It’s cold outside. It’s cold in Normandy, it’s cold in Paris. This time of year, warming up is of capital importance, and something that occupies a large portion of my day. What better way to do so than with a quick browsing session in one of Paris’ famous (and hidden) passages*. I am lucky enough to work in an area of Paris where these gems are abundant. From the Passage des Panoramas, full of restaurants and excellent window shopping, to the Passage Brady, home to a handful of Indian restaurants to the Passage du Grand Cerf, full of chic boutiques and antiques. Located just east of the famed Montorgueil pedestrian neighborhood, the latter is a great place to wander and admire the fresh flowers, the red carpet, the antique stools and desks, the artisanal soaps…
The passageway becomes even more charming around the holidays, decked out with soft, discreet white lights and suspended sapins*. Not to mention the fact that it’s nice and warm in there, and can help you easily join the rue Montorgueil from the rue Turbigo or Saint Denis. Stop in next time you’re in the neighborhood!
Once you make it through the Passage du Grand Cerf, you have one of two options: stop in for a fresh, personalized and gourmet hot chocolate at L’atelier du Chocolat on the rue Montorgueil, or head home right away and make fabulous, spicy hot cocoa cookies. Or do both, it’s your call.
I first read about these cookies months ago and bookmarked the recipe. I was home alone one day last week and needed to satisfy my baking fix and my sweet tooth. I scanned the cupboard and fridge for ingredients, and finally settled on something chocolatey. And something warm. And spicy. And perfect for a cold winter day. These cookies are perfect: moist and crunchy at the same time, chocolatey and spicy, melt in your mouth, warm you up, perfect.
Spicy hot cocoa cookies from Honest Fare
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup karo syrup
3 tablespoons milk
¾ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
In a large bowl, mix the oil, sugar, syrup, milk and vanilla extract. Sift in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. In a separate dish, stir together the sugar, cinnamon and cayenne pepper for the cookie toppings.
Form dough into small balls, then flatten slightly in your hands. Drop one side of each cookie into the sugar spice mix, and then place the cookie, sugar/spice side up, on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake about 8-10 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your cookies. They will continue to harden and cook as you take them out of the oven, so remove early if you want them to stay nice and soft on the inside. Eat warm, with a nice, tall glass of milk.