Mini Chocolate Crackles
Freshman dorms are the grandest social experiment of that awkward transition from adolescence to adulthood. Stick a bunch of awkward teens at random in a room (or thanks to NYU, a pretty decent apartment with our own kitchen and bathroom), and hope they don’t kill each other? It’s the ultimate Real World, minus the staged drama and fake jobs.
Instead of living with some of my good friends who went to NYU, I lived with three “strangers” my first year, hoping for it to be a “learning experience.” This here recipe is one fruit of such learnings, introduced to me by one of my suite-mates. Amelia made chocolate crackles for us around the holidays, saying that it was a Christmas tradition in her family. The cookies were cake-y, fudgy, perfectly chocolate-y, a much-needed treat as we trudged through our first set of finals.
These cookies are what I’d like to think are the grown-up version of Amelia’s chocolate crackles. They’re slightly bitter, from the unprocessed cocoa and limited sugar, a little lighter (think more cake, less fudge) and bite-sized. Because everything is better when it’s petite.
They’re also astoundingly easy to make, and especially nice if you’ve got little kitchen helpers in the form of young cousins, nieces and nephews or you know, kids, since their little fingers are prime for scooping and rolling and even mixing with their fingers. Also, don’t be like me and make these cookies a few days after getting a manicure.
Yield: 30 1/2-teaspoon-sized scoops
– 3/8 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup granulated sugar
– 3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder*
– 1/4 teaspoon baking soda*
– 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 1 teaspoon brewed coffee, at room temperature
– 1 large egg, beaten slightly
– 2 tablespoons powdered sugar + more as needed
*Not to get too science-y, but the original recipe called for 1/4 of a cup of Dutch-processed cocoa powder, which is less acidic than regular unsweetened cocoa. I only had the regular stuff on hand, so I had to add baking soda to even out the acidity. (I also added more cocoa than called for, which is why I added extra baking powder as well, since cocoa is heavier than flour.) These measurements worked perfectly, so save yourself the math headache and use this version if you’re using regular cocoa.
1) Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and using your fingers, blend it with the dry ingredients. Add the coffee and egg to create a sticky dough. Freeze for at least 10 minutes, or until firm.
2) Pour the powdered sugar in a bowl and lightly dust your hands. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon amounts of dough onto your hands and roll into balls, then roll in the powdered sugar bowl. Arrange the balls on a greased baking sheet, a little more than an inch apart.
3) Bake at 400˚F for 5-7 minutes, until the cookies are just set. They will be slightly fudgy and cake-y inside. Allow them to cool before removing from the baking sheet — they tend to break when hot.