The food might just be the best thing about Penland… other than the yoga every morning (and afternoon), the view, the beautiful studio, the great people. Let’s just say that the food is one of the things that make Penland great.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner served on schedule. No preparation or clean up – thanks to the amazing staff, core students, and work study students. This allows you to settle into life and to think about nothing but creativity, development, and growth. It is a beautiful and nurturing place to grow.

I have been eating salads every day but my commitment to my detox wavers when I see something like these Mexican Hot Chocolate Short Bread cookies calling to me.

This delicious recipe is from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook (Artisan, 2012) by Cheryl and Griffith Day of Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Georgia.

Makes 24 cookies


Deep and dark with a bit of a kick.

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder or finely ground coffee
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
About 1/4 cup granulated sugar for dusting
Your favorite cookie stamp

Line two cookie sheets with parchment.

Whisk the flours together in a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter, vanilla, and almond extract until the mixture is pale in color, 1 to 2 minutes.  Turn the speed down to low, add the brown sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, espresso, salt and cayenne pepper, and continue to mix until mixture is smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the flour mixture in thirds until just combined. With the mixer running, sprinkle in the chocolate chips, mixing until just combined.

Transfer the dough to another bowl and finish mixing by hand to make sure no bits of flour or butter are hiding on the bottom of the bowl and the dough is thoroughly mixed.

Use a small ice cream scoop to form the cookies, about 1 rounded tablespoon each, and place on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1 inch between the cookies to allow for spreading.

Flatten each cookie with a cookie stamp dusted with granulated sugar, or gently flatten each cookie with the palm of your hand and then dust the tops with sugar.  They will have little cracks in the top. Refrigerate the cookies for at least 1 hour, or up to 5 hours.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time for even doneness.  Cool the cookies completely on wire racks. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up the 3 days at room temperature.



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  1. Lynore

    I gained 5lbs from my stay at Penland last month! What a surprise to find the baking was done by beadwork master David Chatt. He was doing a residency and will be teaching next spring. Have even more respect for him now!!

    1. Alabama Post author

      The food was so wonderful! Well worth every calorie and pound gained. Luckily there are all the beautiful trails to walk on to counter balance the wonderful food!