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Funny isn't it, how somehow there is a perception that I can make up something by just looking at photos over the internet? :) I am flattered that people see me as that, but unfortunately, things do not happen magically like that for me. I had no hesitation, however, about experimenting because my family loves chocolate crinkles and would welcome them anytime, anyday.
What do I consider the perfect chocolate crinkle? In terms of appearance, a perfect chocolate crinkle should have the cracked top. Some crinkles look as if they have just been coated in powdered sugar, with little or no cracks at all. Another thing is that it should not be flat like a normal cookie but should have a slight rounded top. Lastly, it should be a deep, dark brown colour. The colour does give one a sense of how chocolately something is. A light brown crinkle, to me, isn't as enticing to eat.
In terms of taste and texture, on the other hand, a perfect chocolate crinkle should have a slight crunch on the outside but have a soft, moist, fudgy texture on the inside. And of course, it should be as chocolatey as it looks!
Having said all of the above, I set my sights on making the perfect chocolate crinkle. As always, I didn't just want to find a recipe on the internet then copy it onto here. I looked at several recipes, took different elements from them, combined what I thought would work and experimented. Bingo! I seriously believe I hit the jackpot on the first try...It must be magic after all!
1. Use a good-quality Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Natural cocoa such as the popular Hershey's brand (although having a deeper chocolate flavour) is lighter in colour. Just for comparison, have a look at the photo below.
I have two kinds of Dutch-processed cocoa powder on hand - Van Houten (made in Belgium) and Droste (made in the Netherlands). Notice the different shades. I used the darkest one (Droste) for my crinkles.
2. The size of eggs you use will have an effect on how firm or how soft your cookie dough will be. Use eggs that weigh around 60g (in the shell), give or take 2-3 grams. Normally, eggs of this size would be labelled as LARGE but that varies from country to country.
3. If you absolutely cannot find chocolate extract, just omit it and use 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in total instead. But if you know where to buy it, I suggest you get one! It will make a difference.
4. As soon as you have rolled the dough and coated them in icing sugar, bake them immediately. The colder and firmer the dough is as it goes into the oven, the less it will spread and the more defined the cracks will be. Also, if you let the dough sit out for long, the icing sugar will begin to absorb into it and you don't really want that.
Are you excited now? Let's bake the perfect chocolate crinkles, shall we?
CHOCOLATE CRINKLES (makes about 36 cookies)
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil
4 large eggs (~60g @)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp chocolate extract
Around 1 cup sifted icing sugar (confectioner's/powdered sugar)
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine thoroughly.
In another bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, coffee, sugars, and vegetable oil.
Beat in the eggs one at a time. (I just used a wooden spoon for this. No need for a mixer.)
Stir in the extracts.
Mix in the flour mixture just until well incorporated.
Cover the bowl, and chill for 30-45 minutes in the freezer or until firm enough to handle easily.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone mat.
Roll dough into 1 1/2" balls. (I used my cookie dough scoop to measure out my dough but you can just use a spoon and you can also form smaller or bigger balls, it's up to you.)
Coat each ball in icing sugar then place onto prepared baking tray.
Return covered bowl of dough to the freezer.
Bake IMMEDIATELY in preheated oven for about 12-13 minutes. (For 1" balls, bake for about 10-12 minutes. For a 2" ball, bake for about 14-15 minutes.) Do not overbake the cookies. Once the bottom edges start to firm up even if the tops still look underdone, take them out of the oven. If you overbake them, they will become crunchy and dry instead of chewy and moist.
Let stand on the baking tray for a minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
Repeat process of rolling dough for the next batch only when the first batch is done baking. This is important as I have already explained earlier why it is better to bake the cookies while the dough is cold and firm.
Keep cooled cookies in an airtight container or better yet, pack them in individual cello bags so you can control yourself from eating too much!
As always, your feedback is very valuable to me. Please try the recipe then let me know if you agree with me (or don't) that these are the best chocolate crinkles ever!
PS. I read that the bank crinkle was bigger than usual (like palm size) so I also tried making one large cookie.