I'm finding it hard to believe that Christmas is only days away. After spending last week basking in the Cuban sun, coming home to Christmas songs and decorations just feels kind of odd to me. Christmas is my absolute favourite holiday and my favourite thing about Christmas is the food...sorry family...you're awesome too, but lets face it, our Christmas meal tops the list! So I decided to get myself into the Christmas spirit. Yesterday I spent the day laying out all my christmas gifts for everyone so that they're ready to be wrapped, and then made Christmas cookies. I have a Martha Stewart: Holiday Cookies magazine from years ago that I turn to every holiday. All of the cookies look so beautiful and delicious that I can never pick which ones to make, so I always end up making the same ones, Almond Shortbread Stars. The Almond Shortbread stars taste amazing, but this year I wanted to try something different. My eye immediately landed on Martha's Chocolate Crackle Cookies. These cookies looked so beautiful and festive, I just had to give them a try! Boy am I glad that I did! The cookies turned out incredible! Super chocolaty and moist, and gorgeous to boot! I was pleased to learn that these cookies remain soft and gooey even after cooling, making them taste like little brownies. Serve them at your holiday celebration!
Note: To make a double boiler, put about 2 inch worth of water into a small pot. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the pot making sure they are sealed tight (you want the steam to stay inside the pot). Also make sure the bowl is not touching the water in the pot. Place your chocolate in the bowl. A double boiler allows the chocolate to gently melt so that it will not burn.
Tip: when forming your dough into balls, try not to make them larger than 1 inch. The larger the dough balls, the less crackling effect.
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (1 cup if using chocolate chips)
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 pound (1 stick or 1/2 cup) room temperature butter
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
about 1 cup confectioners sugar
1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate on low heat. Set aside to cool.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.
5. Add the melted chocolate, and mix to combine.
6. Add the flour mixture alternately with milk. Mix on low speed until just combined.
7. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap. Carefully pour the cookie dough onto the plastic wrap and wrap all around. Form your dough into a disk shape, while still in the plastic wrap.
8. Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours.
9. Preheat oven to 350º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Pour the icing sugar into a small bowl.
10. Form the cookie dough into about 1 inch balls and roll in the icing sugar to generously coat.
11. Place the coated balls on a baking sheet leaving space in between to allow for the cookies to spread.
12. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the sugar coating splits.
13. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
Note: I came across an issue with this recipe while I was melting my chocolate. I used chocolate that was not stored properly. After I had melted my chocolate I tried a taste and could immediately taste that something was off. I had to dump that chocolate and start over again with properly stored chocolate. It is important to store your chocolate properly so that you do not come across this issue.
A Lesson in Storing Chocolate:
- Store in a slightly cool environment (about 60-70º F).
- Store in an area with low humidity. The area should be dry.
- Make sure it is not in direct sunlight. A dark environment is best.
- Keep away from any foods or substances with strong odors.
- Some people swear by storing chocolate in their wine fridge due to the controlled temperature. Give it a try!