Holiday Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
The Holidays are officially upon us! One thing I really appreciate are the little pre-Christmas holidays that are celebrated in some European countries. Take, for example, Saint Lucia (December 13th) in Sweden where the oldest daughter wakes up before dawn to prepare an elaborate breakfast for her parents then dons a crown of candles and serves them breakfast in bed. A lovely family-oriented (and potentially pyrotechnic!) celebration. Or the feast of Saint Ambrose (December 7th, this Friday!) where the Milanese stroll the downtown holiday arts and crafts market drinking "vin brulee". Or December 6th, Saint Nicholas' Day where my Mom back in Chicago would have us kids put our shoes on the back porch and over night Saint Nick would come and fill the shoes with little treats. It was a prelude to Christmas stocking stuffers. Let's not forget Hannukah starts December 5th this year. Kwanzaa starts on December 26th, a.k.a. Boxing Day. Winter solstice is December 22nd and if you plan some pagan dancing 'round a bonfire, I do suggest the vin brulee to keep you warm.
Whatever holiday you'll be celebrating, here are some easy and dramatic-looking chocolate crinkle cookies that you can make quickly to help celebrate.
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 egg, lightly beaten
granulated sugar powdered sugar, separate for double dusting.
Combine the dry ingredients (the first 6) in a large bowl. Add the softened butter and mix with one hand until the butter has been incorporated fully. Add the eggs and mix until it all just comes together. The dough should be barely wet enough to incorporate all the dry ingredients. Refrigerate until the dough is very stiff, about 1/2 hour. In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees, set up a small bowl full of the powdered sugar, and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Take the stiff dough out of the freezer and scoop out the dough scant tablespoonful by scant tablespoonful rolling each through the granulated sugar and then the powdered sugar. No dark should show through the white sugar coating. Music to manipulate stiff Christmas cookie dough by: "White Christmas" by N. Irish punk band, Stiff Little Fingers". Enjoy! Place balls of dough 2 inches apart. If the balls of dough fade from stark white to gray (due to the thawing of the dough) roll in extra powdered sugar. You're going for black and white crinkly contrast and black and gray just doesn't have the same striking effect.
Place immediately into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.