and those cookies look totally delish. I’m gonna try them out! :)

  7. Shawna

    congratulations! may God bless every moment of this exciting time in your lives.

  8. Jacqui

    Tears to my eyes, Shanna. Congrats, again and again. I’m excited for you and what comes next — it’s crazy, and you’ll love it.

  9. kameran

    Congratulations!!! That is wonderful news, a wonderful looking picnic and a beautiful ring! I’d wish you all the best but it seems like you already found him :)

  10. Lindsey

    Congratulations, Shanna! Tim too! God bless you both. <3

  11. Nikki Moore

    I had to come out of lurking and say CONGRATULATIONS! What a wonderful story of memories…and connected with the things that you love. I choked up a bit when I realized what you were saying. I’m so happy for you and wish you all the best. :)

  12. Gemma

    Congratulations! Such wonderful news, I’m very happy for you both.

  13. kate

    I wondered if that ‘BIG ANNOUNCEMENT’ title was a proposal. So happy for the both of you, and for those cookies. They look perfect.

  14. Joanna

    I’m so excited for you both! May God richly bless your engagement and marriage. He is so good to us! YAY!!!! Congratulations to both you and Tim!

  15. Jarrelle

    I think we truly both know that a way to a man’s heart is straight through his stomach!!!! I loved reading this post!! Congrats

  16. Lan

    so very happy for you! congrats to you both.

  17. Rachel

    Sounds like such a perfect proposal! Congratulations! :)

  18. Sarah

    So, so happy for you, Shanna!

  19. Jacqui

    Oh, congratulations! What a lovely way to remember how he proposed.

  20. Mom

    My eyes are filled with tears of joy and my heart with thanksgiving to our wonderful Lord. We feel so blessed and so happy for you and Tim. You two can cook and bake for us anytime! YUM! This is a Passover I will not soon
    forget! My favorite time of the year!!! 1 Corinthians 5:7

  21. Caitlin

    I seriously EEE’d when I saw your note on twitter, and this just makes me even happier for you. You deserve every happiness in the world. (And Tim? Major kudos on the ring – J & I agreed that it’s gorgeous!)

  22. hootenannie

    Sigh. I love your writing. I love your stories. I love the shape that your life is most recently taking. So, so happy for you and Tim, sweet Shanna girl!

  23. Ginger

    Hurray!! So thrilled for you. What a beautiful story for your beautiful heart. Feeling joyful on your behalf!

  24. Wendi

    OK, I knew what the big announcement was and still got teary-eyed reading about it. I am SO happy for you. The ring was stunning far away and is even nicer in the closer shots. I wish you both every joy and happiness.

  25. Kristen

    Congratulations!! Your ring is beautiful and so is your story!!

  26. Amanda Mae

    Congrats to you!! I am so happy for you!

  27. Liz

    Congratulations!!! What a lovely lovely story – and you write about it so beautifully. Plus, those cookies and the ring look amazing….a perfect day!

  28. Evi

    Congratulations!!!!! That is a cute story, and you’ll always remember the cookies. =)

  29. Alicia

    So… it takes a lot to make me cry. You did. After Easter arrives and I can bake again, I WILL be making these cookies and thinking of how happy I am for you.

  30. heather @ chiknpastry

    yay!!!! congrats :).

  31. Susan

    Congratulations! I’m so happy for you!

  32. Rebecca

    Congrats! I just love it when plans change like that!

  33. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

    I love your words and your pics. Your blog is a joy to read. So happy for you!

    1 questions….what could I substitue for the coconut oil?

  34. kc

    Congratulations! I’ve been lurking here for a long, long while now, but had to come out of hiding to send you well wishes.

  35. Marisa

    Oh my! So many congratulations to you! I am just thrilled for you!

  36. Jen

    Congratulations to you! What a wonderful memory you will have about this day and those cookies!

  37. tracy


  38. kickpleat

    Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love a good love story :)

  39. carolyn

    congrats, you two!!!

  40. Sue

    Shame on you for making me cry into my ice cream tonight! Love your story. And it’s just the beginning!!!

  41. Jeannie

    YAY!!! Oh, I’m so happy for you. I knew this was coming soon (; I’m praying for both of you, that you would grow closer to the Lord together and receive a deeper understanding of the relationship between Christ and the Church through this new season in life. Congratulations, Shanna and Tim!

  42. Maddie

    Eek—congratulations, Shanna! I’m doing a little dance here. :) You deserve all the happiness in the world, and it sounds like that’s exactly what Tim’s given you. May the happiness continue for the rest of your lives!

  43. Kasey

    How incredibly romantic! Congrats, Shannalee! So happy for you. I have so enjoyed reading your story :)

  44. Megan Gordon

    Chills. Congratulations, my friend! I’m so, so happy for you. Such great news!

  45. Angela@spinachtiger

    Having met Tim, (I still need his help, btw), I can only say, you are one blessed woman. Now I must meet you because I know he is one blessed man. So totally happy for you and him. I’ll email you. You must meet me at zumba downtown sometime and we can go to Turnip Truck for lunch.

  46. Beba Schlottmann


  47. wandering educators

    wow! janna & tim – congratulations! i am so happy for you – and smiling, yes, because it’s a happy food time, too. best wishes!

  48. Tanya Griffin

    Congratulations Shanna! It is awesome to see how God works. I am so excited for you and Tim. I will spread the good news at Bible Study on Monday night. God Bless. Tanya

  49. Elle Hyson

    Congratulations to both of you – may you have a long and happy life together – what a wonderful way to propose!

  50. Shannalee

    Well, I know it’s uncharacteristic of me to do a general response, but wow, you’ve overwhelmed me with your comments here. Thank you all so much!

    Lisa – To answer your question about substitutions, you could use butter.

  51. Anne Zimmerman

    Love it! I just got engaged too. It’s big! And dreamy and fun. Enjoy.

  52. lo

    How lovely. DH would be very impressed with the choice of cookies for this extraordinary day. :) Congrats to the both of you!

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  54. olga

    what a lovely post and news!! many congratulations and lots of good wishes!! yay for lovely proposals!

  55. TJ

    CONGRATULATIONS and all the best!!! I have a smile on my face THIS big!!!

  56. sara

    horray! congrats! It’s going to be the best adventure you’ll ever go on. Soak it up.

  57. Sarah C

    I’m so excited for you two! Congratulations – what a wonderful post! Beautifully written as always and so touching. I love the way you intertwine personal life with your food writings. God bless you!

  58. julie

    I read this out loud to “my tim” đŸ˜‰ and we both so enjoyed hearing your love story! We are thrilled for you guys! May God continue to bless you richly :)

  59. Emily

    Congratulations! (and tell Tim – ace job on the ring choice ;))

    PS – the cookies look fabulous!

  60. molly

    well, HOT DOG!!!

    congratulations, you two. i love it when good things happen to good people.

  61. g.

    the biggest congratulations to you both!! wishing you all the happiness in the world….

  62. Alison

    Congratulations, Shanna! I am so happy for you!

  63. hannah

    shanna, congrats again on the engagement! how exciting!

    these cookies look right up my alley. i think i’ll have to try them out soon!

  64. Kim

    Oh goodness, Shanna, you just about had me in tears. I’m so very happy for you, and that ring is out-of-your-mind gorgeous! xoxo

  65. Happyolks

    How have I not written you sooner?! Congratulations Shannalee! These cookies have so much love surrounding them, I just know they will bring the ones I bake them for good energy now. I am so happy for you! Again, Congrats!

  66. Amaranthian

    Oh my gosh, congratulations!! I love proposals, they always make me misty. And a chocolate cookie, too? This post is just too much! =D

  67. Antonietta

    Congratulations and Blessings to you both!!

  68. Maria

    How on earth did I miss this! Congratulations, Shanna and Tim. How positively lovely – I am grinning ear to ear.

  69. Jess

    Oh, Shannalee, what wonderful news! I’m thrilled to pieces for you and for Tim (that lucky, lucky man). Sending big hugs your way.

  70. Well Heeled Blog

    Belated, but big congratulations! That ring is lovely and you sound so happy. :)

  71. Wandering Chopsticks

    Aww. Congratulations!

  72. sarah kate branine

    it has been way, way too long since I have checked in here–and I am so glad that I did………

    many, many congratulations to you! I am so thrilled to hear your good news!

  73. Mr Food

    Awww. Congratulations to you both.

    Loving the chocolate cookie too. : )

    Mr and Mrs Food

  74. Alejandra

    OH MY GOSH! How did I totally miss this. Congratulations. SO very happy for you. Wishing you a lifetime of love.

  75. Niki

    Gosh, I am so behind on the times!!! That’s what happens when you let work consume you though, huh?

    Congratulations sweetie!!! I know I’m behind on the times, but hey, it’s always fun to be reminded of a great event, right? I am so happy for you!

  76. Rene

    Congratulations! Although its my first time here, couldn’t leave without wishing you all the happiness in the world :)

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