Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies

As I was putting together the dough for these Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies there was no doubt in my mind that they were going to be incredible. You can't go wrong with the combination of chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, almonds, and a touch of chile. It's like a mole cookie.

But when these little guys emerged from my oven they looked like magical mushroom caps. Oh, not those magic mushrooms! I was thinking more along the lines of the little mushrooms that grace fairy tale forests and are homes to elves and fairies. These cookies looked like they would be right at home in an illustrated book of Brothers Grimm stories or nestling the bûche de Noël of your dreams.

In The Art and Soul of Baking Cindy Mushet explains that these cookies get their incredible crackled surface from a whipped combination of eggs and sugar and a roll in confectioners' sugar before baking. The airy texture of the dough causes the cookies to rise into the shape of fat mushroom caps, and the sugared surface cracks ever so slightly during baking to give them the most delicate and beautiful texture.

But fairy tale looks aside, these cookies taste like a dream. They are light but toothsome, sweet without being cloying and have a faint but deep and satisfying heat from the ancho chile powder. I couldn't find ancho chile powder at my local market but they did carry dried anchos. The recipe lists the chile powder as an optional ingredient but I wasn't going to do without, I toasted the anchos briefly and gave them a whirr in the spice mill to make my own. The flavors that go into these cookies make them the ideal partner for any warm drink that can be sipped by the fireplace, I enjoyed them along with a nice glass of red wine but they would do very well with a hot toddy, spiced cider or mulled wine.

Win The Art and Soul of Baking

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Art and Soul of Baking to give away this week.

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