Chocolate Candy Cane Crackle Cookies
December 18, 2011
My holiday baking got off to a late start this year. There are still many edible holiday treats still on my to-do list, but this was one recipe I was not going to let pass. In fact, this the only batch of holiday cookies that I was able to fit into my schedule this year. They are so tasty!
Chocolate Candy Cane Crackle Cookies combine rich fudgy chocolate with a hint of peppermint flavor and crunch from candy canes and peppermint schnapps. If you like dark chocolate and peppermint, these should definitely be on your “To Bake” list. The recipe is based on one from Dorie Greenspan that ran in the November 2006 Bon Appetit. I made the original recipe years ago and enjoyed it very much. The seasoning (cloves and cinnamon), make it more of an adult flavored cookie. My adaptation below follows Dorie’s basic recipe, but leaves out the spices. In their place are chunks of candy canes and a touch of peppermint schnapps. (Finally a use for that bottle I picked up at a white elephant gift exchange last year!)
There are a few things to keep in mind when you make these cookies. First, the candy cane chunks are bound to melt in the oven. There is nothing really wrong with this since they will still impart their flavor, but if you, like me, want to be able to see the candy canes in the final product, be sure to leave the chunks rather big (1/4 to 1/3 inch long). Second, the dough is tough to work with. It is super dry and firm and tough to roll in your hands. Both my kids were helping to roll and we ended up with chocolate crumbs everywhere and a bunch of squarish cookies. The good news is, it does not really matter. The cookies will still taste great. Lastly, do not overcook these cookies. Since the dough is so dry, it is much better to undercook them. Think of brownies. You want to pull them when the dough just begins to set, but is not completely cooked through.
Chocolate Candy Cane Crackle Cookies
adapted from Dorie Greenspan via Bon Appetit November 2006
makes 40 cookies
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar — packed
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate — coarsely chopped
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon peppermint schnapps (I used 100 proof)
1/2 cup chopped candy cane (1/4 – 1/3 inch pieces)
Combine the butter, brown sugar, and chocolate in a saucepan. Warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is smooth and melted. Scrape chocolate mixture into a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
Turn on mixer to low and add the eggs to the chocolate mixture one at a time. Add the peppermint schnapps. Beat until well blended. Add the flour mixture and chopped candy cane. Mix until dough is smooth, shiny, and pulls from the side of the bowl. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. If the dough is too hard when you remove it from the refrigerator, let it sit out on the counter for 30 minutes. It may help to break it into pieces to help it warm slightly.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spoon out 1 tablespoon of dough at a time and roll it between your palms to form a smooth ball. You may need to press and squeeze the dough to help it stick together. Place the balls 1-inch apart on a baking sheet. Lightly press down on each ball to slightly flatten them.
Bake for 10 minutes. The cookies should be cracked on the edges, set on the surface, yet still glistening on the inside. It is much better to underbake these than overbake. Remove sheet from the oven and allow cookies to cool for 2-3 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
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