Tag mexican chocolate

Chicago Chefs Heat Up Corporate Kitchen Challenge

Silly faces loosen up this cooking competitionIt’s time for a recap from our much loved Chicago team! We’re giving you the inside scoop on Channel Prime Alliance‘s corporate team building event last month. Centered Chef, one of our favorite downtown Chicago venues, created the perfect scene for this Kitchen Challenge. Tense beginnings quickly transitioned to a friendly, though competitive, atmosphere. As usual, the group quickly warmed up as they signed their name tags with goofy, made-up names, and helped themselves to appetizers and drinks at the open bar. A great sign of things to come!

To get things started, the Lead Chef went over some basic cooking techniques and terminology. The group listened intently and mentally prepared for battle the meal they were about to cook. It was clear this group had a sense of humor — their favorite part of the demo was the protocol of yelling, “Hot behind!” when traveling with a hot object or opening the oven. And the jokes were just getting started!

Our guests were then split into teams, and the brainstorming and meal-planning began. Channel Prime’s event host, Abbie, later reported, “The appetizers were very tasty and the pantry was well stocked. I liked how the more difficult portion of the dessert recipe was already done, so we were set up for success!”

What they cooked:
Chicken Breast
Orzo Pasta
Mexican Chocolate Soufflé

Professional level plating!

Professional level plating!

Using the ingredients available, teams went in wildly different directions for their main courses, making for an exciting and delicious competition! Abbie added, “I loved how much all of our guests enjoyed it! The friendly competition went over great and everyone had an awesome time!” This breaking of boundaries illustrates why our corporate cooking parties are so successful. Removal of comfort zones, mixed with a bit of food, is the quickest way to find new ways to work together. BIG thanks to Abbie and her group from Channel Prime Alliance. We really enjoyed working partying cooking with you, and thought your group was energetic and made an awesome team for the event! Every guest is a chef, after all.

Parties That Cook Gives Santa Something New with Mexican Chocolate Chipotle Cookies

This week’s blog is dedicated to our favorite Gleekster, Brittany S. Pierce, who brings being blonde to a whole new (hilarious) level. Up until a couple of weeks ago, she still believed in Santa Claus! Now we can’t just let this holiday season slip by without giving you a new cookie to leave for the big guy. If you would rather not leave a plate out at night, feel free to give some of these scrumptious Mexican Chocolate Chipotle Cookies to your Secret Santa, that guy in the red suit at the mall, heck, even I WILL TAKE THEM! The spice in these cookies is not overwhelming –just enough of a kick to keep Santa on track for the rest of the night!

Mexican Chocolate Chipotle Cookies
This recipe can also be found in our Holiday Recipes Section!


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper (can sub. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne or smoked paprika)
6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar crystals or can substitute granulated sugar
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Prepare Baking Sheet: Cut out parchment sheet to exactly fit the baking sheet.

Sift dry ingredients: In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, black pepper and chipotle pepper.

Cream Butter:
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until incorporated (but don’t over mix).

Shape Dough: Shape the dough into a 12-inch log and wrap in parchment or plastic wrap. Put dough in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm the dough.
Put sugar crystals in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Roll the dough log in the sugar, pressing the sugar into the dough to coat the log evenly and thoroughly.

Make Cookies:
Cut the log into slices ½-inch thick and bake on parchment-lined baking sheets until the cookies are no longer soft to the touch, about 10 minutes. Let them rest on the baking sheet for about 1 minute to firm them, then transfer to a rack with a metal spatula.

Serve: Cool completely, and serve cookies on a platter.

Serves 24

Check out our Holiday Recipes Section for similar recipes!

I mentioned the Parties That Cook Cookie Exchange in Tuesday’s post as a teaser for today. This cookie exchange photo recap is for those of you out there who, like me, take the holidays as a pass to bake and eat whatever your heart desires (or doesn’t desire, actually).
The Feast.

Bibby’s buttery cookies

Erin’s chocolate dipped macaroons

Traci’s macadamia nut, butter and cranberry cookies

Susanne’s key lime cups

Rosie’s coconut macaroon thumbprints
with homemade plum jam

Carolyn’s shortbread bars
with chocolate and nuts

Beth’s pinwheel cookies

Rebecca’s peanut butter blossoms

Michelene’s chocolate mint cookies

Erin’s chocolate turtles with pecan legs and chocolate shells
Yes, she made 2 kinds of cookies!

Cassandra’s chocolate butter cookies OF DEATH
Terribly delicious recipe courtesy of Paula Dean

Two late submissions did not get photographed, but were definitely worth the wait! Chef Jill stopped by with mint macadamia nut cookies, and Crissy brought in Mexican Wedding Cookies the next day! It was probably better to have some time between cookie binges. Overall, this Holiday Cookie Exchange was such a success! Not a bad cookie in sight. We even managed to avoid duplicates despite a rebellion against a proposed sign-up sheet. Though I sure am glad that we didn’t show up with ten varieties of chocolate and mint! Happy Holidays from Parties That Cook!