In my house, it isn’t the holidays until the Chocolate Crackle Cookies come out. They are, for us, as much a staple of the season as decorating the tree and overspending on presents.
There are many different variations on this recipe, but they all follow the same basic structure: whip up an ultra-fudgy cookie dough, roll it into balls, coat with confectioners sugar and pop into the oven.
As they bake, the cookies split open on top and the powdered sugar gives them a festive, crackled look. They are almost pretty enough to hang on the tree, although I wouldn’t recommend it.
Crackle cookies are easy, delicious and last for at least a week – which makes them an ideal holiday gift. I wrap a few in festive bags, tie with a ribbon and hand them out to friends, family and teachers.
Over the years, I have experimented with several different recipes and I have settled on what I consider the ultimate one. The key is to use good-quality Dutch-process cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate for a rich, chocolaty flavor.
The other good thing about these cookies, besides the fact that I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like them, is that you can make the dough ahead and park it in the freezer. Then, when the mood strikes, you can defrost them, roll and bake.
What is your favorite holiday recipe? Submit it to Patch and we might post it on the site.
Chocolate Crackle Cookies
(Adapted from Martha Stewart.com)
Makes about 4 dozen
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for rolling
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Chop bittersweet chocolate into small bits, and melt in microwave. Set aside to cool. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
In an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about five minutes at medium speed. Add eggs and vanilla, mix until combined. Add melted chocolate. With mixer on low speed, alternate dry ingredients and milk until just combined (do not overmix).
Divide dough into four sections, wrap with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for two hours or in freezer for about 30 minutes, until firm.
On a clean cutting board, roll each portion of dough into a log 16 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, using confectioners’ sugar to prevent sticking. Wrap logs in plastic wrap and transfer to a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes.
Cut each log into 1-inch pieces and toss in confectioners’ sugar, a few at a time. Roll pieces into balls, and roll in sugar again, making sure no chocolate is visible. Place cookies two inches apart on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until cookies flatten and sugar splits, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool. Store in airtight container for up to one week.