Christmas and cookies have been intertwined in history for centuries and these chocolate crinkle cookies always remind me of the festive season. These crinkle cookies look as though they are dusted in snow and this effect is easily achieved. You do need to plan ahead a few hours for these but they are worth waiting for. I added some extra chocolate chips just because...well you know it's almost Christmas.
For all of the Christmas presents I ever received as a child, there was one that I clearly remember receiving. It was a stocking stuffer meant to support the main gift but even now, if I reach into the darkest, cobweb lined corners of my mind and try to retrieve the memory, I have no idea what the main gift was. Like the child that likes the box over the gift, I was besotted with this small stocking stuffer.
I had woken up early. My family have always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve not for any cultural reason but because somehow we had persuaded our parents that we had to have it the day before because we couldn't wait another day. I reached into my stocking and there it was. It was a round tin with Winnie the Pooh on the front. I opened it up and there was a round of shortbread inside.
The edges were fluted and it was the palest of creams. I broke open the plastic wrapping and bit into it. The butter crumbled in my mouth - I had never tasted anything quite like it before. The only biscuits I had eaten were those staleish tasting family assorted packs that left a strange mouthfeel on your tongue. I woke my sister and she tore into her cookie. We both sat there on our beds savouring each bite. And ever since then I've loved cookies and shortbread.
In some European cultures, Christmas is a time to bring out Christmas cookies. When I visited Austria I was told that you needed to have seven types of Christmas cookies out for guests. I haven't gone that far but I do like to bake at least one type of Christmas cookie. These chocolate crinkles always seem to suggest Christmas to me. Perhaps it's the snow dusted top that spreads to reveal the chocolatey goodness underneath.
I experimented a bit to see how to best get the crackled snow effect and this was best achieved with flattening the raw dough slightly and then giving them a generous rolling in soft icing sugar. I made these extra chocoatey by adding chocolate chips to them-to me that's the only problem with chocolate cookies-that there isn't enough actual chocolate in them (spoken like a true glutton here). This recipe does make a lot so if you're trying to curb any late night cookie feasting then you can scale it down but my excuse is that I'm leaving these for Santa and he is probably really hungry by the time he gets around to us.
So tell me Dear Reader, what foods remind you of Christmas? Is there something that you look forward to every year?
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Chocolate Chip Crinkle Cookies
Makes a truckload, no seriously, it makes about 40-50 depending on the size that you roll them!
Preparation time: 20 minutes (plus 3 hours waiting time)
Cooking time: 12 minutes per batch
- 125g/4ozs. dark chocolate, melted
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1.5 cups caster or superfine sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups plain all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Fat pinch of salt
- A few drops of peppermint essence (or to taste)
- 125g/4ozs. dark chocolate buds (small, if not small, chop finely)
- 1 cup icing or powdered sugar
Step 1 - Whisk the melted chocolate with the oil. Place in a large mixing bowl along with the sugar and whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix then add the peppermint flavouring and extra chocolate buds. Place in the fridge for 3 hours. It will turn from a sloppy mix into a spoonable, firm one.
Step 2 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line three baking trays with parchment. Sift the icing or powdered sugar into a plate with sides and scoop out small balls of dough-I preferred these smaller than a walnut but don't go larger than a walnut shell. Flatten like a hockey puck (I'm rather proud of my sporting reference there, please excuse me) and roll in the icing sugar. Place on parchment and bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool on tray for at least 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a cooling rack.