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Mexican Chocolate Pepita Shortbread Cookies for #CreativeCookieExchange

Mexican Chocolate Pepita Shortbread Cookies | Magnolia Days

Fall really kicked in this week. Temperatures range from highs in the 60’s to dipping into the upper 30’s at night. It signaled the time to change my garden from summer to winter. Fall sends out another signal too: pumpkin. A plethora of recipes flood the internet. Guess what? I’m part of another batch of them. Since I only like one small part of pumpkin, I made Mexican Chocolate Pepita Shortbread Cookies.

Pepitas are the part I like. Cookies made with them were a challenge. As I searched for recipes there were basically two flavor combinations; lemon/rosemary or chocolate. I had to go with chocolate, especially Mexican chocolate with a nod to the upcoming Day of the Dead celebration. What makes chocolate to be Mexican chocolate? It is a simple addition of cinnamon.

Mexican Chocolate Pepita Shortbread Cookies | Magnolia Days

I had to modify the method of the original recipe. It was for cutout cookies. I thought it would be perfect since the theme is pumpkin and I have a cookie cutter in that shape. However, I read the recipe reviews and noticed people had trouble rolling out and cutting the dough. I could see why once I made the dough. So I changed it to sliced ones and they came out wonderfully.

Decorating the cookies is easy. It is simply brushing on an egg white wash and sprinkling with sugar or sprinkles. Had I made them as cutouts, I would have used orange colored sugar to give them a pumpkin-y orange glittery sheen. Plan B changed it to turbinado sugar or Halloween colored sprinkles. I just so happened to have pumpkin shaped sprinkles and made some with faces. Those you can really see the bits of pepitas in the cookies. Meet Pepe, my crackly, freckle-faced cookie:

Mexican Chocolate Pepita Shortbread Cookies | Magnolia Days

How are Mexican Chocolate Pepita Shortbread Cookies? They have the classic crunchy texture and slight sweetness of shortbread. Their flavor is chocolate with a hint of cinnamon plus a touch of nuttiness.

Mexican Chocolate Pepita Shortbread Cookies | Magnolia Days

Do you enjoy pumpkin? Then this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange is for you. Scroll down to find the list of cookie recipes celebrating it. Also take a look at Celeriac Sweet Potato Soup and Butternut Squash White Bean Soup for more recipes with pepitas.

Mexican Chocolate Pepita Shortbread Cookies | Magnolia Days
4.17 from 6 votes

Mexican Chocolate Pepita Shortbread Cookies

Delightful and crunchy Mexican Chocolate Pepita Shortbread Cookies have a nutty flavor from pumpkin seed kernels and a touch of cinnamon.
Course Cookies
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 26 minutes
Cook Time 54 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 40 cookies
Author Renee


  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted pepitas pumpkin seed kernels
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate do not use chips, chopped
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Turbinado sugar or sprinkles for decorating


  1. Toast pepitas by placing them in a large dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. They will lighten in color and some will pop. Remove pepitas from skillet and cool to room temperature.
  2. Grind pepitas in a food processor or spice grinder until coarsely ground.
  3. Place chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Transfer chocolate to a large bowl and cool for 3 minutes.
  4. Add butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt to chocolate. Beat until thoroughly combined.
  5. Whisk together flour and ground pepitas. Add to creamed mixture and beat until just combined.
  6. Divide dough in half. Press each half firmly together and shape into a 7-inch log. Wrap logs in parchment paper and chill thoroughly, at least 3 hours or overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick liners.
  8. Cut each log into 20 slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on baking sheets.
  9. Whisk egg white and water together.
  10. Brush cookies with egg white and sprinkle turbinado sugar or sprinkles on top.
  11. Bake cookies for 18 minutes, or until just firm to touch.
  12. Cool cookies 5 minutes on baking sheets then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Time stated does not include cooling pepitas and chilling dough.

Recipe adapted from Mexican Chocolate and Pepita Shortbread Stars on the Epicurious website.

The Creative Cookie Exchange theme this month is Pumpkin. It is only October and you can’t possibly be tired of this glorious symbol of the fall harvest yet. If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura via email (thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com) and she will get you added to our Facebook group where discuss our cookies and share links.

You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

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Recipe Rating

Robin @ A Shaggy Dough Story

Wednesday 21st of October 2015

Clever cookie—It's the Stealth Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! I totally need to find me some pumpkin sprinkles now…


Tuesday 20th of October 2015

I am a big fan of Pepe the Pumpkin cookie! Great idea to use the seeds in such a creative recipe.

Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories

Tuesday 20th of October 2015

I came "this close" to making a cookie with pepitas instead of pumpkin. Shortbread is my favorite kind of cookie, and these are definitely going into my "must bake" file.


Tuesday 20th of October 2015

Wow! What a creative recipe! I have never seen anything like it :) These are perfect for Halloween and for Day of the Dead :D

Linda @ 2 Cookin' Mamas

Tuesday 20th of October 2015

This recipe sounds fantastic and so original! I can't wait to try it! I've made pepita brittle for a chocolate panna cotta and it was really delicious so I know these must be super tasty too.