I am not a big chocolate cake person – but I love to make chocolate cake. Seems odd on the surface, but it boils down to one simple truth: I don’t like doing dishes. And most chocolate cakes are one- or two-bowl recipes that are essentially dump and stir – no stand mixer required.
So it stands to reason that I love this cookie – three bowls (you could probably manage it in two), no appliances, and a truly spectacular result. And, unlike chocolate cake, I actually want to eat these.
They are rich and intensely chocolatey, with a shatteringly crisp outside and a surprisingly light, almost souffle-like crumb. They’re the sort of cookie that looks too decadent to finish but begs for seconds once you taste it.
I’ve made these before, more than once, so it was a challenge to bake them again without making any of the variations I’ve been dreaming of (peppermint extract! dark chocolate chunks! deeply toasted pecans! the tiniest pinch of cayenne pepper!). But I’m not sure anything I could add would actually be an improvement.
Sometimes it’s best not to mess with perfection.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Yield: 22 cookies Time: approximately 40 minutes Source: KCET, courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated
Chilling the dough before scooping and rolling in sugar will help things feel a little less sticky – but you must allow the cookies to come completely back to room temperature before you bake or you won’t get that beautifully crackly surface.
- 142 grams all-purpose flour
- 44 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer dutch process, but it doesn’t matter here)
- 4 grams (1 teaspoon) baking powder
- 2 grams (1/4 teaspoon) baking soda
- 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) salt
- 300 grams dark brown sugar
- 3 ea eggs
- 9 grams (4 teaspoons) instant espresso powder
- 6 grams (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
- 115 grams unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 55 grams unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, for rolling
Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C).
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Now, in a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, espresso powder, and vanilla until no lumps remain. Set that aside as well.
Put the chopped chocolate and butter in a small bowl and microwave at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until all the chocolate is completely melted. I usually stop and stir every 30 seconds.
Once your chocolate is melted, whisk it into the brown-sugar-and-eggs mixture until completely combined.
Note: if you wanted to cut down the number of bowls, you could totally microwave your butter and chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl, then add the brown sugar, eggs, espresso, and vanilla and whisk from there. Just be sure to crack your eggs on top of the sugar so they aren’t landing directly in hot chocolate.
Either way, dump your dry ingredients into the bowl with the chocolate and eggs mixture and fold the flour into the chocolate with a rubber spatula until no dry streaks remain.
Let the cookie dough rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Fill a shallow dish with the granulated sugar and another with the powdered sugar. Scoop out two tablespoons of dough at a time (I used a #30 disher, but a normal spoon works just as well). Roll it into a ball, and then roll it in the granulated sugar until completely coated. Transfer the dough ball to the powdered sugar and roll to coat again.
If your dough is very sticky, it helps to skip the ball-rolling step and just dump your dough directly into the sugar. You can then handle it by the sugary bits, which cuts down on sticking. It’s not a big deal if your dough balls aren’t perfectly round – they’ll even out as they bake.
Place your cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them 11 to a tray.
Bake the cookies until they are puffed and cracked all over – the edges of the cookie should be set, but the insides of the cracks should still look a little wet. This should take about 12 minutes, with a rotation halfway through the baking time.
Cool completely on the baking sheets before devouring.