June 22, 2009

Midnight Crackles

Sometimes I will just hand Alex my Dorie Baking book and command "Pick one!" I didn't have time this weekend for the current TWD recipe (to be posted tomorrow by TWD bakers), a Pineapple Dacquoise that claimed to take about 8 hours from start to finish. I did, however, have a few bits of time here and there to bake a batch of cookies. Alex selected the Midnight Crackles, which I had been eyeing myself for quite some time.

These were pretty simple to make: throw the dough together and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so, and then roll it into balls for baking. The cookies are intensely fudgey with an almost airy brownie-like texture, and just hint of the cinnamon and cloves in the background. I sprinkled a few with sea salt before baking because I love the salty/chocolate combo. Delicious!

If you do bake these, aim for 9-10 minutes in the oven instead of the 10-13. I did the first batch at 11 minutes and they were a bit too dry. The second batch, at 9 minutes, was perfectly fudgey. As Dorie herself says in the book "Better to under-bake than over-bake." She calls them crackles because of the finely cracked tops and although they are "midnight" in color, she claims that its really because of the hour that you're apt to crave them. So true.
Hmmm...I really should have brought some to work today. Blogging about them has triggered a huge craving!

1 stick, plus 2 TBS unsalted butter (10 TBS total), cut into 10 pieces
1 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
10 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 large eggs

Put the butter, sugar and chocolate (in that order) into a 2-quart saucepan. Set the pan over low heat, and warm the ingredients, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Scrape into the bowl of your stand mixer, or another large bowl if you're using a hand-mixer.

Meanwhile, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves.

Working with your stand mixer, paddle attachment, or hand-mixer on low speed, add the eggs to the chocolate mixture one at a time, until they are well blended into the chocolate. With the mixer still on low, add the dry ingredients, mixing just until the dough is smooth and shiny; it will clean the sides of the bowl and form a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a work suface, and divide in half. Wrap each half in plastic and chill for at least an hour, up to 3 days. If the dough is solid when you remove it, let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes before working with it.

Getting ready to bake:
Preheat the oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with silicone or parchment paper.

Working with 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, roll the dough between your palms into smooth shiny balls (if it breaks, just knead it back together), and place on the baking sheet about 1-inch apart. Lightly press each one down a tad with your fingertips.

Bake for 9-11 minutes (the book says 10-13, but I found this to be too long), rotating the sheets from top to bottom, and front to back, at the midway point. The cookies should be lightly crackled and delicately firm on top when done. Allow them to cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy with a big glass of cold milk!


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Those cookies sound great! I'll have to try them.