vegan spicy chocolate snickerdoodles
For the last few weeks, I’ve been baking up a vegan storm in preparation for the first annual English department cookie contest. Each year we have a department lunch the day before classes begin to welcome returning and new faculty and graduate students, and this year, some summertime banter among colleagues led to the addition of the inaugural cookie contest to the department lunch. (Specifically, I insisted that vegan cookies could hold their own against any non-vegan cookie, and the ensuing duel challenge became a department-wide contest.) At my insistence, there was no separate category for vegan cookies, and there were five vegan entries (two of which were mine: the spicy chocolate snickerdoodles and these chocolate chip cookies). Although our office manager’s non-vegan but fabulous ginger-butterscotch confections won the contest, all the vegan cookies were well received and quickly consumed. I’m still counting it a victory for vegan baking, and these spicy chocolate snickerdoodles are a winner in my book.
This recipe is adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles (she also talks you through the recipe in a great video on the recipe page). My only major change to the ingredients is the addition of chili powder, at the suggestion of our office manager (who is also a professional chef with years of experience and who graciously helped me with seasonings in the weeks before the contest). As she put it, “you need the chili powder so people can taste the spice sooner. You don’t want them to bite into the cookie, swallow, then feel the cayenne pepper in their throat and think they’ve been poisoned.” And, she added, chocolate and chili are a time-tested pairing. So I did exactly as she suggested and added a teaspoon of chili powder to the recipe. I also cut the cayenne pepper from half a teaspoon to a fourth of a teaspoon. As promised, it’s just the right blend of immediate spice and after-taste spice.
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