Love and Olive Oil

Mexican Chocolate Tart with Cinnamon-Spiced Pecans

Mexican Chocolate Tart with Cinnamon-Spiced Pecans

It’s no secret that I enjoy the sweet and spicy combination of chocolate and chili. I’ve made cupcakes, hoarded chocolate, and loved every second of my sweet and spicy adventures. To me, the addition of spice only intensifies the rich decadence of the chocolate. It’s a match made in heaven.

So, while browsing dessert recipes in search of something special to follow our lovely Christmas dinner for two, as soon as I saw the title of this one, I knew my search was over.

Mexican Chocolate Tart with Cinnamon-Spiced Pecans

This tart, if you’d like to call it that, is basically a soft ganache in a cookie crust. With a kick. And it is to die for. We still have half in the fridge and have been enjoying a small slice of it every night.

Has anyone else had trouble finding chocolate wafer cookies? We went to three different stores before we gave up. Plenty of vanilla wafers, oreos, chocolate teddy grahams… but no chocolate wafers. Instead, I used a box of slightly-stale graham crackers I had been hoarding with the intention of making smores cupcakes, but never did. Added a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to simulate the chocolate, and voila. A delicious crust in a pinch.

I also thought that this would be a perfect recipe to use the Olive & Sinclair Mexican Style Cinnamon Chili chocolate bar, but, alas, we unselfishly sent the few bars we were able to purchase (those babies are hard to come by in this town!) to family and friends. And I have no idea what a ‘disk’ of Mexican chocolate looks like let alone where to buy it. Instead, we used twice the amount of regular bittersweet chocolate, and just added a pinch of cayenne for kick.

And a kick was exactly what we got. But not too much, just enough to excite the tastebuds and make you want to eat another slice. And another. And then another for breakfast. In other words, this recipe is definitely a keeper.

Mexican Chocolate Tart with Cinnamon-Spiced Pecans

Makes 8-10 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.

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Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups pecan halves

1 cup chocolate wafer cookie crumbs, finely ground, OR 1 cup graham cracker crumbs ground with 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup heavy whipping cream or soy creamer
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 (3.1-ounce) disk Mexican chocolate (such as Ibarra), chopped OR another 3 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (if not using Mexican chocolate)
1/4 teaspoon salt


For pecans:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Whisk all ingredients except pecans in medium bowl. Stir in pecans. Spread in single layer on sheet, rounded side up. Bake until just browned and dry, about 30 minutes. Cool on sheet. Separate nuts, removing excess coating. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend first 4 ingredients in processor. Add melted butter; process until crumbs are moistened. Press crumbs into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom, to within 1/8 inch of top. Bake until set, about 20 minutes. Cool on rack.

For filling:
Bring cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolates; whisk until melted. Add butter, 1 piece at a time; whisk until smooth. Whisk in vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne (if using), and salt. Pour filling into crust. Chill until filling begins to set, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Arrange nuts in concentric circles atop tart. Chill until set, about 4 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover loosely with foil and keep chilled. Serve tart with whipped cream.

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  1. I’ve also done this type of recipe with a gingersnap crust.  It was super good but would love to try this one with a chocolate cookie crust.

  2. We found wonderful Mexican chocolate in Somerville, MA at Taza Chocolates.  Terrific!

  3. I ordered a carton “famous wafers” from last summer because I was craving a wafer/cream refrigerator log.

  4. oops. i just drooled on my keyboard. that looks so good!!


  6. Have you ever seen Abuelita Mexican hot chocolate? They do make it powdered, but traditionally, it comes in a package of four (I think) disks, one of which is added to a pot of boiling milk or water to be served as hot chocolate. You can see it here, for product identification:

    It can be found in the Mexican section of your grocery store, or at a Latin grocer.

  7. Your tart looks beautiful. If you were to use real Mexican chocolate, I wouldn’t add in more cinnamon. It already has enough cinnamon and cayenne in it as is. I will be sure to make this very soon.

  8. i think might be my next chocolate tart recipe to try! the first time I needed to find the Famous Chocolate Wafers, I also had a bit of a hunt to find them. I discovered a few things…sometimes grocers do not put them in the cookie aisle, but instead with all of the ice cream toppings/fixings- which i think is sort of weird. I was able to find them at Harris Teeter and World Market (of all places!) I tried the chocolate teddy grahams in place of them for a few recipes- and I actually thought they tasted better.

  9. That looks absolutely amazing. I too have had trouble finding those cookies – what happened to them all? I have used Paul Newman’s chocolate letter cookies with good results.

  10. That looks wonderfully lush and smooth!

  11. Chocolate & spice – my favourite combination. You do make some fantastic things. I have no idea where we get Mexican chocolate from in the UK, so will have to resort to substituting dark chocolate as you did. But I had thought Mexican chocolate also had ground almonds in????????

  12. This looks lovely! And you really must try one of the spicy/sweet flavors from Las Paletas, since you’re into those kind of flavors. I think they have a mexican chocolate.

  13. oh, looks soooo gorgeous! I’ve had similar problems locating chocolate wafers. My best success at my local grocery store is looking in the “ice cream treats” section where they keep the hot fudge sauce, caramel sauce, etc. Deb at has a wonderful recipe for homemade chocolate wafer cookies for those of us who have a hard time finding them.

  14. Oh-so-yummy! Two comments: yes, my mom and I have both had trouble finding those Famous Chocolate Wafer packs- I think they’re holding back on is in order to cause a shortage and drive up the price, but that’s just me, conspiracy-theorist extraordinaire. What I don’t have a hard time finding is the Mexican chocolate discs- they sell them in an octagonal-type cardboard cylinder, about 5 discs to a pack, and one of the other posters already mentioned the red-and-yellow packaging. If you go to the “Latin” foods section, you will probably find the Ybarra or the Abuelita brands easily- both good. Can’t wait to try this for a special occasion! :-)

  15. That looks awesome! I wish you would have let me know i could have helped you with your O&S Cinn-chili! I have a hook up.. That tart looks awesome! We need to give it a go with the Cinn-Chili!

  16. I have been having the worst time finding chocolate wafers also!
    So instead, I use the 100 calorie packs of crispy oreos. They don’t
    have the filling and work great (if you don’t mind opening a bunch of little packs).

    It’s the only thing that I could find even close to chocolate wafers…

  17. beautiful recipe…it looks delicious..will try it for the new year :)

  18. The holidays are over. And here I was thinking I was going to work on loosing a couple of those holiday pounds…guess not, thanks to you dear Lindsay! Looks like I will be adding instead of subtracting the pounds! This looks divine!

  19. This sounds great and here in Santa Cruz, CA I’ll have no problem getting some Mexican Chocolate. We’ll be making this for New Year’s eve. Thanks!

  20. We are salivating just looking at the photo. Love the turquoise tart pan too!
    We used Famous Chocolate Wafers at the cooking school here but your substitution looks the same! Will let you know if I see them in stores here.

  21. I’m saving this for my husband’s birthday. He’s a chocolate lover and I think he’d go for this twist. We were once given a tin of hot chocolate from Mariebelle called Aztec Chocolate which was this same concept…chocolate with a kick. Love it!

  22. what a gorgeous cake!!! Happy 2010!

  23. I’ve never had “spicy” chocolate before… but I really want to try it!

  24. Fabulous, Lindsay! I love your creative substitute for the chocolate wafers. Cannot wait to try this. Have a happy New Year’s!

  25. i made about 100 minis of these for my culinary school graduation and then totally forgot about the recipe. and, mexican chocolate took me a while to find too, but it’s available at the whole foods near me, in yellow and red packaging. thanks for reminding me that i have to make this again.

  26. Wow. Just wow. It’s so pretty!

    I’ve never been able to find chocolate wafers. Chocolate graham crackers have stood in for me in a pinch, too.

  27. Looks awesome! I think that Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Grahams are the best in the world, and they would be well suited for this application! Thanks for including a dairy-free modification.

  28. Lindsay, this looks delicious!

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