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These Mexican Chocolate Shortbread Cookies are the perfect addition to your holiday baking ritual! Buttery shortbread with cinnamon, a touch of cayenne pepper for just a hint of spice, creamy chocolate chips and toasted almonds, all topped with a light sprinkle of powdered sugar just melts in your mouth – this is one of the best shortbread cookies ever!
These melt-in-your-mouth chocolate shortbread cookies are AWESOME guys. I mean, they seriously melt in your mouth. And the toasted almond….oh those delicious toasted almonds….they complement the chocolate and cinnamon perfectly.
And with that just barely a touch of heat and a healthy amount of cinnamon, these Mexican chocolate cookies are the BEST. This is a Christmas cookie that needs to be added Christmas cookie making cycle.
What is Mexican chocolate?
Real Mexican chocolate is made with ground up cacao beans, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. For this recipe, we combine cinnamon, vanilla and sugar with cocoa powder and chocolate chips to get a similar flavor.
So guys….you need to make these cookies this holiday season. Just sayin’.
The Ingredients for Mexican Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
Ingredients should be easy to find at your local market, or buy them through the below Amazon affiliate links (I earn a small commission to pay to keep this site running if you buy through these links – and for my 3 failed attempts at making these cookies!!):
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Cayenne pepper
- Cocoa powder
- Chocolate chips
Can you make shortbread cookies with margarine?
I don’t recommend using margarine for these chocolate shortbread cookies. It makes the dough stickier and more difficult to work with. It also changes the texture of the cookie, making it less tender. In addition, the flavor is not as good as butter.
How to Make Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
***Note these cookies have a 3 hour chill time before they are ready to bake***
In a large bowl, cream the butter and powdered sugar. Beat for 1-2 minutes. Add vanilla and beat another minute.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and cocoa powder. Mix well to combine. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients. Don’t over-mix, batter should have a few flour streaks throughout.
Gently fold in the almonds and chocolate chips. Again, don’t over-mix. Over-mixing can cause your cookies to be more tough. We don”t want that for these cookies. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1-3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1-1 1/2″ balls and place 1-2″ apart on the baking sheet. **For extra flavor, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a touch of coarse sea salt before baking. I LOVE a little sprinkle of sea salt.
Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Then gently remove cookies and place on a wire rack to finish cooling. Dust them with powdered sugar before they are fully cooled.
Why did my shortbread cookies spread?
There could be a number of reasons, but the #1 reason is not letting the butter chill for long enough. If you don’t refrigerate the dough per the instructions before baking, your cookies will spread. Also, using a hot cookie sheet to place the cookies on before baking can cause spreading, as well as an oven that has not been properly reheated. Tips for keeping your cookies from spreading:
- Always chill the dough thoroughly. For this recipe, that is 3 hours or overnight.
- Use a parchment paper lined baking sheet instead of a greased baking sheet.
- Handle the dough as little as possible. After making the dough balls, it may help to pop them back in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to let them chill a little before baking.
- Always use a cool baking sheet to place the cookies on. If you are cooking multiple batches of cookies, use separate baking sheets.
- Make sure you let the oven preheat properly. Cooking in a an oven that is too cool just gives the cookies longer to spread.
- Ensure you are using enough flour – not enough flour will cause the cookies to spread.
Can shortbread cookies be made ahead?
You can make the dough ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can store the dough in a bowl, or form it into balls and store on a baking sheet in the fridge. I prefer to make them into balls if I’m making them ahead so all I have to do is pop them in the oven.
How long do shortbread cookies last?
You can store these chocolate shortbread cookies in an airtight container on the counter for about one week. They can also be frozen (see instructions below).
Can I freeze shortbread cookies?
These chocolate shortbread cookies can be frozen before or after baking. To freeze before, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe bag. Store for up to 3 months. To bake, thaw in the fridge overnight, then follow the recipe baking instructions.
To freeze the cookies after baking, place on a baking sheet in one layer and set directly in the freezer until frozen through, about 2-3 hours. Once frozen, pace in an airtight freezer bag and store for up to 3 months. To thaw, place them on the counter overnight to let let them defrost and come to room temperature.
Tools used to make these Mexican chocolate cookies
More Christmas Cookies to add to your collection!!
Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
White Chocolate Cranberry Sugar Cookies
Classic Mexican Wedding Balls
Salted Toffee Peanut Butter Fudge
Soft and Chewy S’mores Cookies
Gooey Pecan Pie Bars
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Balls
Did you make these Mexican Chocolate Shortbread cookies? Rate the recipe and leave me a comment to let me know how they turned out!
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars on medium high until combined, 1-2 minutes.
- Add vanilla and egg and beat another minute.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, chili powder and cocoa powder. Mix well to combine.
- Mix together the wet and dry ingredients. Don't over-mix, batter should have a few flour streaks throughout.
- Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the marshmallows into thirds.
- Roll the dough into 1-1 1/2" balls up and around each marshmallow piece and place 2" apart on the baking sheet. (see photos in post above for illustration)
- Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Then gently remove cookies and place on a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Don't overmix the dough or the cookies will be tough. It's ok if there are a couple streaks of flour throughout.
- If the dough is too sticky when rolling the balls, chill it for an additional 30-60 minutes to firm it up.
- You can substitute mini marshmallows and roll 2-3 up in the dough balls.
- You can eliminate the chili powder if you'd prefer not to have any spice.
- Mix in toasted almonds or pecans if desired in place of 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
- To freeze the cookie dough before baking, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe bag. Store for up to 3 months. To bake, thaw in the fridge overnight, then follow the recipe baking instructions.
- To freeze the cookies after baking, place on a baking sheet in one layer and set directly in the freezer until frozen through, about 2-3 hours. Once frozen, pace in an airtight freezer bag and store for up to 3 months. To thaw, place them on the counter overnight to let let them defrost and come to room temperature.
Did you make these chocolate butter cookies? Follow me on Instagram, post a photo and tag @wenthere8this or #wenthere8this. I love to see what you’re making!