STOP EVERYTHING AND MAKE THESE COOKIES RIGHT NOW.
I had not anticipated baking anything this weekend. No time, no energy, no desire. Until I found myself late Friday night craving something chocolate and looking for a way to make something simple and quick with the few ingredients I had on hand. I was exhausted, but sometimes you just need chocolate.
I had flagged this recipe some time ago and never made it, but it looked quick. You whisk together your dry ingredients. You whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla. You melt chocolate and butter together. You add the chocolate to the eggs. Then you fold in the dry. Then you take balls of the dough and roll them in two different kinds of sugar.
It came together quickly. Nothing had to sit out to achieve room temperature. It required separate bowls for the three mixtures — the eggs and sugar, the chocolate and butter, and the dry ingredients — which is one more bowl than I usually care for but it wasn’t a deal breaker. The longest step was the 10 minutes of resting before the final assembly, but I just used that time to wash the dishes that I dirtied making the dough.
The most labor intensive part was rolling the dough in the sugar, which was a little messy and required dirtying two more bowls. (In my heart, I want everything to require only one bowl and one spoon because I aspire to economy in all things. I will accept the word laziness in place of economy there.) When I went to roll the dough in sugar, I thought I had made some grave error. Even after resting for ten minutes, the dough was like brownie batter. How could I possibly roll this dough in sugar? And I discovered that you really don’t. You drop some dough into the granulated sugar, shake it around until it is coated and then you can shape the dough into a nice round little ball and coat it in the powdered sugar.
The whole process was over so quickly that I wondered if these cookies could possibly be any good. Shouldn’t a truly good cookie require a little more effort? Could a process this quick and dirty really result in something exceptional? I am happy to report that yes, yes it can. The texture of these cookies is so surprising. Fluffy and moist with a rich chocolate flavor. And they are exactly sweet enough without being cloying.
I was not joking before. Review the ingredient list below, get anything you are missing from the store, and then make these cookies immediately. You have been waiting your whole life for these cookies. You just didn’t know it.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
(Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) high quality unsweetened cocoa powder*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups packed (10 1/2 ounces) brown sugar
3 large eggs**
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) white sugar (preferably superfine)***
1/2 cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking mats.
2. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in bowl.
3. Whisk eggs in large bowl until well combined. Then add brown sugar and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
4. Combine chocolate and butter in bowl and microwave until melted,1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly as you do so, until the chocolate mixture is incorporated into the eggs.
6. Fold in flour mixture until no dry streaks remain. (You may be tempted to use the whisk rather than dirty another utensil. Don’t do it. The final dough it too thick for a whisk. Use a wooden spoon.)
7. Let dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
8. Place granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar in separate shallow dishes. Using two teaspoons, scoop up a heaping teaspoon of dough and use the other spoon to drop dough ball directly into granulated sugar and roll to coat. The dough is way too sticky to handle until it has this first layer of sugar coating. After it has been coated, you can form it into a ball and transfer the ball of dough to the bowl of confectioners’ sugar and roll to coat evenly. Place ball of dough on baking sheet. Repeat until you have 12 cookies evenly spaced on each sheet.
9. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, until puffed and cracked and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), about 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cool completely on sheet before serving.
* Use the highest quality cocoa that you can. This is the time to break out your extra dark cocoa or the good Valrhona cocoa powder. The original recipe called for four teaspoons of instant espresso powder to be added the eggs and sugar mixture. I did not do this as coffee added to baking recipes enhances the cocoa flavor and I used an extra dark high quality cocoa powder that didn’t need any help. If you are using a lower end cocoa, you might want to add that espresso powder back in.
** When I first made this, I wanted to make a half portion and had to research how the heck to do that when the recipe calls for three large eggs. Turns out that one large egg equals three tablespoons. So I cracked two eggs into the bowl, whisked them together, and then removed 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture, successfully achieving 1 1/2 large eggs.
*** I got all the way to end of this recipe before realizing that I did not have any granulated sugar in my kitchen. I did however have some fancy mascobado cane sugar lying around and used that instead. It was lovely. If you have access to some, I highly recommend it. UPDATE: And after making these again with regular sugar, I am even more convinced that mascobado or even superfine sugar is a better fit here and I have modified the ingredients list accordingly.