Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

My family often gets together with my cousin’s family for holidays, and a few years ago my aunt made these delicious cookies for our Christmas get-together. I loved the cookies, and my aunt gave me the recipe, but I just never got around to making them until a few weeks ago. A big thank you to my wonderful aunt for this delicious recipe!

These cookies are bursting with chocolate, and the powdered sugar coating gives them that nice crackly top appearance. These cookies are gooey, chewy, and completely delicious. They do require some chilling, but it’s only a couple hours, just so the dough firms up enough that they don’t spread out into pancake cookies in the oven. Definitely worth the wait! Here’s the recipe!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Makes about 50 cookies

Ingredients

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar (for coating)

Directions

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in a medium bowl in 30 second intervals at 60% power. Stir in the oil and sugar until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then add the the chocolate mixture. Mix until well combined.

Chill for at least 2 hours, up to a couple days.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Scoop about 2 tsp of dough (I used a small size cookie scoop) and roll into balls, then roll in the powdered sugar. Flatten slightly and place on a baking sheet a couple inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the tops are crackly and almost set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and set for a few minutes before removing from the pans. Enjoy!

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Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies

Aloha from Hawaii! My family is fortunate enough to be taking a vacation on the glorious island of Kauai, and it could not be more wonderful. We’re enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery, glittering ocean waves, a warm salty breeze and the sun! I hear it was a white Christmas back in Seattle but I’m perfectly content to have spent my Christmas snorkeling and lounging by the water.

However, I do love holiday cookie recipes, so here’s another one that I tried out before we left! I adapted the recipe from Martha Stewart, increasing the cocoa powder and using natural instead of Dutch-processed. I used candied ginger chips instead of grated fresh ginger, and I also increased the amount of sugar, since otherwise the dough was a little too bitter from the molasses. I loved the combination of ginger and chocolate, and these cookies turned out wonderfully chewy, and when they were warm from the oven the insides of the cookies were still gooey, and combined with the melty chocolate chips they were amazing. The crackly tops and the sparkly sugar make these cookies nice and festive for the holidays, although I would welcome these any time of the year! Here’s the recipe I used.

Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes about 40 cookies

Ingredients

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp natural cocoa powder

1 ½ tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cloves

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup unsulfured molasses

¾ cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

½ cup candied ginger pieces

2 tbsp granulated or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (I ended up using both)

Directions

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, spices, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and molasses until well combined. Stir in the dry ingredients and mix until well combined, then add the chocolate chips and candied ginger. Mix until the chips and ginger are evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Cover and chill at least 2 hours, or overnight. When ready to make the cookies, preheat the oven to 325˚F. Using a small cookie scoop (about 1 tbsp of dough per cookie), scoop out the dough and roll into a ball, then roll in the granulated or turbinado sugar. Flatten slightly and place on cookie sheets about 1 ½ inches apart.

Bake for 8-9 minutes, until cookies have nice crackly tops, then remove from oven and allow to cool a couple minutes before removing from cookie sheets and transferring to racks or plates to cool completely. Enjoy!

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Candy Cane Peppermint Chocolate Cake

Happy Holidays everyone! Hope every is having a good winter break, or at least a good couple weeks of winter holidays. It’s a little colder here in the bay than in LA, which is surprisingly a welcome break from the monotony of the warm SoCal weather. Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to wear shorts year round, but it is a little nice to break out those cozy winter sweaters that have been crammed into my bottom drawer all year. Although I’m sure in a week I’ll be ready to go back to sunny SoCal, but I’ll enjoy the chilliness while I’m here.

Anyway, I was in charge of making Christmas dinner this year, which was quite fun. I made sweet potato gnocchi, cheddar cheese bread, and a dish with brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and caramelized onions with goat cheese that one of my roommates made for Thanksgiving. It was delicious, so I tried to replicate it for this dinner, and it turned out pretty well. However, what’s a Christmas dinner without dessert? Not much of one, obviously. My family loves chocolate, and winter holidays scream mint chocolate to me, so I decided to make this candy cane cake from Eat Live Run, with a few small modifications.

The result was a dense, fudgey cake, which a luscious chocolate ganache coating with crisp peppermint shards for garnish, and a lovely mint flavor throughout the cake and the ganache. I even made this in the toaster oven, to minimize energy usage, so that was a nice bonus, since it’s made in a loaf pan. I will say this was not the most moist cake I’ve ever made, but it was pretty delicious, and I love anything with chocolate mint, so I was pretty jazzed about it. It’s also possible I baked it a few minutes too long, which is why it was a little more dried out than I would like. Anyway, you can try it for yourself, here’s the recipe!

Candy Cane Peppermint Chocolate Cake

adapted from Eat Live Run

Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

2 tsp peppermint extract

1 cup reduced-fat buttermilk

Ganache

1 cup bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate chips, but non-chip form will give you a smoother ganache)

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp peppermint extract

2 candy canes, crushed

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325˚F and grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a larger bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in the egg and peppermint extract until light and fluffy. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet alternately with the buttermilk and mix with a spatula until just combined. Do not overmix!

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, turning halfway through. Once a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 15-20 minutes. Loosen with a spatula then invert the cake out of the pan and place it on a plate or rack to cool completely, an hour or so.

Once the cake is cooled, prepare the ganache by bringing the cream to a simmer over low heat. Remove from heat and immediately add the chocolate, then stir until smooth. Add the peppermint extract and stir until well combined. Pour the ganache over the cake and spread into a smooth layer over the top and sides.

Crush the candy canes in a plastic bag with a meat mallet or with a rolling pin, then sprinkle over the cake. Allow to cool, so the ganache hardens into a thicker consistency. Slice and enjoy!

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