Yesterday I spent roughly 5 hours babysitting a pot of bolognese slated for dinner that evening. My friend Pat loves making fresh pasta (as do I) and when I said I was planning to make a bolognese, he offered to provide the pasta.
I’m officially on break from school and loving it. No papers to write, no projects to complete, no academic reading to do. Rather, I’m spending my days reading books I want to read (i.e., The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter), writing letters, watching movies, and spending quality time in the kitchen. That quality time includes laborious dishes like bolognese, but I don’t mind one bit. Something wonderful happens when a pot of bolognese is allowed to simmer for many hours; deep, silky flavors develop and the entire house benefits from the lazy cooking process.
While the sauce was bubbling away, I took the opportunity to bake a batch of cookies. Why not, right? These chocolate crackle cookies were so simple to put together and, after chilling in the fridge for a bit, baked off in a short 11 minutes. There seems to be an inordinate amount of sugar in these cookies, but for whatever reason, I didn’t find them to be overly-sweet. I thought they were a nice blend of cookie and brownie in their texture and the contrast in color was beautiful.
The next time you want to make cookies, try these out. They’re easy and impressive-looking. They remind me of a snowy night and frankly, these would be perfect to eat while cuddled up in front of a roaring fire. And I don’t know about you, but I love a chocolate dessert after a hearty meat sauce and pasta dinner.
Chocolate Crackle Cookies
Adapted from Chow
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 canola oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 – 1 cup powdered sugar, for rolling
Melt chocolate and oil in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and shiny. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the sugar and the oil-chocolate mixture. Set mixer to medium speed and mix until combined (about 2 minutes). Stop the mixer and scrape down sides of bowl with spatula. Return mixer to medium speed and add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl. On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated, stopping once to scrape down sides of bowl. This batter is similar to cake batter in that it’s kind of runny. Don’t fret; it will firm up in the fridge.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 1/2 – 3 hours (or overnight).
When dough is firm, preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
Place the powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Using a 1-tablespoon measure or small ice cream scoop, roll dough into 1-inch balls, drop them in the sugar, and roll around until they are completely covered. Shake off excess and place on baking sheet. You should be able to fit about 15 balls per sheet. Refrigerate excess dough.
(The original recipe called for baking the two sheet simultaneously, but I don’t prefer to do that.) Bake each sheet of cookies for 10-12 minutes, or when the middle of the cookies still look a little soft. Transfer cookies to wire cooling rack and cool completely. Be sure to let the baking sheets cool completely before repeating with the remaining dough.
Makes about 40 cookies. Store cookies in airtight container for up to 4 days, if they last that long. Alternatively, you can shape remaining dough into balls, place on cookie sheet, and freeze until balls are totally frozen, then transfer to airtight container or freezer bag for baking later. If doing this, remove from freezer and allow to thaw for about 30 minutes, then roll in powdered sugar and bake as directed.