Let the Christmas cookie experiments begin! I plan to make several cookie recipes over the next couple of weeks in my quest for the very best. My first recipe choice was Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps from the December 2003 issue of Everyday Food. (The recipe can also be found in the Holiday 2006 issue.)
I started by making the dough. The recipe calls for 4 ounces of chocolate, melted and cooled, so that was my first step. I microwaved the chocolate in stages until it was smooth, and then allowed it to cool 20 minutes. While it cooled, I whisked together some flour, baking cocoa, instant espresso powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, I beat half a stick of butter and some brown sugar until light and fluffy using a hand mixer. I beat in 1 egg, and then mixed in the cooled chocolate.
Next, I gradually mixed in the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, etc.) with my mixer on low speed. When everything was just combined, I beat in 1 tablespoon of milk. At this point, the dough was finished, and it needed to be transferred to the freezer to firm up. The dough had a consistency like chocolate buttercream frosting, so I spooned it onto some plastic wrap, formed it into a disk, and wrapped it up.
I pulled the dough out 45 minutes later and formed it into 18 1-inch balls. I put the cookies on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Each dough ball had to be rolled in powdered sugar twice. At this point, you can’t even tell these will be chocolate cookies!
I put my oven racks in the two center notches and baked the cookies for 12 minutes at 350 F, rotating the baking sheets (top to bottom, front to back) halfway through the baking time. I transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.
These cookies were really good. They’re slightly crisp at the edges and soft and fudge-y in the middle. They took some time, but a large part of that was letting the chocolate cool and freezing the dough. I’ll make these again.
TIPS: Stay on the small side when making your dough balls. If they’re too big, they spread out quite a bit and the cracked top isn’t as pretty. Also, I found this to be another really sticky dough. I tried Pam, butter, and moist hands, but I still ended up wearing quite a bit.
Recipe link: Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps