chocolate crackles.

for years when making cookies for cookie exchanges i always made mexican wedding cakes. i could make them in my sleep. then one year i was sick of them. sick and tired. don't get me wrong they are delicious little snowballs of butter pecan goodness that melt in your mouth and bring forth an involuntary "yuummm" from you lips but i wanted to branch out - spread my wings. so one year i did just that. armed with the new holiday martha cookie magazine {was new out that year - an old friend now} i got comfy and devoured the contents.

after dog-earing many and many a page, and going back and forth more than once, i settled on these gems here. they still portray the sense of  snowball but the centers are rich chocolatey goodness that will make you swoon - you heard me, swoon. they are made so they are the perfect bite. the perfect night cap. these have now become the norm for christmas for the past 4 years - a few new treasures accompanying them on the plate as well - and i wonder if next year i will dream of them or decide to replace them with another. only time will tell. for right now though, you will find me snuggled into the corner of the couch enjoying the glow of the christmas tree, crackle in hand.

chocolate crackles.
adapted slightly from martha stewart.

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped.
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder.
2 teaspoons baking powder.
1/4 teaspoon salt.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature.
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar.
2 large eggs, room temperature.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
1/3 cup whole milk.
1 cup granulated sugar.
1 cup icing sugar.

1) melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water {double-boiler}, stirring till smooth. set aside and let cool. sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.
2) with an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. mix in eggs and vanilla, and then the melted chocolate. reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture in two parts alternating with the milk. divide dough into 4 parts, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
3) preheat oven to 350 degrees. divide dough into one inch balls. roll in sugar to coat then in icing sugar to coat and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment about 2 inches apart.
4) bake until the surfaces crack, about 14 minutes, rotating the pans half way through. let cool on wire racks. cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in air-tight containers at room temperature up to 3 days. makes 5 dozen.

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