Halloween Chocolate Fire Cookies

Happy Halloween! This was the first year since 2011, when I created a deadmau5 head, that I decided to get into the holiday. This was largely in part because I had an event to go to in costume with enough advanced notice to prepare. Naturally, this event was at the rock climbing gym. Being known there for my cookie sharing, I thought it would be clever to somehow incorporate cookies into my costume, which was none other than Carmen Sandiego. If you’re not familiar, she is a video game villain of the 90’s who stole world treasures and monuments. The player’s goal was to catch her with impossible-for-10-year-old-me clues about the country she was hiding in. Her popular tagline is “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?”

It was a simple costume to put together with a bit of  Amazon searching, and it had the added bonus that I shared the character’s name. But how to make it interesting? Since Carmen’s game was world travel, why not get a world map tote and fill it with country facts? Because that’s lame…so were born cookie countries! Each cookie was individually wrapped and labeled with a country, its location, population, and a fun fact. Hello, best interactive costume award…free cookies usually are a hit around there. But as it was Halloween, I thought I would switch it up to go with the trick or treatedness of the holiday. I decided to add some *cayenne pepper* to the chocolate cookies I made for the occasion. I wasn’t expecting the pepper to go over as well as it did (this is not to say I wanted people to dislike them!). It takes at least 7 seconds for the heat to kick in, so first impressions would likely be positive and without heat detection. However, to my amazement, friends and strangers were pleasantly surprised by the late kick, and I was impressed. Growing up in a West African household, I was subjected to dishes engulfed in the flames of Scotch bonnets and other healthily fiery spices, so I would say that my tolerance for heat is higher than that of the average American. After sampling the cookies, I became concerned for my climbing comrades and their palates. Turns out there was nothing to be afraid of. On top of that, the cookies passed the melt-in-your-mouth test, and people learned stuff! Just trying to keep the people fed and woke, you know?

Committed to the craft. Countries included: Suriname, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste
I ended up painting a tote bag since I have so many that I don’t use anyway


I firmly believe that it was thanks to cinnamon that the enjoyable flavor of the cookie was not compromised
Velvety smooth before dry ingredients (above) get added

Chocolate Fire Cookies
yields around 45 cookies

1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup Nutella
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Sift or whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Add the Nutella, vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Gradually at the dry ingredients until just barely incorporated, then add the chocolate chips. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Drop scant tablespoons of dough (they will spread) onto baking sheets and bake at 350° for 8-9 minutes, or until the cookies edges bounce back when you poke.


Whether you decide to warn your subjects about your cookies packing heat or let them discover on their own, this easy dessert is a fun party trick and party treat. Enjoy the reactions and have safe festivities!

Halloweekend (#1): DIY Dinner

 A fine meal. Ghetto? Noo, resourceful…
Happy Halloween! Despite the diminutive “kitchen” in my dorm, and deficient collection of appropriate cooking tools, I am not always discouraged from making/helping make a meal for myself and friends. Really anything is better than cooked broccoli and soft beef tacos from the dining hall. This past weekend Rebecca, Tommy, Wei En and I got together at Shyla’s apartment to make dinner. Definitely on the top 10 list of potluck dinner-making events…if I had more than 10 occasions to rank. Rebecca started us off with tubed (tubed? already processed, perhaps) polenta. I’m still relatively unfamiliar with the dish as it was the first time that I know of that I had it. Rebecca put some balsamic vinegar on the pieces and finished them off with some goat cheese and craisins. She also made a salad with raspberries, homemade dressing and more of the craisin-cheese topping. Then Tommy made this baked brie dish thing covering a block of brie in a brandy and brown sugar glaze. Toasted some appropriately French bread to ingest with; what a concept. There was pasta…I was “cooking” it, though no one seemed to trust my see-if-the-pasta’s-soft-or-not skills…-_____- Red sauce and pesto were made for the pasta. The one thing they apparently did trust me in (and rightly so mwahaha!) was dessert. Dessert would definitely be my area of expertise…not that I can’t produce an exceptional pan-cooked lamb kebab dinner, either 😛 Aanyway…appreciating the season and preferring health over grease and simplicity over effort (or so I thought…oops), I made a satisfyingly sweet finale. I have to credit Tumblr for this brilliant idea of apple donuts which were legen-wait for it….dary! You slice apples horizontally and core them to cover them in peanut butter, and top them off with chocolate chips, raisins, dates, sliced almonds, or whatever your heart desires. So no, there were no real donuts involved. And of course you can use whatever spread as well, like NUTELLA! My budget did not make space for such luxuries, but next time…definitely next time…
Hard(er) at work
Rebecca & her polenta
This will be happening again…
Brie in the making
My masterpieces – don’t be fooled: harder than they look!