Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke
3 dozen cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)

Category finalist: Desserts

"The inspiration for these sinfully rich-tasting cookies combines my obsession with shortbread, dulce de leche, and a restaurant cream cheese dessert." –Jennifer Brumfield, Bellingham, Wash.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 325°.

Step 2

To prepare cookies, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, and next 4 ingredients (through ancho chile powder) in a bowl; stir with a whisk.

Step 3

Place 1/2 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add oil; beat 3 minutes or until well blended. Gradually add 3/4 cup powdered sugar; beat well. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed until well blended. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

Step 4

Shape dough into 36 balls. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten cookies to 1/4 inch thickness. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes. Cool 1 minute on baking sheet. Remove from baking sheet to a wire rack; cool completely.

Step 5

To prepare icing, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and milk; cook 1 minute or until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Step 6

To prepare nuts, combine 1 teaspoon brown sugar, sea salt, and 1 teaspoon butter in a medium bowl. Arrange pecans on a baking sheet. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes or until toasted. Add hot pecans to butter mixture, tossing well to coat. Cool.

Step 7

Spread 1 teaspoon icing over each cookie; top each with 1 pecan half.

Ratings & Reviews

Pretty good

August 26, 2016
I made these and they turned out good. I took them to work and they were a hit. I read the other reviews so I used less milk. 3 Tablespoons oughta do it. I didn't even bother with the nuts. And I only had the chipotle powder so I doubled it. Shortbread cookies are different to work with than sugar cookies, and I think that's why some folks had a hard time. I think the easiest thing would be to quickly space out about 22 balls on the pan (not as many as the recipe says) before the dough starts to warm up, and then go back and mash them a little flatter. And they don't need to cook 20 minutes. That's too long.

RobertYost1's Review

December 10, 2013

mary46topeka's Review

December 18, 2012
very disappointed, mine turned out a greasy mess. They were so fragile they broke just removing from pan, even after cooling.

redrockvista's Review

January 02, 2012
I love these cookies, made one batch at Christmas and everyone loved them. I made a second with some minor changes, I rolled the dough in a log shape in plastic wrap and when I was ready to bake them I simply sliced them up much easier than making balls and flattening. The second batch is already half gone, I never got the icing or pecans on them. I also increased the amount of chile in mine and I used dark cocoa powder, I love spicy chocolate.

lagartija's Review

December 11, 2011

mekins's Review

June 05, 2011
Too much chocolate for my taste.

mabak35's Review

June 02, 2011
I followed the recipe. No changes. Everyone loved them. The salty/sweet toasted pecans were a great touch. I've made them twice and will definitely make them again. And again.

jhauenst's Review

March 22, 2011
These are phenomenal. One of my very top cooking recipes and incredibly addicting. My sister found the recipe and now the whole family is making them regularly. I loved the flavor combination with the chili, chocolate, caramel and salty pecan. It was to die for! The frosting is tricky to make, be careful not to overcook it or burn it with too high of heat. The pecans are very salty but it's easy to cut down on the salt.

DanaSam's Review

January 01, 2011
These are sure to use Mexican chocolate, such as Taza. My family enjoyed the added spice and this is a great cookie to add to the standard holiday cookie plate.

kseehafer's Review

December 26, 2010
This is far too labor intensive for an every-day cookie, but for a special event it would be worth it. It is a true shortbread, and therefore very delicate; I might prefer an actual cookie. The spices I find very subtle and not overpowering at all. I also used all butter, one half the milk, and half the salt for the nuts. I don't think I'd want to make the recipe as written. Seeing some of the other comments here, I have to ask if this recipe was actually tested before publication.