Chocolate Crackle Cookies
Is scratch baking a must, or are mix-based chocolate crackle cookies just as good?
Having signed up as a volunteer baker for my son's music program this year, I'm looking at chocolate crinkle cookies as a fairly simple but yummy, and even pretty (looks count in bake sales!) option. My past experience with these wasn't great, but I think I used the wrong recipe. What I'm going to do is try Martha Stewart's version, then another one that uses brownie mix as a base. You're probably betting, as I am, that Martha's from-scratch recipe will top the brownie mix cookies, but let's see. I'll report back on time, effort, cost & taste in this chocolate crinkle cookie duel :)
Home Baked: Martha Stewart's Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
~~ The recipe ~~
My results: Messy to make & somewhat time consuming, the dough came out delectably dark, rich & cocoa-y (yep, I tasted it -- try not to!). Once chilled it was pretty easy to work with, though the double rolling-in-confectioner's-sugar seemed a bit much. (Wouldn't it have worked just to form balls & roll those once?) I loved the homemade chocolatey taste of the finished cookies, and they were nicely moist. At the same time, they were kind of crumbly and fragile. Not to the point of not being able to serve them, but a little fussier to handle than I would have liked. I will try this recipe again but may add a bit more milk or butter to see if it firms them up while keeping the moistness.
~ Prep time: 40 minutes, not including baking & dough chilling
~ Effort: Moderate
~ Cost: about $11.50
~ Taste: Very good
~ Texture: Paradoxically moist but crumbly
Mix Based: Ghirardelli Brownie Mix Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
~~ The recipe ~~
My results: I may have cooked these a minute or two too long, as they came out somewhat dry on the bottom, while in the center/top there was a lovely rich, moist spot in each cookie. Otherwise, a nice cakey chocolate cookie, much more than a brownie-ish one. Very very easy and relatively cheap, especially compared to the Martha Stewart homemade variety. I will make these again but may add some extra chocolate chips and will definitely take them out of the oven earlier.
Update: Yep, taking them out sooner helped a lot. I actually did 3 small pansful and took each one out a minute less than the one before it. You guessed it - the third pan was the best.
~ Prep time: 15 minutes, not including baking time
~ Effort: Low
~ Cost: about $5.50
~ Taste: Good
~ Texture: A bit dry, except for a moisture, softer top center "layer"
Don't hate me for saying this, but I really think it's a tie. The Ghirardelli chocolate crackle cookies are cheap, easy & could achieve greatness with just a bit more melty chocolate inside. (Next time!) The Martha ones have that lovely homemade flavor you can never get with a mix and are moister overall, but messy & time consuming to make and a bit fragile in texture.
Have you made one of these chocolate crinkle cookie recipes? Or a different one? Share your results, please! I haven't given up on testing recipes, so suggestions are welcome :)