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 after 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 and rich looking 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 more chocolatey. I’m going to try that next time.
David recommends eating these Dark Chocolate Bourbon Crackle Cookies 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!
How to make Dark Chocolate Bourbon Crackle Cookies:
- Melt together the dark chocolate, butter, and bourbon, whisking until smooth
- Whisk together the almond meal, flour, baking powder, and salt
- Whisk the eggs and sugar about 5 minutes until they form a ribbon when you lift the whisk
- Mix in the chocolate mixture then the dry ingredients, scraping the bowl between additions
- Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until dough is firm
- Form into balls, roll in sugar and bake at 325°F for 14 to 16 minutes
- These cookies are best on the day they are baked
Do I have to use bourbon?
No, you do not need to use bourbon if you are avoiding dark alcohol. You can replace it with brewed coffee or vodka plus 1/2 tsp brown sugar. If you are baking for someone with celiac or very high sensitivity, it is always wise to ask them if they can tolerate a small amount of alcohol in their baking. When in doubt, use coffee to be extra safe.
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. I have scoops in graduated sizes for different projects. These are gadgets that will pay for themselves the first time you use them because of the time they will save you just making cookies!
Key Ingredients for this Recipe
- Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- Unsalted butter
- Bourbon, coffee, or vodka (with 1/2 tsp brown sugar)
- Almond meal
- All-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
- Baking powder and salt
- Granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar
Kitchen Tools I Use to Make This Recipe (affiliate links)
- Heatproof bowl
- Stand mixer
- Chef’s knife, to chop the chocolate
- Baking sheets
- Parchment paper sheets
For those with high sensitivity to dark alcohols, you can either leave the bourbon 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 may contain gluten and could be the source of your discomfort. You can also leave the alcohol out entirely and use brewed coffee instead.
- 8 oz (225g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 tbsp (45g) unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp bourbon, coffee, or 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 and/or confectioners' sugar, for coating the cookies
- Combine the chocolate, butter, and bourbon in a heatproof medium bowl. (Note: add 1/2 tsp brown sugar if using vodka.) In a 10-inch skillet with about an inch of simmering water in it, set the bowl of chocolate. Gently melt the chocolate and butter, stirring frequently once the chocolate has softened. When the chocolate has melted, 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 together until there are no streaks. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your 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 have the dough in a metallic bowl 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.
- Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop, portion the chilled dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the granulated sugar, coating thoroughly, and then, if desired, roll them in the confectioners' sugar. Place on the baking sheets about 2-inches 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 for a total of 14 to 16 minutes. Cookies will be slightly firm on the edges and fairly soft in the centers. Pay attention, it is very easy to burn chocolate cookies!
- Let the delicate cookies cool on the sheet pan a minute or two until firm enough to move, 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, let them sit out at room temperature 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. This way you can bake as many or as few as you like and have hot, fresh-from-the-oven cookies any time!
The original recipe is from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 112Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 87mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 3g
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This post was first shared in July 2017. The article was updated in 2020.