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Sunday, December 18, 2011

chocolate crackle cookies -- gluten free and dairy free

as you have likely noticed, i took another blog sabbatical. unfortunately, it was unplanned and not for the most desirable of reasons. i've been dealing with some family health issues and have directed my energies toward that lately. boy, the holidays are stressful. honestly, for me, baking and cooking are forms of therapy. getting into the kitchen is so therapeutic to me. i love creating goods that people enjoy eating and i derive such pleasure when people like my food. so i finally have a new recipe AND a giveaway (see below).

i was recently home in boston for an event - and wound up taking care of family matters while i was there. to keep spirits up my mom and i exchanged our love of christmas cookies and she mentioned chocolate crackle cookies - she always knew them as brownie cookies. these moist, delicious chocolately cookies are rolled in powdered sugar before being baked off in the oven. this sparked some ideas in my mind - knowing that my mom and brother were heading out to colorado for christmas i started writing up some recipes to test (obviously, gluten and dairy free). 
nana's (revised) chocolate crackle cookies

my first attempt at these cookies was a miserable failure. they fell flat and didn't get that brownie-like consistency that i remember from my childhood. destined to make these work i went out and bought new baking power and baking soda to see if that could have potentially cause the lake of rise in the cookies. i dropped sugar content and decided to eliminate the small amount of almond flour that i had supplemented my flour blend with. the second go-round worked like a charm. they key to successfully getting these cookies to the right consistency is letting the batter mellow in the fridge for 1-2 days before baking.

two weeks ago my friends hosted an appetizer party and i brought my flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies as well as my chocolate crackle cookies - which were both well received.

fortunately, i was able to perfect this recipe just in time for christmas - and made a massive batch with my mom when she arrived in colorado. we refrigerated the dough and baked up 5 dozen of these delicious cookies the day before christmas eve. my mom thoroughly enjoyed them, as did my boyfriends nieces and nephews (which to me was a true testament that they were actually edible). i hope that everyone has had a safe and enjoyable holiday season thus far - and above all i'm wishing everyone health and peace in the new year.

rudi's gluten free swag-bag giveaway!
to enter my giveaway - let me know what your favorite holiday cookie is by commenting on this post! please be sure to include your email address so i can email you if youre picked as the winner!

chocolate crackle cookies
8 oz dairy free bittersweet chocolate chips - melted then cooled
1 1/4 c king arthur a/p gluten free flour blend (sans xanthan or guar gum)
1/2 c cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp guar gum (or xanthan gum)
1/4 tsp sea salt
8 tbsp palm or vegetable shortening - at room temp
1 1/3 c packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract - gluten free
1/3 cup of milk alternative (i used tempt unsweetened vanilla hemp milk)
1 c confectioners sugar (i used whole foods 365 brand with tapioca starch)

place bittersweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments until chips are melted, stirring between increments. place aside and let cool. in a separate bowl combine and sift together flour, salt, cocoa, baking powder, guar gum. using a hand or stand-mixer beat shortening and brown sugar together until well combined. add in eggs and vanilla until combined, then add in melted chocolate. lastly add in flour and milk alternating between the two until just combined. created four equal dough balls, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm - i let them rest for 2 days in the fridge.

preheat oven to 325. dust a clean counter top with confectioners sugar and roll our each dough ball into a log around 12 inches long ~ 1 inch diameter. then transfer to baking sheet and refrigerate another 20 minutes. remove from fridge and cut each log into 1 inch pieces - in a bowl full of confectioners sugar toss each cookie until completely coated in sugar then roll into balls in your hands - if necessary toss in sugar again. place each cookie on a parchment lined baking sheet - 2 inches apart from one another. bake until cookies start to crack open and chocolate fissures appear around ~12 minutes. remove from oven and place pan on cooling rack ~5 minutes. remove cookies from pan and let cool completely on cooling rack.