Advent 20: Make Something


More specifically, make these Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. I stood in the kitchen and ate one this morning, involuntarily closing my eyes. I am a Cookie Snob (my mom’s cookies have spoiled me forever) so my bar is high. These jumped way over that bar. Inside, they are like the best brownies you’ve ever eaten. Outside, their thin crackly crust makes you never want to settle for a brownie again.

I don’t post many recipes anymore for a few reasons. When my kids were younger, recording my kitchen escapades was a perfect outlet for my extroverted self. Now, with a busy consulting practice and kids with full lives of their own, I find myself returning to a rotation of standards: rice and beans, tortilla soup, pho, taco bar or burrito bowls in many variations, pasta, salad bar. Lots of sheet pan and instant pot dinners. They are usually all delicious, but I’m pretty convinced cyberspace doesn’t need me posting me about them. I’ve been blogging here for 10 years, and a lot has changed since then. Food blogging gave me an excuse to talk about life, and it turns out I’m a lot more into that.

But getting into the kitchen is always fortifying for me. On Sundays, I wash and prep vegetables, hard boil eggs, make soup, clean the fridge. There are a million ways to put something into the world, and cooking is mine.

Increasingly, many of us find we are becoming consumers instead of creators. This is stultifying. We are made to create things. We are made to contribute to the tumultuous cycle of life and death, to add our little bit to the mix. When we keep ingesting things without a proportionate output, things get clogged. My metaphor for this has long been a juicer. When I’m stuffing produce down the chute of my juicer, I have to open the spout! It has to have somewhere to go! If not, all of that gorgeous juice gets clogged and spills out on the counter. For the last few years, my mantra has been “Out of juicer and into the cup.” Certainly cooking isn’t the only way to do that, but it’s a damn practical and delicious way.

Okay. You are probably ready to make these cookies. They are from Cooks Illustrated. Put some music on and have fun.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Makes 2 dozen.

1 cup flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
4 tsp. instant espresso powder (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 Tb. butter
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar.

Heat oven to 325. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.

Whisk brown sugar, eggs, espresso powder (if using), and vanilla together in large bowl. Combine chocolate and butter in a bowl and microwave at low power, stirring occasionally, until melted, 2-3 minutes.

Whisk chocolate mixture into egg mixture until combined. Fold in flour mixture until no dry streaks remain. Let dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Place granulated and powdered sugars in separate shallow dishes. Working with 2 Tb. dough at a time, roll into balls. Drop balls directly into granulated sugar and roll to coat. Batter will very sticky and annoying. Don’t worry. This is right. Transfer dough balls to powdered sugar and roll to coat evenly. Evenly space dough balls on prepared sheet.

Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, until puffed and cracked and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), about 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cool completely on sheet before serving or storing.