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 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. 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!

  3. 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! :)

  4. 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 :)

  5. 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. :)

  6. 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

  7. 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!)

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

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  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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!

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