Embrace the Time Suck
Posted by WSW
Recipe: Chocolate Crinkles
I know, I know, refrigerator cookies are a pain in the ass. They’re fiddly and time consuming, either of which is usually enough to put me off making them. On the other hand, look at it this way, the chilling period frees you up to do other things, like read an improving book, catch up on your favorite Castle episodes, or have that life saving midday glass of wine to prepare for a bout of bathroom cleaning. (Why approach the toilet bowl without at least a small load on? I guess people do, but I think it’s inadvisable, even reckless.)
Of course there’s always the risk that, having become a little over-relaxed during the chilling period, you’ll forget about having made the dough and discover it moldering behind the extra large Bosco bottle a month or two past its expiration date, but what’s life without the odd surprise?
Now, to make a proper crinkle, you’ve got to refrigerate the dough. Believe me, I’ve tried skipping it and it just does not work, and no, I don’t know why. You’d have to talk to a proper baker, or at least a sober one, to find out. But really what other kind of cookie offers the magical mix of a crunchy exterior with a soft chewy middle? It’s an unbeatable combination, and if you’ve got sufficient lead time, the chocolate crinkle is a real bake sale winner. If you have little kids and a truckload of patience, the rolling and sugar coating step is enough like a Playdough activity to keep them busy for a good hour. Don’t worry, the high temperature of the baking will kill most of the germs from the finger licking — theirs not yours. Though let’s be honest, when was the last time you made cookies without consuming half of the dough? And this is good cookie dough. Real quality product. Or so I have been told.
During my childhood, the molasses crinkle was a cookie jar staple and a Christmas tradition. Grammie Sue made them and so did my mother. They were chewy and spicy and best eaten straight from the oven. We always used the Betty Crocker recipe which called for shortening, rather than butter. As a result, once the cookies cooled, there was a weird waxiness that kind of coated the roof of your mouth. Though it was far less bothersome when they were still warm, and certainly not a deal breaker by any means, it always bugged me. I have found, however, that by substituting soft, unsalted butter for half the shortening in the recipe, you can mitigate that without compromising the flavor and texture of the cookie.
The chocolate crinkle offers no such problem, as no Crisco is involved, at least in my version. Betty’s original recipe calls for vegetable oil, but I substitute melted butter and it creates a far better cookie. Betty also calls for vanilla extract, but I substitute almond extract for half of the vanilla. When rolled in toasted, ground almonds, this version offers a deep, dark not-too-sweet flavor that’s pleasing to adults, and for dinner parties they make a nice dessert. You can pair them with a scoop of ice cream — Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia or Mission to Marzipan work well — or little shot of Kirsch.
For the kids, you’ll probably want to skip the almond extract and use vanilla only, then roll them in powdered sugar. Un-evolved palates can be such a drag. Of course the dough is still very very good.
(adapted from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook)
Melt together over very low heat:
- ½ C unsalted butter
- 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (4 squares)
Let it cool. It should still be liquid, just warm instead of scalding hot.
In large bowl, mix at low speed:
- the cooled butter and chocolate
- 2 C white sugar
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 t pure almond extract (if you don’t like the almond flavor, just skip this and increase vanilla to 2 t)
- 2 C all-purpose flour
- 2 t baking powder
- ½ t salt
Cover the mixture and refrigerate 3 hours.
(Pause. Pour yourself a drink and relax. Of course, you deserve it, and no, it’s not too early.)
Set the oven to 350°. Grease a cookie sheet.
Use a teaspoon to scoop out the dough and roll it into balls. Drop each ball into powdered sugar, white sugar or toasted, ground almonds to coat.
Place on the greased cookie sheet. Make sure to leave a couple of inches between each cookie, as the dough flattens and expands during baking.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, no longer! The cookies should be chewy and a bit fudgey beneath the surface.
You’ll need to re-grease the cookie sheet for each batch. (These cookies freeze beautifully in a plastic container or wrapped in foil.)
About WSWWriter, wife, mother. Toiler in the bottomless, black, soul-sucking coal mine of domestic life. Thank God for the portable bar.
Posted on March 6, 2012, in Baking, Dessert and tagged Almond, Baking, Betty Crocker, Butter, Chocolate, Cookie, Cookies, Drink and Food, Humor/Commentary, Molasses cookies. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.