Monday, December 03, 2007

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.


Anonymous Ellie the Kitchen Wench said...

They are quite gorgeous! And as much as I love all holiday traditions, as the eldest daughter in my family, I'm *really* glad that I didn't grow up in Sweden...especially considering how accident-prone I am (o_O)

Ellie @ Kitchen Wench

11:47 PM  
Blogger Cherry said...

The last few weekends have gone by with no baking in our house, and this weekend this MUST change. I must have baking for it to be time for the holidays! I must also freak out about a few tiny little details about nothing really important. It's just how I celebrate!

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great recipe, Susan. I have lots of cookie tins to fill :)

12:48 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Ellie, As a first daughter, I hear ya! I'd hate to start off a day as the centerpoint in a Christmas-y festival and end up like Michael Jackson in a Pepsi commercial.

Hi Cherry,

Yep! Two musts for the holidays: Baked goodies and STRESS! Have fun this weekend!

Thanks Maryann, have fun baking!

2:42 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I grew up in Germany and the candle ring was very traditional in my town as well. I had almost forgotten about picking wax out of my sister's long hair!

How would you classify the country of origin for these cookies?


6:24 PM  
Blogger Proud Italian Cook said...

Susan, You just gave me another cookie to make, I'm getting my list of ingredients ready so I can go shopping, unfortunately NOT tomarrow cause as I write this I"m watching 5" of snow fall!!

5:29 AM  
Blogger Stelle in Italia said...

i love all of the holidays around Christmas as well! these cookies look great!


8:50 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Chris, Wow I didn't know that St. Lucia was calebrated with a crown of flames in germany too! Glad your sister never had any accidents. As far as the nationality of the cookies is concerned, I believe they're American whatever that means. An irish friend told me they tasted like American cookies since they were crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Marie, Wow! 5 inches of snow, how festive! I'm glad 'cause I'm coming home for Christmas in a couple weeks.

Hi Jackie, In Milan we get St. Ambrose (no work this Friday!) but just outside the city they don't celebrate it. Do you generally get the Immacolata off?

12:15 PM  
Blogger Loulou said...

Great cookie recipe to add to my list of treats to make in the next couple weeks.
Thanks for sharing!

4:15 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

My sister is such a kickass chef. So when you coming to town?!

8:21 PM  
Blogger Figs Olives Wine said...

Great recipe - I really look forward to trying these. It's my favorite time of year - great post!

9:51 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Loulou, I hope you like them!

Hey Bri! I'm coming in on the 20th. Will you be home for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? I'm making dinner.

Hi Figs, I love the holidays too! Let me know if you try these.

8:18 AM  
Blogger nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

This used to be my favorite time of year. I'm feeling a little homesick. Maybe I need to make some cookies to get into the spirit!

3:31 AM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

my mom makes a great version of chocolate crinkle cookies with a secret ingredient: cottage cheese! a great way to sneak nutrition to picky children, huh?

2:29 PM  
Blogger Kimba said...

Have a fabulous trip home for the holidays!

Here's a take on Christmas in Holland, told by that awesome storyteller, David Sedaris:


7:55 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hey Ragazza, Oh! Don't be homesick! I find that making Christmas cookies is pretty therapeutic for that.

Hi Melissa, Wow! I suppose she grinds the cottage cheese into the batter? Does it replace butter?

Hi Kimba, I just read the Sedaris piece. He never fails to make me laugh out loud. Thanks for that!

10:58 AM  
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11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how much is half a stick of butter? because i don have stick buter so..?

8:45 PM  

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