Why this recipe works
Chocolate crinkle cookies are usually tooth-achingly sweet, with just a couple of wide gaping cracks instead of a crackly surface. For cookies that live up to the name, we use a combination of unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder (plus a boost from espresso powder) for a deep, rich chocolate flavor. Using brown sugar instead of granulated lends a more complex, tempered sweetness with a bitter molasses edge that complements the chocolate. A combination of both baking powder and baking soda gave us cookies with the right amount of lift and spread, helping produce good fissures on the outside. But the real key was rolling the cookies in granulated sugar before the powdered sugar. It helped produce the perfect crackly exterior and kept the powdered sugar coating in place.
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (1 ½ ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups packed (10 ½ ounces) brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup (3 ½ ounces) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in bowl.
- Whisk brown sugar; eggs; espresso powder, if using; and vanilla together in large bowl. Combine chocolate and butter in bowl and microwave at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Whisk chocolate mixture into egg mixture until combined. Fold in flour mixture until no dry streaks remain. Let dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Place granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar in separate shallow dishes. Working with 2 tablespoons dough (or use #30 scoop) at a time, roll into balls. Drop dough balls directly into granulated sugar and roll to coat. Transfer dough balls to confectioners’ sugar and roll to coat evenly. Evenly space dough balls on prepared sheets, 11 per sheet.
- Bake cookies, 1 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.
Both natural and Dutch-processed cocoa will work in this recipe. Our favorite natural cocoa is Hershey’s Natural Cocoa Unsweetened; our favorite Dutch-processed cocoa is Droste Cocoa. Our preferred unsweetened chocolate is Hershey’s Unsweetened Baking Bar.
This recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated.