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Dorie’s Midnight Crackles

March 1, 2008

Midnight Crackles

My cataloging class is on Friday, and the professor assigns each student a date to bring a snack for the class. This Friday was my snack day, and you can bet your sweet tuchas that I wasn’t about to go to Shaw’s and buy a box of Keeblers. When I have an opportunity to bake for people, I jump on it. And after a week of relatively disastrous cooking experiences, I turned to Dorie Greenspan for guidance. I knew she wouldn’t steer me wrong, and she didn’t. Even though I took some (minor) detours from her recipe, these cookies were still pretty amazing, and my classmates devoured them. And they were pretty darned astonished that I made them myself, too. Baking apparently impresses people. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

I had initially planned to make the famous World Peace Cookies from Dorie’s book, but realized too late that they require a three hour time out in the refrigerator before baking, and due to my procrastination, I didn’t have three hours. But my eye was immediately turned by her Midnight Crackle cookies: deep and chocolately, with a hint of spice and clove? You mean, kind of like my favorite ice cream of all time, Mayan Chocolate? I’m on it!

Well, almost. I didn’t have clove, so I substituted a little bit of allspice. And I always have to add vanilla extract.

Vanilla extract

This is my favorite vanilla extract, but I think it’s mainly because I am a sucker for packaging. This comes in a lovely little glass bottle that is very apothecary-shop-esque. (Er, what?) I love to cook with it, and it smells like heaven and I love the way the cap sounds clinking against the glass bottle, like I am in olden times and am about to do some serious baking. I’m a huge dork

These cookies took me by surprise: The dough has an unusual, crumbly texture, and they don’t spread out too much when they bake. I wish I understood the properties of things like four and eggs so that I knew what it was that made these cookies different, but alas. I am not a food scientist. Whatever combination it was, these are excellent, and I’m glad I froze half of the dough to make more cookies later.

Unusual cookie dough

Midnight Crackles, with slight variations on the original

  • 10 T. unsalted butter (that’s one stick, plus two tablespoons)
  • 1 1/4 c. brown sugar (the recipe called for light but I only had dark)
  • about 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • a little less than 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, brown sugar, and chocolate together. Just stir it every now and then to make sure things are getting mixed together well.

Chocolate, sugar, and butter

While the chocolate is melting, sift together in a medium mixing bowl the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.

Once the chocolate mixture is melted, pour it into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well after you add each one so there are no surprise egg bits hanging out. You can probably use a mixer or something, but I was already dirtying enough dishes for a Friday morning, so I just used a wooden spoon. Once the eggs are mixed in, add the vanilla extract, and then add the flour mixture. I added it into three batches, stirring well between each addition. Just keep stirring until the flour is all mixed in and the dough starts to form a ball in the bottom of the bowl. Then divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for about an hour. I only refrigerated them for 40 minutes and they were fine.

Melted chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper, if you’re into that kind of thing. Then take one tablespoon of dough at a time, and roll it between your palms to form a smooth ball. It’ll be kind of crumbly and won’t want to come together, so just smoosh it together a bit with your hands. Place each ball on the cookie sheets about an inch apart, and smoosh them down just a little bit with your fingers.

Bake them for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tops are cracked and they are slightly flatter. Then let them cool for a few minutes before transferring them to cooling racks. (I was so excited that I finally got a chance to use mine!)

I would perhaps in the future not use allspice as they were a little too much like ginger snaps for my taste, but they have such a lovely rich chocolate flavor, and the hint of cinnamon is awesome. They have a nice, dense texture, too. People loved them. I loved them. I am already looking forward to baking up the rest of the dough. Thank you, Dorie. You have redeemed a week of otherwise disastrous kitchen experiences. My classmates thank you, too.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2008 2:37 am

    Dorie is the best!

  2. March 3, 2008 10:47 pm

    Gorgeous! How could anyone not love you if you baked them Dorie cookies?!

  3. christa permalink
    March 6, 2008 8:04 pm

    Um, excuse me, didn’t you get the memo about the new house rule that no desserts are to be created while I am out of town? Man, I’m sorry I missed these!

  4. Holly permalink
    January 22, 2009 8:11 pm

    I found your website one day while looking for recipes and I decided to make World Peace Cookies! (They were so good). I love your recipe blog and I have tried your mayan chocolate brownies recipe as well–Amazing…The best brownies ever. Thanks for putting the time into sharing your recipes!

  5. October 6, 2009 11:45 am

    its like heaven .. but better

  6. Kelly Nevins permalink
    December 7, 2009 7:12 am

    I made a mistake with the original recipe, which called for cinnamon instead of allspice. I grabbed cumin instead. Believe it or not, the cookie turned out quite good…you can taste the cumin, but it’s not bad or overpowering. I’m calling them Mexican Midnight Crackles instead. Enjoy!


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