Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Movie trailer announcer voice: "In a world... where five days of cookies, just isn't enough... where chocolate and sugar meet and form a bond of friendship that can't be broken... This holiday season, butter finally gets its revenge... ... (This post has not yet been rated)."
So... for day three of my Five Days of Cookies posts I am picking a cookie that many of you most likely already have in your repertoire. I am picking this cookie because, recently, I discovered, what I think is a better way to make this cookie. The ubiquitous chocolate crinkle cookie is probably made by more people around the holidays than there are snow leopards in Chicago. I have no idea if that's true or not so someone should fact check me. I can say, with utmost certainty that these always grace a plate each holiday season in my house at some point. I am a big chocolate fan, and these cookies have such a great chocolate flavor, you really can't pass them up. Here's the deal though, sometimes these cookies come out flat and dry and way too crispy. Sometimes the powdered sugar has melted into the cookie leaving it a light brownish color instead of bright white, and the cookie itself is overly cake like. Still others lack that chocolate taste we expect them to have. Each and every one of these issues (and maybe a few more) were addressed by the folks over at America's Test Kitchen, and for that I thank them. They have forever changed the way I make these cookies. I am sure it goes without saying that Bridget, Julia and Dan are welcome to stop by the house anytime, and they are welcome to bring any gifts from the test kitchen that they wish (FYI, I already have the cookbook)! I think, the best part about making these cookies is that the whole thing is done by hand, no stand mixer, just a couple of bowls, a whisk, rubber spatula, a couple of parchment lined baking sheets, and if you have one... a cookie scoop. With all the other things we have to do in our busy lives, especially around the holidays, having a few simple cookie recipes up your sleeve can be a real timesaver. This recipe yields 22 cookies, but you can eat two yourself right away and just say it only made 20.
So here is how I re-learned to make these cookies.
1 cup (5 ounces) all purpose flour
½ cup (1.5 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or dutch processed)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups packed (10.5 ounces) brown sugar
3 large eggs
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional - but highly recommended)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup confectioners sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F with the oven rack in the center position and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Grab a medium sized bowl and to it, add the flour, the cocoa powder, the baking powder, the baking soda, and the salt. Whisk all that together until it's good and mixed, then set that bowl aside for now.
In a large bowl whisk together the brown sugar, the eggs, the espresso powder, if using, and the vanilla extract until there are no lumps of sugar left.
Put the butter and chopped chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat until they are melted together, stirring occasionally (alternately melt the two together in a bowl in the microwave at medium power for 2 to 3 minutes, again stirring occasionally).
Whisk the chocolate mix into the sugar mix until it is well combined.
Add the flour mixture to the bowl and with a rubber spatula fold the flour into the butter mix until there are no more dry streaks.
Allow the dough to rest on the counter at room temperature for 10 minutes.
While you wait, place the granulated and powdered sugars into separate shallow bowls or plates.
If you have a #30 scoop you can use that, or weigh the dough and divide it into 22 equal portions (that’s what I do), or take about two tablespoons of dough and form into a ball.
Roll each ball first into the granulated sugar to coat, then roll in the powdered sugar to coat.
Place on the lined baking sheets 11 cookies per sheet and bake one sheet at a time for about 12 minutes, rotating the sheet half way through, or until the cookies are puffed and cracked and the edges are just set but the top is still soft. As they mentioned on the show, if your going to have any problems in making these cookies it's going to be by over-baking them, so watch them closely as the end of the baking time draws near.
Leave the cookies on the sheet pan until completely cool then grab a glass of something to drink, put a cookie, no make that several cookies, on a plate, wrap yourself in a cozy blanket, dim the lights to a comfortable setting, put on a good movie, snuggle up next to the fireplace, and call it a night!