You know that old adage about wanting something you can't have? Well since I arrived in Australia I been cooking Mexican food like it's going out of style. This partly has to do with the fact that M and his roommate practiced Taco Tuesday which inspired me to create something Latin-inspired each week to keep the tradition going and partly because the lack of Mexican ingredients down here makes it a challenge. I determinedly troll the aisles looking for canned black beans (no), chipotle anything (definitely no), queso fresco (absolutely no) and so on.
Last week I was whipping together some Fish Tacos with Lime Coleslaw and Mango Salsa when I decided that I needed something sweet to finish the meal that still captured the Mexican spirit. I've always been quite fond of the cinnamon-scented chocolate used in their sweets and so decided on a shortbread cookie with a few Mexican flavors mixed in.
The recipe, adapted from one which appeared in Gourmet, uses just one bowl and a fork. You'll have them in the oven in no time flat. The shortbread turns out dark, rich with deep yet subtle spice flavors. The cinnamon and cayenne definitely make the cookies something special and were a perfect end to our far away Mexican meal.
For 8 cookies:
- 1/2 cup (125 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon granulated or sanding sugar
Place the butter in a medium bowl along with the superfine sugar, vanilla and sea salt. With a fork, mash it all together until combined. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper together over the butter. Mix together with a spatula until thoroughly combined.
Pat the dough into an 8-inch springform pan. Sprinkle the tablespoon of granulated or sanding sugar evenly over the top. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until firm to the touch and just crisp around the edges. Remove from the oven, unclip the pan and slice the shortbread into 8 wedges. Allow to cool and then transfer to an airtight container. The shortbread will keep for one week.
Adapted from a recipe from Gourmet Magazine.