Spicy Cinnamon Cayenne Cacao Chip Cookies

By Published On: 3 February 2016Last Updated: 9 October 2020

Do you like a bit of heat in your treats? These Vegan Spicy Cinnamon Cayenne Cacao Cookies are complex, subtly spicy, and wonderfully sweet.

What's in this post

I polled Twitter last week and asked which vegan treat people prefer: cookies, cupcakes, pie, or cake.

Surprisingly, cookies won by a landslide.

With all the vegan cupcake recipes online I was confident people would pick those. If I were polled, I would choose them too. I’m not even really particular about type either because I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t like.

I knew I wanted to make a sweet treat for my wife on Valentine’s Day, and since cookies won the poll, I decided to make cookies.

The Hunt for Vegan Chocolate

After checking my pantry, I discovered I had almost everything to make my simple chocolate chip cookies except the chocolate chips. 

Off to the grocery store I went.

I live in a small town. What we lack in vegan restaurants (there isn’t one), we make up for in vegan options at most of the grocery stores in my area. 

I stopped off at a TJ Maxx on my way to the grocery store and happened upon a large bag of organic cacao nibs for a really good price, so I snatched them up. I decided I would use those instead of chocolate chips.

Now that I had everything I needed, I headed home.

My Love Language is Food

My wife loves spicy food.

If a dish has a hot pepper or hot sauce in it, she’s happy. Even though we’ve been together for more than 19 years, we’ve only been married for a few months. So technically, this will be our first married Valentine’s Day so I wanted to do something fun.

It’s kinda cute to start celebrating firsts again after a few decades together, right?

How to Make Spicy Cinnamon Cayenne Cacao Chip Cookies

Using my simple chocolate chip cookie recipe as a base for my cookies, I added a healthy dose of cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and a dash of cocoa powder. I didn’t know it at the time, but this is a classic combination in Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies.

I used soymilk in place of almond milk to switch things up from the chocolate chip cookie recipe, and a tiny bit more blackstrap molasses because molasses is good. What I was left with was a very dark and very thick batter.

I used a Medium Cookie Scoop to make 16 cookies, which I spaced evenly on a baking sheet. Then, I used the back of a fork and gave each top a little press. I love using a cookie scoop because I get evenly sized cookies.

If you don’t have a scoop, use a spoon. The medium cookie scoop measures out to about one and a half tablespoons, so try to get the same amount of dough for each cookie.

Also, don’t smash down your cookies. This recipe makes nice thick cookies, so you don’t want to smash them flat. Just give them a little press.

Bake them for 12 – 14 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

What Do These Cookies Taste Like?

These Vegan Spicy Cinnamon Cayenne Cacao Cookies are so pretty, aren’t they?

And the result was is a nice thick cookie that isn’t as dense as you might think.

They’re not overly sweet and have a great depth of flavor. Fair warning, these cookies are pretty spicy. I don’t think it’s too much, but I like a lot of spice. If you don’t care for heat, you can either reduce the amount of cayenne pepper or eliminate it altogether.

The cacao nibs add a nutty chocolatey taste that I love; I’m so glad that I stumbled upon them and decided to use them over the chocolate chips. But if all you have are chocolate chips, by all means, use them.

You’ll get a delicious cookie either way.

Final Thoughts

I try not to play favorites when it comes to cookies, but if I did these vegan spicy cinnamon cayenne cacao cookies might top the list.

These spicy-sweet treats were served up to my wife (in a little heart bag because, hello, adorable) who proclaimed them to be the perfect “adult cookies.”

I agree; they’re not your average everyday vegan cookie.

They’re complex cookies with a big kick that pairs excellently with coffee (or rum) and makes a spicy valentine for a spicy someone you love

Spicy Cinnamon Cayenne Cacao Chip Cookies

Spicy Cinnamon Cayenne Cacao Chip Cookies

Yield: 13 Cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 34 minutes

Complex, subtly spicy, and wonderfully sweet.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and cayenne pepper into a bowl and mix together until fully combined with no lumps.
  3. In a glass measuring cup add canola oil, blackstrap molasses, vanilla, and soymilk. Whisk together until combined.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour wet ingredients into the well.
  5. Add cacao nibs and gently fold together until combined. Don't over mix the dough.
  6. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, make 16 balls of dough and place on a baking sheet evenly spaced. Use the back of a fork to press each dough ball slightly, creating a cookie shape.
  7. Place in preheated oven and bake for 12 - 14 minutes. When done, place them on a cooling rack to cool.

Let’s Talk!

Do you like a little bit of spice with your sweets like I do? Let’s talk about it. Tell me what you think in the comments.

Disclosure: This article may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. See my Affiliate Policy for more details.


  1. Susan February 4, 2016 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    These sound really good. I don’t tolerate a lot of heat, so I would definitely be using the lower end of the cayenne amount, but I do like chilli chocolate, and cinnamon is my favourite spice.
    My stupid twitter app on my phone doesn’t show polls, so I missed this. Personally I would have voted pie because I get super excited about pie (but I prefer it when people make it for me), but I love cookies as well. :D

    • KD Traegner February 5, 2016 at 8:41 am - Reply

      These are pretty spicy so I’d cut the cayenne way down to a 1/4 – 1/2 tsp if you don’t tolerate heat well. I like heat, but not as much as my wife does. She could have handled even more heat in them! One of my favorite spice combos is cinnamon and cayenne- I’ve even put it in my morning oats before. I learned how to make peach pie this summer with just a handful of ingredients- maybe I’ll make one and post it for you :) Actually, now that I’m thinking about it as I’m typing…cherry pie sounds really great. Maybe I could make a cherry cocoa pie- have you ever had one of those? So good!

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HELLO! I'm KD Angle-Traegner.

Writer, activist, and founder of Four Urban Paws Sanctuary. I’m on a mission to help people live a vegan life. Read more about KD…