When I first moved to LA back in the 90s, one of my favorite haunts was a bookstore on Third Street called The Cook’s Library. It was devoted entirely to cookbooks. It was heaven. I’d plunk myself down on the floor and lose myself for an afternoon reading about European pastry. The staff were always friendly and nice. It was heaven. It closed in 2009 after 20 years. I miss it.
One of the books I bought there was a sort of coffee table style book on European
chocolate recipes. I would tell you the name, even show you a picture, but alas, the book is packed into a box that’s packed into a storage locker. The first Chocolate Crinkles I ever made were from that book. They were plump and tasted like moist, delicious brownies. (The chocolate Bouchons served and sold at Bouchon Bakery are similar in taste/texture to the Euro Crinkle.)
Over the years I’ve tried a few other Crinkle recipes. None delivered the same tallish, rounded cookies. But I found that I prefer the flatter crunchy-chewy version. And the best recipe I’ve found is from Cook’s Illustrated.
- Follow the directions as written, mixing the ingredients gently but thoroughly (I use a hand mixer on low).
- Spring for the good chocolate. (I use Valhrona natural cocoa and Scharffenberger unsweetened chocolate.)
- Add the suggested espresso powder for incredibly deep flavor.
- Don’t be afraid of the dough! It will be runny like a cake batter when you’re done mixing. Let it sit on the counter as directed. It will firm up but it will always be super soft. Handle with care!
- Check your oven temperature for accuracy because you don’t want to bake these any longer than 12 minutes. There’s a fine line between chewy and underdone, I know. Trust the recipe and verify your oven temperature!
- The recipe says to make two sheets of 11 rolled balls. I do not. I make three sheets: Two of 8 balls and one of 6 balls. It’s just how I do.
- Use the ice cream scoop if you have one. It’s the easiest way to handle the soft dough.
Not only are these cookies delicious, I think they are one of the prettiest holiday cookies. I love the bright white sugar against the dark surface cracks.
Dark Chocolate Crinkles
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
1 c (5 ounces) flour
½ c (1 ½ ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ c packed (10 ½ ounces) brown sugar (if weighing, no need to pack it)
3 large eggs
4 tsp instant espresso powder (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 Tbs unsalted butter
½ c granulated sugar
½ c confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 325. Position rack in center of oven. Line three large baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in bowl.
In a separate large bowl, combine brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and espresso powder (if using). Mix with a hand mixer on low until well combined.
Put chopped chocolate and butter in a heatproof glass measure and microwave at 50 percent power, stirring every 30 seconds until melted.
Add melted chocolate to the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until combined.
Add flour mixture in two additions, mixing on low until just combined (no dry streaks remain). The dough will be wet and runny, like a brownie batter.
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), roll into balls. Because the dough is so soft make your balls by gently tossing the dough back and forth in your hands. Immediately drop the dough balls into the granulated sugar and gently roll to coat. Transfer dough balls to confectioners’ sugar and roll gently to coat evenly.
Place 8 dough balls, evenly spaced, on two of the prepared sheets, and 6 on the third sheet.
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. Yield 22 cookies.
These are best the day they’re made, but can be kept in an airtight container for about 3 days.