Sometimes you just need a cookie, and when the urge hits, these rich and decadent Dark Chocolate Bourbon Crackle Cookies will really hit the spot!
Delicate with a crunchy exterior and soft, almost creamy centers, these are elegant and perfect for afternoon teas or finishing a lovely dinner with an espresso. Surprisingly light, it is hard not to eat one after another. That’s why David Lebovitz, their creator, called them “crack” cookies. You can find the original recipe in his cookbook, Ready for Dessert – a must have for your cookbook library!
The tops of these crack in a much more delicate manner than traditional crinkle cookies. If you’ve ever been in a French bakery and seen the cream puffs with a decorative topping (called craquelin), that is exactly what these cookies remind me of. Little pillows of heaven.
I love the flavor and texture that the almond meal adds to every bite. It is subtle, not necessarily even noticeable if you didn’t know what was in them. It adds an extra touch of richness that makes these delectable.
If you’ve made a lot of cookies, this recipe will surprise you. When you put the bowl in the refrigerator to rest and chill, the dough is more like a thick batter. After an hour or two the dough comes out more like a truffle filling. A spring-loaded scoop makes it easy to form the dough into balls and having them all the same size helps with even baking.
For as dark as the dough is, the beaten eggs make these cookies light and moderately chocolate-flavored. This is not a cookie that is going to hit you over the head with a burst of chocolate, it is much more understated. I used semisweet chocolate and I think if you use a 70% bittersweet it would be much richer. I’m going to try that next time.
David recommends eating these the day they are baked and I understand why. They will be at their lightest and airiest the first day. As they sit they will absorb moisture from the air and become chewier. Still delicious, just a different texture. I like them both ways but they rarely last long enough for there to even be a discussion, LOL.
Happy Chocolate Monday, have a wonderful week!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
If you don’t already have several in different sizes, now is the time to buy spring-loaded ice cream scoops. They will last year after year and seldom need replacing, even with regular use. These are gadgets that will pay for themselves the first time you use them because of the time they will save you!
I have scoops in graduated sizes for different projects. In addition to portioning dough, I use mine to scoop cake batter into cupcake molds, make muffins, fill individual bread puddings, transfer ingredients from one bowl to another or into a skillet for cooking, and so much more. Definitely indispensable in my kitchen!
For those with celiac or high sensitivity to dark alcohol, you can either leave it out or substitute vodka plus 1/2 tsp brown sugar to approximate the flavor. The distillation process destroys gluten but some distillers add caramel coloring which often does contain gluten and may be the source of your discomfort.
- 8 oz (225g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 tbsp (45g) unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp bourbon, coffee, or vodka (add 1/2 tsp brown sugar with the vodka; see note above)
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
- Extra granulated sugar, for coating the cookies
- Confectioners' sugar for coating the cookies, optional
- Combine the dark chocolate, butter, and bourbon in a heatproof medium bowl. Set the bowl in a 10-inch skillet filled with about an inch of simmering water. Gently melt the chocolate and butter, stirring frequently once the chocolate has softened. When the chocolate has melted, use a hot pad to remove the bowl from the water bath. Whisk until smooth, all the chocolate is melted, and the bourbon is fully incorporated. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, place the almond meal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until the almond meal is fully combined with the flour and there are no streaks. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your heavy-duty stand mixer, combine the eggs and sugar. Using the whisk attachment, whip until the mixture forms a well-defined ribbon, about 5 minutes. If you are using a less powerful mixer, this step will take longer. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the melted chocolate mixture, mixing until it is fully incorporated and there are no streaks. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined and all the dry ingredients are blended in. Scrape the bowl one more time to be sure you have everything combined and there are no hidden dry ingredients or chocolate.
- Cover and refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 2 hours. If you chill it in a metallic bowl (like the bowl from a KitchenAid mixer) it may chill faster. If the dough gets too stiff, let it stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes or until it is easy to scoop.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Pour the granulated sugar into a shallow dish and set next to the baking sheets. If you are using the confectioners' sugar, place it in a second bowl next to the other sugar.
- Scoop the chilled dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the regular sugar, coating thoroughly, and then, if desired, coat them with the confectioners' sugar. Place on the baking sheets about 1-inch apart to allow for spreading.
- Bake for 8 minutes then spin the baking sheets front to back and continue baking for another 6 to 8 minutes. Cookies will be slightly firm on the edges and fairly soft in the centers - don't overbake them. Pay attention, it is very easy to burn chocolate cookies!
- Let the delicate cookies cool on the sheet pan until firm enough to move, a minute or two, then use a thin spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Though still delicious a few days later, these cookies are best eaten the day they are baked.
- MAKE AHEAD: The dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month. When ready to bake, set them sit out about 30 minutes to soften slightly.
- To make them easier to bake a few at a time, form the dough into balls and roll them in the granulated sugar. Freeze in airtight resealable plastic bags. When ready to bake, thaw for 30 minutes, coat in confectioners' sugar or more granulated sugar, and bake as directed.
- Yield: about 3 dozen 2-inch cookies
Create a New Tradition Today!
Welcome! If you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, need to alter a recipe for gluten-free, or want recipe suggestions, don’t hesitate to ask. Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material from The Heritage Cook without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, please contact me. The suggestions here are not intended as dietary advice or as a substitute for consulting a dietician, physician, or other medical professional. Please see the Disclaimers page for additional details. Thanks for visiting The Heritage Cook!