03 December 2013

Chili Chocolate Crinkles

Ahhh, the first cookies of the year!  With all the festive scents of the holidays, freshly baked sweets is without a doubt my favorite.  Pine trees and cinnamon apples have nothing on the sultry combination that is flour, butter and sugar.  Especially when combined with chocolate like the hubs favorite cookie.  Known to him as Dynamite Cookies and me as Chocolate Crinkles, these always start off the holiday season.  Experience has taught me that starting with my favorite chocolate delight will only lead to him asking when the Crinkles are coming, so I like to nip that banter in the bud and start with his favorite.  Only this year, I added a little kick to his crinkle....

Chocolate and chili.  If you've never had it, oh buddy are you missing out.  If you live in Portlandia, go as fast as you can to Moonstruck Chocolates and buy one of their Dark Chocolate Chili Variado bars.  This was where my love affair with the combo begun, and how I got the hubs hooked as well.  If you still can't picture the two as delicious together, think of the last time you had chicken mole.  Did you like it?  If the answer is yes, you like chili and chocolate.  And you rock.

Crinkles on their own are absolutely phenomenal.  Soft, chewy and rich, these delightful little cookies taste just like a brownie...just forced into cookie shape.  Also like their pan counterparts, over-baking is the cardinal crinkle sin.  The cookies will still come out tasty, but as a thin crisp wafer rather than the tender morsels that Betty Crocker intended.  And as you can see above, a little chocolate pillow is much more appetizing than the pancake.  (PS - it hurt my heart to over-bake one for a visual...but it's that important!)

Now of course, we have to make a few dozen traditional crinkles as well.  To help differentiate between the spicy and classic varieties, the chili batch was dipped in red sugar sprinkles after their roll in the powdered sugar.  Red for hot...kind of duh, but also so festive!  But of course you can omit the sprinkles if you're only making one kind or the other.

These cookies been a family favorite as long as I can remember, with my mom making quadruple batches to keep up with the demands of her choco-holic children.  However much my brothers may disapprove of this variation, they received my mother's stamp of approval.  Even the traditional cookie-ists have to have seconds when a plate of these goes around.

Chili Chocolate Crinkles (makes about 30 cookies)
Modified from the Betty Crocker Cooky Book

  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 c vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 - 3 tsp tsp cinnamon*
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp chili powder*
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper*
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar, for rolling
Fill a pot with an inch of water and place over high heat.  Create a double boiler by placing the chocolate in a medium glass bowl and setting the bowl on top of the pot (but make sure the water doesn't touch the bowl).  Stir the chocolate until it completely melts, then remove from heat.  Add the oil and sugar to the chocolate and mix together well.  Mix in each egg individually and the vanilla.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, chili powder and cayenne pepper.  Whisk together well.  Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and mix together until well combined.  Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a metal baking sheet.  Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl.  Use a teaspoon to scoop dollops of the dough into the bowl of powdered sugar, rolling into balls and coating the outside with the powdered sugar.  (If at any point the dough gets too sticky, chill in the refrigerator until ready to roll again.)  Transfer the sugared dough to the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each ball.  Bake 10-12 minutes, until the cookies begin to crack on top (do NOT let them overbake!)  Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Cookies can be stored in a tin or plastic container until eaten...which won't be long.

*Add more or less spice depending on your preference! 

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