This recipe produces cookies and pecans that have a noticeable, but not overwhelming, heat. If you’re comfortable with medium-heat salsas, these will probably be perfect for you. If you like less spice, feel free to decrease the cayenne by half, and if you like more, increase it by a bit to really feel the burn! I like making these sandwiches with cinnamon ice cream, but coffee or chocolate ice cream would also be delicious.
Author: Elizabeth LaBau
- 4 oz unsalted butter, cubed
- 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 7½ oz (1 cup) packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4¼ oz (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- 1 oz (1/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
- ½ cup miniature chocolate chips (can substitute finely chopped chocolate)
For the Spicy Candied Pecans:
- 2 cups pecan pieces or halves
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1.5 tbsp real maple syrup
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
- 1 quart ice cream, flavor of choice
To Make the Spicy Chocolate Cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F, and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the butter and semi-sweet chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after every 30 seconds, just until the butter and chocolate melt. Stir until smooth, then set aside for a few minutes to allow the chocolate/butter to cool to lukewarm.
- Add the brown sugar and whisk it in. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. After the last egg is added, keep whisking until the mixture becomes smooth and shiny, like chocolate pudding. This might take 1-2 minutes of steady whisking. Add the vanilla and whisk it in.
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir them together with a spatula. Finally, add the mini chocolate chips and stir them in.
- Scoop large spoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheet. You should get about 24 cookies from this batch. Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes at 350 F, until the outside is puffed and shiny, but the center is still soft. Cool the cookies completely before assembling the ice cream sandwiches.
To Make the Spicy Candied Pecans:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the pecans on the baking sheet and toast them in the oven until dark and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir every 3 or 4 minutes.
- While the pecans are toasting, prepare the coating mixture. Microwave the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl until melted. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne.
- Once the pecans are fragrant, remove them from the oven and pour the hot nuts into the coating mixture. (Be careful as it might splutter and hiss.) Stir until the nuts are evenly coated, and pour them back onto the foil-lined baking sheet and spread them in an even layer.
- Bake for another 10 minutes, stirring after every 3-4 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the nuts from the oven and allow them to cool and crisp up on the baking sheet.
To Assemble the Sandwiches:
- Coarsely chop 1 cup of spicy pecans. Let the ice cream sit at room temperature for 5 minutes, just until it starts to soften slightly. Place 1 scoop of ice cream on top of a cookie, and top it with a second cookie. Press down slightly so the ice cream is squished to the edges of the cookie. Take a handful of chopped nuts and press them into the sides of the ice cream. Serve immediately.