[Photographs: Elizabeth Barbone]

A friend recently made me a mug of spicy hot chocolate. It was so tasty that a few days later, I was craving the flavor all over again. That's when I decided to recreate the spicy hot chocolate in cookie form.

My chili powder blend in the cupboard contained garlic powder and oregano, and since I didn't want those two flavors in my chocolate cookies, I settled on ground chipotle. Its smokiness seemed a natural companion to the bitterness of cocoa powder. And it totally worked. The chipotle adds a pleasant warmth to the cookies but doesn't overwhelm them with aggressive spiciness. In fact, at first you don't taste the chipotle at all. After a few bites, however, a mild heat spreads down the back of your throat.

It's this spicy-warmth that I find so addicting in chocolate desserts. If you prefer a really spicy cookie, increase the chipotle powder to one teaspoon. If you aren't craving spice in your chocolate cookie, simply omit the chipotle. With or without spice, these crispy chocolate cookies, like a mug of hot chocolate, are a welcome addition to a cold winter day.

About the author: Elizabeth Barbone of GlutenFreeBaking.com joins us every Tuesday with a new gluten-free recipe. Elizabeth is an alumna of the Culinary Institute of America and Mount Mary College. With her solid professional baking background, Elizabeth is known for creating gluten-free recipes that taste just like their wheat counterparts. She is the author of Easy Gluten-Free Baking.

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