Suzi's Blog

Kris Kringle’s Christmas Chocolate Crinkles

2013_12_23_1957

Try to say this post title five times, swiftly. Heck, just one swiftly. But Santa is packing up the sleigh and deservedly should be given treats on his journey. These cookies would be your best contribution to his busy night.

In 1978 I bought a copy of Chocolate Cookery by Mable Hoffman, published by HPBooks. It was, is, a big oversized cookbook. I was so naïve I did not know that “Cookery” meant this was a British spin the world’s favorite food.

I still have my copy. I don’t know where it is. But I do know the key recipe: Chocolate Crinkles. To find the recipe for this season, I googled and found many recipes. The one below, from King Arthur Flour, is very close to the original. It uses butter, not oil [God only knows why people bake with oil]. And, very importantly, this calls for refrigerating the cookie dough for hours, if not overnight.

These little buds of flavor are soft, tender, succulent and a necessity for life.

I, of course, was prepared to make them end-to-end but when it came to scooping out the dough, rolling in powdered sugar, and getting a perfect shape, Suzen had a comment: “I’ll do it.”

It seems that she thinks that I am sloppy in the kitchen. It’s almost Christmas. I let her have her way. I let her get her hands sticky with dough. Let her lick her fingers. Let her lick the powdered sugar that clung to the dough on those fingers. Let her do it all.

It’s better to give than receive. Although, at this jealous moment, I do have some other considerations. This is a perfect cookie to make with your kids. It teaches them patience: you have to refrigerate that dough. It teaches them dexterity: they have to roll the balls of dough [or shake them] in powdered sugar. It teaches them sanitary skills: they have to lick their fingers.

As a former teacher, Suzen agrees.

Mostly.

 

Kris Kringles Christmas Chocolate Crinkles 

Yield: about 4-5+ dozen depending on big you make them [smaller is better]

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces, 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (4 3/4 ounces) sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cups (7 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • confectioners’ sugar* (for coating)

Preparation:

For the dough, place the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, and heat or microwave till the butter melts. Remove it from the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, vanilla and espresso powder. Stir in the chocolate mixture, baking powder and salt, then the flour. Chill the dough for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight; it’ll firm up considerably.

To shape the cookies, put about a cup of confectioners’ sugar into a shallow bowl. Using a teaspoon-sized cookie scoop, a spoon, or your fingers, scoop out heaping “teaspoon-sized” portions of the dough; they should be roughly 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Drop the dough balls into the confectioners’ sugar as you go. Once about five or six are in the bowl, shake and toss the bowl to coat the balls with the sugar. (If you try to do this with too many balls at a time, they’ll just stick together.)

To bake the cookies, place the coated dough balls on a lightly greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between them. Bake the cookies in a preheated 325°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, switching the position of the pans (top to bottom, and front to back) midway through the baking time. As the cookies bake, they’ll flatten out and acquire their distinctive “streaked” appearance. Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool on a wire rack.

Photo Information: Canon T2i, 60mm Macro lens, F/2.6 at 1/20th second and ISO 2000Source: King Arthur Flour and Mable Hoffman

 

Simplest Chocolate Mouse from James Peterson

IMG_0423

James Peterson calls this the Simplest Chocolate Mousse. No use kidding ourselves. The instructions below are direct but they may not strike you as simple. The truth is that grand mousse has those essential steps that you cannot avoid. Now, Peterson has streamlined the process, made it very clear, and presented you with a pathway that will give you something smooth, chocolate to the core, tender, delightful.

It’s worth every twist of the whisk.

 

Simplest Chocolate Mouse

Yield: 6 portions

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs, allowed to come to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons water or strong coffee
  • 1 tablespoon Cognac, Grand Marnier, marc, kirsch, or any favorite brandy or liqueur (if you don’t want to include this, add 1 more tablespoon of water or coffee to the 2 tablespoons given above)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional if you’re using a brandy or liqueur)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 ounces of the best bittersweet chocolate you can find, chopped coarse
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (unless you’re beating the egg whites in a copper bowl)

 

Preparation:

Separate the eggs, reserve the whites, and combine 4 of the egg yolks in a medium-size heat-proof mixing bowl (stainless steel is ideal) with the water, Cognac, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. (Save the extra 2 egg yolks for something else or throw them out.) Set the bowl on top of a small saucepan of simmering water, but don’t let the bowl touch the water. Whisk the egg mixture until you begin to see the bottom of the bowl. Be sure you keep the whisk moving over the whole surface of the bowl or the eggs will overheat in those spots not touched by the whisk, and they’ll curdle. Take the bowl off the saucepan, immediately add the chocolate and butter and whisk until the mixture is smooth. If necessary, return the bowl to the saucepan of hot water to fully incorporate the ingredients.

Combine the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a mixing bowl (if you’re using a copper bowl, skip the cream of tartar). Beat the whites with a whisk (or the whisk attachment on an electric mixer) until the whites are fluffy and have formed soft peaks, 4 to 7 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue beating until the whites are smooth and stiff, 2 to 3 minutes more, depending on whether you’re beating by hand or with the electric mixer. To make sure you’ve beaten them enough, hold the whisk above the bowl. The whites should form a point that sticks straight out and doesn’t sag.

Whisk about one-fourth of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture until the mixture is smooth and you see no traces of white. (This is to lighten the mixture so it will fold more evenly into the chocolate mixture.) Pour this chocolate mixture over the beaten whites and fold together by cutting into the mixture with a plastic spatula, sliding the spatula along the bottom of the bowl (where the chocolate settles), and folding the chocolate over the whites. When the mousse is well combined, with no streaks of egg white, scoop it out into a large, pretty serving bowl or into individual bowls or ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap down so that it touches the surface of the mousse (otherwise a dark film will form). Chill the mousse in the refrigerator for 2 to 12 hours. Mousse will keep in the fridge for at least 3 days.

 

Source: Glorious French Food by James Peterson