What’s In A Name?
I had resolved to take a dessert break last week but made an exception for this batch of Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies from The Art & Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet. They were made on request to take as a gift so I wasn’t tempted for long, though the box did go out 1 or 2 or 3 light. Similar to nutty Mexican polvorones known as wedding cookies here, the recipe calls for added chocolate, coffee, and optional ancho chile powder. Though the recipes in the book are pretty foolproof, I didn’t think the chile could only be optional if they were to give an authentically Mexican kick to the crackles.
Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies
Adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet. This is my go to recipe for thank yous and hostess gifts, especially during the holidays, and comes together easily. For another alternative mixing chocolate and chile, click here for a Mexican brownie recipe from A Chica Bakes.
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon brewed espresso
6 ounces 70 percent cacao bittersweet, finely chopped
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) plus 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (3 ounces) almonds, toasted and cooled completely
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
3/4 cup (3 ounces) unsifted confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about 7-9 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Bring two inches of water to a simmer in a double boiler or heavy saucepan. Turn off the heat. Place the chocolate, butter and espresso in a double boiler or heatproof bowl and set over steaming water. Stir until chocolate is melted and set aside to cool.
Beat together the eggs with the 1/2 cup of sugar in an electric mixer with the whisk attachment at high speed until it is pale and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes. Blend the melted chocolate into the eggs until incorporated, about 1 minute.
In a food processor, pulse flour, cinnamon, baking powder, chile powder and almonds till finely chopped, about 1-2 minutes. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Stir with wooden spoon or spatula for a couple of turns to ensure that all of the flour is incorporated. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until very firm, at least 2 hours.*
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick liner.
Scoop out well rounded tablespoonfuls and roll in the remaining granulated sugar and then roll generously in the confectioner’s sugar. Place on prepared cookie sheet, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for 11 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until cookies are set. They should slide when nudged and not stick to the pan. Cool on a rack.
*At this point the dough can be refrigerated for three days or scooped into balls and frozen in plastic freezer bags for up to three months.