Spicy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adding a kick of spice, here in the form of cayenne, takes these chocolate chip cookies to the next level. When you first bite into them, you feel like maybe there’s no spice...but give it a second and you get a lovely bit of heat. The flaky sea salt sprinkled on top before baking gives it that extra punch. If you want a bit of warmth without a spicy kick, choose chili powder instead of cayenne.

Makes about 12 cookies, depending on the size.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 scant teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (or chili powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • Big pinch flaky sea salt


Step 1

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until it looks well combined and uniform. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each, and then the vanilla extract.

Step 2

Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cayenne (or chili powder), and salt. Mix until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

Step 3

Mix in the chocolate chips until they’re well distributed.

Step 4

Shape the dough before resting it in the fridge: either scoop the dough into even-sized and shaped balls and line them up on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or roll the dough into a log on a flat surface that’s been lined with cling wrap. Of course, you can also leave the dough in the bowl and cover it in cling wrap. Either way, wrap the dough tightly in cling wrap (even if they’re on the sheet pan) and rest it in the fridge for at least one hour but ideally overnight.

Step 5

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F. If you haven’t already, line a sheet pan with parchment paper and slice the cookie log or scoop the dough into golf ball sized cookies, leaving about 2 inches between each.

Step 6

Sprinkle sea salt over each cookie. Bake for 11-13 minutes.