"Reclaiming Homemade in a Small Space"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Cookies- Third Time's a Charm: Chocolate Crackles

These are a new Christmas staple in our house this year.  I had to try a new Christmas cookie recipe simply for my middle child, Brandon.  He really isn't much of a dessert kid.  He likes ice cream, icing (but not the cake), straight chocolate and a limited array of cookies.  He tolerates the Dipped Vanillas, but I think it is only because they are drizzled in chocolate and he won't eat the Pumpkin Cookies. This year, Matt suggested that I make a cookie just for him.  Instead of making chocolate chip or snickerdoodles that I make year-round, I decided to try a new cookie that I knew Brandon would love.  I chose the Chocolate Crackle.

I love the way these cookies remind me of a snow fall and they look so pretty on a tray of Christmas cookies.  I've made them twice so far this holiday and we are down to our last three!  They are simple to make and yummy.  Matt loves them with a hot cup of coffee.

Chocolate Crackles:
Printable Version
 4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate  OR    3/4 c. cocoa  + 1/4 c. canola oil
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 3/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 c. plus 2 T. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. confectioner sugar

Taking my own advice, I read through the recipe first and found I didn't have the 4 oz. of baking chocolate.  What I did have was cocoa and oil, a suitable substitute.  (One square of baking chocolate equals 3 T. of cocoa and 1 T. of oil. I needed four squares so I did the math and came up with 3/4 c. cocoa and 1/4 c. oil).  I combined those two ingredients in a small bowl.  If you have the 4 oz. (or 4 squares) of baking chocolate, melt the chocolate in a microwaveable bowl.  Then add the vanilla and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.  The resulting mixture will look a little more grainy than most cookie batters.
Add your eggs at this point and mix well.

It will look a little wetter than normal cookie batters do at this point.  Now, add the set aside chocolate and mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. (Notice my batter paddle???  It has flexible edges...perfect for scraping the side of the bowl for you.  I use it a lot with cookie doughs!)
Then, add the dry ingredients to the bowl, 1/2 c. at a time, mixing after each addition only enough to blend the ingredients.

After it was all mixed together, it really reminded me of a brownie batter (tasted like it too!), just a bit stiffer than normal brownies.  The next step is to cover the bowl (I did this with wax paper) and chill it for two hours.  This hardens the dough and makes it easier to shape into balls later.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  After your dough has chilled out..take a #60 scoop and scoop out some dough.  Roll into 1 inch balls with your hands.
The first time I made these, I used a #40 scoop.  That is the one that I normally use for snickerdoodles or chocolate chip cookies, but I found it made these cookies too big for what I was looking for.   If you don't have a #60 scoop, just use a teaspoon and roll into 1 inch balls.  Now, drop them in the confectioner sugar.
Roll them around in the sugar until well coated.  DO NOT knock off the extra sugar.  I did that the first time and though they were delicious, they didn't have the white coating I was expecting.  Place them 2 inches apart on a siplat (or parchment paper) lined baking sheet.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the tops are puffed and crackled.  Do not over bake these.  They need to be slightly crunchy on the edges and soft in the middle.

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