Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011
Sardi’s Hollywood was located on Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles, just about a half mile west of the old ABC Television Center. It was the first place that I knew of that served real espresso. You could come there at any time of the day and see many of your favorite Italian heartthrobs on break from the soap opera taping at the studio.
Aside from real espresso and great potato gnocchi they had a fantastic array of Italian bakery delicacies and Italian cookies. My choice was always the Chocolate Crackle Cookies. These soft and crackly cookies were rich, with a deep chocolate flavor accented by the espresso which was the perfect ingredient complement to raise the level of chocolate flavor. The touch of almond extract, while not completely authentic for this traditional cookie, adds an additional layer of flavor.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours (or overnight)
Bake time: 30 minutes
Yield: 30 cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate, chopped
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a small bowl. Using the back of a spoon break up any of the clumped cocoa powder.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth being careful not to burn. Let mixture cool while completing the next steps.
- In a stand mixer cream the brown sugar and eggs on medium-high speed in a large bowl until thick, about 2 minutes. Scraping down the side.
- Add the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and beat until well incorporated.
- Add the flour blend and beat until just combined.
- Scrape down the side and refrigerate the dough until firm for at least 2 hours.
- Position oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350° F.
- Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Put the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl.
- Using a small scoop or tablespoon scoop out the dough and roll into balls.
- Refrigerate half the dough balls. Toss the remaining balls in the sugar, coating them very generously (you shouldn’t see any chocolate color from the dough).
- Place the dough balls about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake until the tops are cracked and the edges are firm about 13 to 15 minutes.
- Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- When the baking sheets have cooled, bake up the the remaining dough balls.
- These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days. You can freeze the dough and bake off up to a week later.