Noni Doni’s 12 Bakes of Christmas – Day 2: Best Chocolate Crackle Cookies

I cannot believe that in all the years of having this website, that I have never published my recipe for Chocolate Crackles. Today, I correct that oversight.

Chocolate crackles are one of the best cookies to make for many reasons. First, they’re super easy, especially if you have a stand mixer. Yes, you can use an electric hand mixer, or even mix by hand, but the cookie dough is pretty thick, so it might be difficult.

The second reason I like Chocolate Crackles is they do not contain butter, which is now running as high as $7 a pound. Oil is the cookie’s fat.

The third reason I like Chocolate Crackles is because they’re pretty, with the contrast between the dark brown chocolate base and the white powdered sugar on the cookie’s exterior. To achieve this look, the dough is rolled into balls, then rolled in powdered sugar.

As the cookies bake, they expand and produce “cracks” where the powdered sugar has pulled away, kind of like stretch marks, if cookies suffered such a thing.

Back in the days of Tupperware parties and holiday cookie exchanges, Chocolate Crackles were always one of the favorites.

In fact, Chocolate Crackles were so popular that I found myself feeling sorry for the women (and yes, cookie exchanges were mainly attended by women) who well-meaningly brought drop persimmon cookies, chocolate chip cookies, lowly oatmeal cookies and even snickerdoodles. Compared with Chocolate Crackles, those other cookies became the undesirable, homely cookie stepsisters.

But looks aren’t everything. Chocolate Crackles are far more than a pretty cookie; they’re deliciously reminiscent of a brownie. The original recipe called for walnuts, but I began omitting walnuts many years ago because so many people are allergic to walnuts. Besides, just like butter (everything, really) the price of walnuts has gone through the roof.

That’s fine. Chocolate Crackles can hold their own sans walnuts. But for some variety, my youngest son recently suggested the addition of white chocolate chips, which is what I did with the cookies you see here. I like it!

And I think you will like Chocolate Crackles, too. Let me know what you think.

Chocolate Crackles

1 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil (or vegetable) oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Mix the chocolate, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in the standing mixer’s bowl with a  flat beater (also called a paddle attachment) until everything is combined and a single color. 

To that wet mixture slowly add the following sifted, dry ingredients: 

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts (optional) or white chocolate chips

Still using the paddle attachment, slowly blend the wet and dry ingredients together until completely combined. Chill the cookie dough for a few hours, or until the dough can be easily rolled into walnut-sized balls without leaving your hands a chocolate mess.

Roll the Chocolate Crackle dough balls in powdered sugar. Place on a buttered or parchment-paper covered cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for between 8 to 12 minutes on the oven’s center rack. 

As with brownies, do not overbake. When the cookies come out of the oven they will look somewhat under baked, and will be soft to the touch. But as they cool they will have that rich brownie texture.  

Notes: The raw dough and the baked cookies freeze well. This recipe can be easily doubled. 

Check back for Day 3 of Noni Doni’s 12 Bakes of Christmas. Click here to see Day 1: The best English toffee.

If you appreciate journalist Doni Chamberlain’s food stories, in-depth reporting and commentary, please consider a contribution to A News Cafe. Thank you.

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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