This is a post about a particular time when I find a certain recipe that makes me react in the following ways:
“What? No way”
“Really? That goes together?”
“That doesn’t sound good at all.”
“I wonder if it tastes any good.”
For your sake, I will make this recipe that vexes me and test it. This is not really an experiment, per se, but more of a “let’s see if this crazy confounded idea of a recipe is actually any good!”
Today’s test: Habanero, lime, and zucchini chocolate chip cookies.
Let’s do this!
Redditor kidcurry88 showcased this recipe one day in the “spicy” subreddit. She modified the original recipe (below) by switching chocolate chips for the zucchini and, most importantly, ghost peppers for the jalapenos.
This is a good time to talk about the heat of peppers, or the Scoville Scale. This is one of the ways to rate how hot (read: spicy) a chili pepper is. They rate how much Capsaicin there is, which is the chemical that irritates (read: the brings people joy from spiciness). Read about it more here.
Also, OF COURSE the dude’s name that came up with this scale is called Wilbur in 1912. Classic. We need to bring that name back.
Anyway, as I said above, the original recipe called for a jalapeno pepper, which can be interpreted as a 4 (on a scale from one to ten).
A 1 on the Scoville Scale can be interpreted as this: “Oh, what a lovely tingling sensation I think I maybe imagined … that lasted for 2 seconds. Did I eat a pepper or bland potato just now?”
A 10 on the scale can be interpreted as this: “Unless you were born in Southeast Asia drinking hot sauce as an infant, this pepper will probably make you puke, pass out, and puke some more.”
The Redditor’s recipe had a pepper that was a 10. MY recipe below uses Habaneros, which are are a 9.
Let’s proceed with the Original Recipe:
Here’s the base recipe: Zucchini Jalapeno Cookies with Lime Glaze
Makes about 3 dozen small cookies
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup grated zucchini
1 medium jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp lime zest
1 tbsp lime juice
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
Add grated zucchini, chopped jalapeno, lime zest, and lime juice.
Slowly add dry ingredients with mixer (or manually mix it in) on low and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 8-12 minutes until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool completely before drizzling with the glaze.
2 cups powdered sugar
2-6 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp lime zest
Start with 2 tbsp liquid and whisk it into the powdered sugar and lime zest. Add 1/2 tbsp at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Glaze can be made very thick or thin as desired. Drizzle on cooled cookies.
Now here is the Redditor’s recipe:
She posted this: “I used a ghost chili instead of a jalapeño, chocolate chips instead of zucchini and a little extra vanilla extract instead of lime juice. Peppers were fresh from a garden and minced in a food processor.”
I personally don’t have fresh peppers from a garden 😦
But I have a great love of all things spicy!
I followed a hybrid of both the original and the Redditor’s recipe, keeping in the lime and the zucchini, but also using chocolate chips. I also used 1 Habanero pepper, seeded and minced, instead of jalapeno (original’s) and Ghost Pepper (Redditor’s).
I’ve made baked goods with zucchini before (banana bread with zucchini in it). It’s delicious. It adds a lovely moisture to the baked good.
But lime and chocolate????
Habanero and chocolate????
Lime AND Habanero and chocolate??????
(You can tell I’m a professional food blogger by the number of question marks I use).
I followed the recipe exactly, but I couldn’t shake my skepticism of the additions of lime juice/zest and Habanero, so I avoided adding those ingredients at first. I took the dough that was ready to be baked and added a small goop to three bowls.
In one small bowl, I added just a squeeze of lime juice and shaved off a bit of lime zest.
In the second small bowl, I added a few bits of minced Habanero to the dough.
In the last bowl, I added both the lime components AND the Habanero.
On a baking sheet, I formed a small dollop of the baseline dough (zucchini, chocolate chips, everything else minus the lime and pepper) and one dollop from each of the small test bowls.
By the time they were finished baking, two of my friends came over in time to test this out.
We should have had milk as a stand by, especially since my friends can’t take chili heat as well as I can. Instead, we had Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin craft beer, which I picked up in Whole Foods. It’s really good.
(Editor’s note: does milk really help quench the spiciness from chili peppers? Yes it does; thanks Mythbusters. )
Anyway, moment of truth, here were our reactions:
Cookie with just zucchini: very moist, pleasant, airy and soft.
Cookie with zucchini and lime juice/zest: very pleasant, interesting sweetness, however more moist and could use more time in the oven (more than the prescribed 12 minutes), sourness of lime went very well with rest of flavor.
Cookie with zucchini and Habanero: nice kick! No pepper taste, and the intense spiciness permeated throughout the cookie and seemed to compliment the sugar of the rest of the cookie. For me, the kick rounded out the palate instead of adding flavor, which was OK for me.
Cookie with zucchini, lime and Habanero: Great! Delicious. If baked a little longer for some crispness, the moisture, softness, coolness from the zucchini, two kinds of sweetness, and rounded-out palatable experience of the sourness and spiciness made this a great cookie experience.
Zucchini, lime, Habanero chocolate chip cookies are actually really good! Go make them now!
And the lime glaze. Wow. Also a great addition.
What I would do differently next time:
Since you asked, I would actually like to add a LITTLE more minced Habanero. I mean, very little. The kick is subtle, but I want it to be slightly more prominent. But for first time bakers of this recipe, I’d stick with one Habanero at first.
I would also bake for around 14 minutes, but please check them at around 10 minutes; my oven may not be getting to hot.