The sound. The snap, crackle, and pop of fresh logs on a fire becomes music to the audience intently watching the flickering flames.
So, as I was sitting by the fire sipping my hot chocolate, the snap, crackle and pop of the fire reminded me of a favorite childhood cookie. Chocolate Crackles. I have it on personal authority that these little gems are Santa's favorite. When I was a child, these cookies were my gift to Santa on Christmas Eve. He always managed to leave a powdered sugar trail next to his empty glass of milk. So as you contemplate your holiday baking, make sure you include a batch of these little wonders. Once you taste these decadent treats, you'll never hear a fire the same way again.
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Melt chocolate over a double boiler, taking care not to get any water in the chocolate. You can also microwave the chocolate in 15 second increments, stirring in between until melted. Once melted, set aside and cool.
Meanwhile, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
With an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add melted chocolate and mix well.
With the mixer on low speed add 1/2 flour, then the milk, then the remaining flour. Take care to mix well between each addition. Divide dough into four equal pieces and wrap each one in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pinch off enough dough to roll into a 1-inch ball. Roll it to completely cover it in granulated sugar. Then roll it into confectioner's sugar to coat generously.
Space each cookie about 2 inches apart on a silicone baking mat. Bake until the surfaces crack like the picture. They take about 14 minutes. Let cookies cool on wire wracks.