I love when cookies prove me wrong. It doesn't happen terribly often as my knack for glancing at a cookie and knowing that it's over-baked only gets better with age, but it happened today.
I've seen these cookies around town, generally at this time of year when they join the ranks of Christmas cookies everywhere, but I've always kept my distance. I only had one encounter with them before, an awkward college night (as most awkward things go) when my roommate brought a plastic tub of them to our dorm room. Her friend's mother had baked them for her and packed them up on her way to visit, which is a nice gesture, only the cookies were left in the hot car for hours and continued baking under the heat of the early September sun, so they were more like hockey pucks than cookies.
I tapped the cookie on my desk and watching it bounce right off the wood, and bouncing is something a cookie should never do, so I immediately passed and decided I'd protect my fragile teeth and risk hurting her feelings. My cookie snobbery has probably cost me quite a few friends in my lifetime, but life is too short to eat bad cookies. That's just how it is.
My friend Sara asked me if I had ever made these cookies not too long ago, and my mind immediately switched to those hockey pucks, and I thought I might pass her along a recipe I'd never tried and wish her the best. Naturally, I felt like a big fat hypocrite sending her in blind like that, and I can't afford to lose any more friends over cookies, so here we are.
These cookies go by several different names - chocolate quakes, crinkles, or those-black-and-white-crinkly-looking cookies, but I think they are actually brownies masquerading about as cookies. I was a little skeptical at first since these cookies don't have butter in them but a bit of oil instead, but carry on and you'll be rewarded with a chewy, chocolaty cookie swathed in a cloud of powdered sugar that melts into a glaze once it hits your tongue. They're a bit like a magic trick, going into the oven totally coated in white only to split open and move about like tectonic plates in the oven, revealing cracks and crevices of chocolate cookie underneath.
Two things - don't skimp on the powdered sugar and don't leave them in the hot car. Then you'll be out of cookies and out of friends.
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup confectioners' sugar, for coating
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and sugar. Add the cooking oil, eggs and vanilla and stir until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients except for the confectioners' sugar. Stir again until no more flour is visible. The dough will be very thick and shiny, more like a brown batter than a cookie dough. Chill the dough for at least 3 hours and up to 24 and it will firm up.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Working with one batch at a time, scoop the cookie dough into 2 tablespoon sized scoops (about the size of a ping-pong ball) and roll in the powdered sugar to coat. You will need to coat it with more powdered sugar than you think - it should be clumped up around the dough. Avoid shaking off the excess powdered sugar, without a thick coating, the sugar will absorb into the dough and you'll have muddy-brown cookies instead of a sharp black and white contrast. Be sure to only scoop out the amount of dough you will need for a single cookie sheet as they will need to go straight into the oven without sitting.
Place the coated cookie dough onto the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the edges are barely crisp and the centers are puffed. Be sure not to over bake the cookies or they'll be too crisp and you'll miss out on their wonderfully chewy brownie-like texture. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
The cookies will keep in an airtight container for about 5 days.