Sunday, April 12, 2009

April 4, 2009: Chocolate Mexican wedding biscuits

While Michael thoroughly covered the savoury side, I prepared a dessert for the Tex Mex potluck. If is anything to go by, many Mexican desserts involve custard and/or dulce de leche (a milk-based caramel) and don't lend themselves to straightforward veganising (though it's by no means impossible!). Mexican wedding cookies, however, don't require eggs and I was particularly taken by this chocolate version. Chocolate's not the only ingredient that reeled me in - I also liked the use of cinnamon and ground pecans. I made my own mark on them by adding a generous pinch of cardamom and some chilli powder.

These didn't turn out quite as I expected but were still pleasant enough. Lazy ol' me tried putting the chocolate in the food processor rather than grating it, and most of the chocolate remained as separate speckles rather than disintegrating into the cookies. The spices made little impression at all. My biscuits turned out to be one of three Mexican wedding cookie submissions to the potluck (the others being traditional and raw renditions, respectively), yet most of them were happily eaten. Dessert didn't stop there, either - there were also churros with chocolate, chocolate-chilli and margarita cupcakes, and a piñata bursting with candy.

Chocolate Mexican wedding cookies
(inspired by a recipe from

1 cup Nuttelex
1/3 cup icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1 cup ground pecans
1/2 cup chocolate, grated (I used dark 80% cocoa and chucked it in the food processor)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
generous pinch of cardamom
scant pinch of chilli powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup icing sugar, extra
1/4 cup grated chocolate, extra

Using an electric mixer, cream together the Nuttelex and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl stir together the flour, ground pecans, grated chocolate, cinnamon, cardamom, chilli powder and salt.

Gradually beat the dry ingredients into the Nuttelex mixture, a few large spoonfuls at a time. Once everything's combined, it shouldn't be too difficult to scoop the dough together into a ball using a spatula. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour, preferably two.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC, and line a baking tray (or two) with baking paper. In a small bowl, stir together the extra icing sugar and chocolate.

Pinch and roll the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter and place them on the baking tray. Bake the biscuits for 15-18 minutes, until firm to touch. Give them a minute or two to cool, then dredge them through the sugar/chocolate mixture before cooling them properly on a rack.

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