December 14, 2011

Chocolate crackles

This Christmas cookie comes to you by special request.  Our resident six-year old wanted me to make some and here they are.  I think these chocolate crackles (sometimes called "crinkles" too) are fairly popular around this time - we've certainly seen them in the various holiday-themed food magazines that have arrived in our mailbox.  The six-year old in question saw these in one of the magazines and said "mommy, can you make that?!"  I'm not sure he remembers I made these last Christmas and I'd plan to whip up a batch anyway.
Just to change things up ever so slightly, I added a touch of almond extract.  I loved this little addition (since I love all things almond) and I'll be sticking with it from now on.  These cookies are soft and moist, reminiscent of a brownie (though not quite as rich), and with the almond extract, similar in flavor to the mini chocolate yogurt cakes.  The snowy look simply justifies eating these chocolate bites during the holidays.
So many cookies, so little time...

The full recipe (listed at the bottom) makes roughly 4 dozen cookies; I made half a batch.  To start, melt 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate with a dash of instant espresso powder (optional).  A somewhat darker, bittersweet chocolate works well here because the cookies get rolled in a combination of granulated and powdered sugar before baking so there enough sweetness.
The dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt) are sifted together in another bowl and set aside.  For half the recipe, half a stick of butter gets beaten together with 3/4 cup of light brown sugar.
Add an egg and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  I also added just about 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract since I love it (you can omit this and leave it plain).
The melted chocolate gets incorporated next.

Finally, the dry ingredients are added in 2 parts, alternating with some whole milk in between.
Waiting can be a drag but around the holiday time, I find it's convenient to make cookie dough in advance anyway (like the night before) and make them the next day or two.  Since the dough is fairly wet, it needs to chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours until firm.  Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap (into 2 pieces for half a recipe) and let them chill out.
The chocolate crackles get their signature snow-capped look through a coating of both granulated sugar and then confectioners' sugar.  I think the granulated sugar makes sure that the confectioners' sugar stays on.  So when you're ready to bake these, unwrap the dough and roll them into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls.  Roll each in granulated sugar first, then the confectioners' sugar.
Rolling these remind me of the chocolate truffles.  Place them onto parchment-lined baking sheets and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 14 minutes, or until the surfaces crack.  Rotate the baking sheets halfway through the baking time and check on them early.  Try not to over bake to keep them nice and moist in the center.
They spread in the oven and the final effect is this snowy cracked appearance that's really appealing somehow.
I think these are possibly my little guy's favorite Christmas cookies and the boy knows his cookies.  I hesitate a little because the child can be fickle when it comes to these things and easily swayed to something else. 

These chocolate crackles are soft and moist, somewhat brownie-like though much lighter.  I like the addition of the almond extract but they are likewise delicious without it. 


Chocolate Crackles
Adapted (slightly) from Martha Stewart's Cookies

- Makes roughly 4 dozen -

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
1/3 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup confectioners sugar

Melt chocolate with espresso powder in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.  Set aside and let cool.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in another bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in eggs, vanilla and almond extracts.  Then add melted chocolate until combined, scraping around the sides and bottom of the bowl.  On low speed, mix in the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk in between.  Divide the moist dough into 4 roughly equal pieces and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll dough into about 1 inch balls.  Roll the dough balls first in granulated sugar and then confectioners' sugar.  Place them on parchment lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake until surfaces crack, about 14 minutes, rotating the pans midway through the baking time.  Let cookies cool for a few minutes before placing on cooling racks.  The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 


  1. Hi . loved your website
    could you tell what is ounce

    1. Thank you. I'm not exactly sure what you mean...if you are asking for cup to ounce conversion, please use a conversion website such as this one:
      This is also a helpful chart:



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