The Daring Bakers challenge this month was a great choice! Christmas is fast approaching and the
Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us. Peta provided us with 12 festive cookie recipes and we got to choose which one to bake. It was a hard choice, but when I came to this recipe for chocolate crinkle cookies, I knew I had to bake them. These cookies have been on my ‘must bake’ list for literality years. I’ve no idea why it’s taken me so long to get round to baking them, so when they turned up on the list it seemed the ideal opportunity.
All I can say is – why on earth has it taken me so long! These cookies are amazing! I can’t believe what I’ve been missing out on all these months, years even! If you’ve never tasted them yourself, don’t delay and bake some soon, they are fabulous.
The cookies are made using a very soft dough that must be chilled, rolled into balls, coated liberally in icing sugar and baked. During baking the cookies puff up and crack, creating a crazy paving style surface of icing sugar with the dark chocolate cookie dough peaking through underneath.
The dough contains a generous amount of light brown sugar, melted dark chocolate and a few ground nuts, which all give the finished cookies a great flavour and wonderful soft and slightly chewy texture. The chew reminded me of a similar texture to a coconut macaroon. Although the cookies look like they will be crisp and crunchy, the outer shell is wafer thin and the inside is wonderfully soft and cakey with a pleasing chew in the centre. Almost brownie-like.
The recipe makes rather a lot of cookies and so I took some into work Monday morning to share with my colleagues. One colleague commented that they looked very festive, which made me smile, as that was exactly the intention of this months Bakers challenge. I hadn’t prompted her at all. When the cookies are first coated in the powdery icing sugar, they do look like fluffy snowballs!
I’m so pleased I finally got to bake these cookies and I will certainly be making them again. They would be great to have on hand for non mince pie lovers over Christmas. They would be ideal to bake with children too, as rolling the cookies into balls is fun, and your hands tend to get a little chocolate covered, and most children I know love getting a little messy, especially if it means they get to lick their fingers afterwards.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
80g hazelnuts, skinned (I used almonds)
30g caster sugar
175g dark chocolate, around 60%
330g plain flour (I used 300g gluten free flour)
20g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
100g unsalted butter, softened
300g light soft brown sugar
55ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used ½ tsp almond)
90g icing sugar
Make the Cookie DoughPut oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 170°C.
Toast the hazelnuts in a shallow baking tray in oven until skins split and nuts are pale golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven (turn the oven off), then wrap hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub to remove any loose skins. Leave to cool completely, before blitzing the nuts with the 30g caster sugar in a food processor until finely ground.
Melt the chocolate, either over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave until smooth and set aside.
In a clean bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in melted chocolate until combined. Add milk and vanilla (or almond), beating to incorporate.
Scatter over the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add the ground nuts on top and mix together using a spatula until well combined.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 2 hours, until firm.
Bake the Cookies
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line 2 large baking sheets with baking paper.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Halve dough and chill 1 half, wrapped in clingfilm.
Roll heaped teaspoonfuls of the dough between your hands to create 1 inch balls. Place them on the baking trays until you have used all the first half of the dough.
Roll the balls in the icing sugar, making sure they are very thickly coated. Carefully place the coated balls on the baking trays, leaving a 2 inch gap between each one. (I managed to get 12 to a sheet).
Bake, the cookies in the oven, switching the sheets half way through if baking two trays at once. Bake for a total of 12 minutes. The cookies should be puffed and cracked when cooked and still be very sot to the touch. They firm up on cooling.
All the cookies to cool on the tray for 3 minutes before sliding the cookies, still on baking paper, onto cooling racks and leaving to cool completely.
Repeat with the remaining half of the cookie dough.
Store in an airtight container once cooled.
Makes about 50 cookies. (Recipe can be easily halved)