Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Chocolatey-est Chocolate Crackle Cookies

These cookies, from Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies 2001, are intensely chocolatey and wonderfully chewy, even after they've been in the freezer a few weeks. They have to be the most delicious chocolate crackle cookie on record.

Even so, I think I'm over them -- the dough is a bitch to work with. It's very sticky, even after it's been refrigerated. To keep my hands from being covered in gooey dough, I use my smallest cookie/ice cream scoop and drop the dough directly into a bowl of powdered sugar. Even that isn't easy because the dough doesn't want to come out of the scoop. Once I've dropped a few scoops of dough into the powdered sugar, I jiggle the bowl around until the dough is coated. Then I take them out of the powdered sugar and roll them into neat little balls.

Yummy, if you don't mind the aggravation. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Crackles

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I've used various combinations of semisweet, bittersweet and dark chocolate chips and all work well)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Melt chocolate (I do this in the microwave, checking and stirring every 30 seconds, but I'm sure Martha does this in a double boiler). Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate. Add flour mixture alternately with milk. Mix on low speed until just combined. Shape dough into a flattened disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Using 1 heaping teaspoon of dough apiece, shape 1-inch balls. Roll each in confectioners’ sugar until completely coated. If any cocoa-colored dough is visible, roll dough in confectioners’ sugar again. (Or, if this is making you nuts, use my method, above.) Place the cookies on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until flat and the sugar coating splits, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Transfer to a wire rack, and let cook completely. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

11 comments:

Allie said...

Those are what my mom would call special occasion cookies where you only get them once a year because they're such a pain! The do look good though!

Cam said...

Thanks for passing along the recipe (and warning :) I'm making sugar cookies this week but will add these to my list!

Sue said...

I was looking for a new chocolate cookie recipe and this sounds wonderful. Does Martha warn that the dough is a pain? What about rolling them into a log, chilling them and then just slicing them off? But then you don't get that cool icing sugar finish then, I guess...

Tracy said...

Sue,
Of course Martha doesn't warn that the dough is a pain! I've found that a lot of Martha's stuff is harder than it appears. I don't think the sliced log trick will work with this recipe. It doesn't get as firm as the doughs you'd slice. I should have mentioned that when I got too exasperated with the sticky dough, I pop it back in the fridge to get it firmed up a little more.

Hallie Fae said...

Yum those look so good. When I was little chocolate cracks (as we called them) were my favorite cookies. I would nibble and bite at each crack line until the cookie was gone. Great recipe!

Emily said...

They're striking!

Karin said...

I'll have to try your recipe -- I've been using one from Penzy's called "chocolate snowflakes." they are excellent, especially when I use Penzy's cocoa.

Laura said...

Well gosh you had me sold on these... and then you didn't. ;) Now I cannot decide. I wonder why the dough was so sticky even after chilling with all that chocolate and butter? Weird. And on a more random note, I wonder why she had you flatten the dough into a disc if it was going to be scooped?

But darn it if I don't have the feeling I might brave these....

Laura said...

Hey I am back. I looked this recipe up in her more recently published cookie cookbook and I noticed she increased the brown sugar slightly to 1/2 cup and has you roll them in granulated sugar before the powdered. I wonder if either of these things help?

Autumn said...

In answer to Laura's question awhile back about these cookies. "Nope, the rolling in confectioners sugar after the granulated doesn't help" BUT, along with Tracy's comment about using a small scoop, I have found that dipping that scoop in icy water before and between scoopings helps keep the mix from adhering so badly to the scoop. PLUS, having your fingers and palm lightly coated with powdered sugar helps with the mess. I found Laura's hints after I had begun my dough, and felt sure I had done something wrong until I read her page. Thank you Laura :D

Tracy said...

Laura and Autumn, thanks for the tips! They are so delicious, they may be worth another try with both of your suggestions.

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