Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies

I checked out The Art and Soul of Baking from the library last week and could not WAIT to try some of the recipes. Croissants, pies, tarts.. where to start? We were having a Cinco de Mayo picnic in the park so I decided to to make these Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies.
These cookies look like normal chocolate crinkle cookies, but they’re spiced with cinnamon and ancho chile powder, and ground almonds are mixed in with the dry ingredients. These extras add an interesting little twist- I especially like the ground almonds.

Make sure you watch the clock on these- if they’re baked even a little too long, they’re dry! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies
adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking ~Sur la Table, Cindy Mushet

Ingredients
3 T unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 in pieces
1 T coffee liquer or cooled brewed coffee
6 oz 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 c granulated sugar, divided
3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole almonds, toasted and cooled
3/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t ancho chile powder (optional)

3/4 c confectioners’ sugar

1. Bring 2 inches of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Place the butter, liqueur and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Turn off the heat and set the bowl over the steaming water. Stir occasionally with a spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove and let cool while you whip the eggs.
2. Place eggs and 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Whip on high speed until very light in color and thick, about 5 minutes. Add chocolate mixture and whip until blended. about 1 minute.
3. Place the flour, nuts, cinnamon, baking powder and optional chile powder in the food processor and pulse until the nuts are very finely chopped, about 60 to 90 seconds. Add to egg mixture and beat on low just until combined. Stir gently a few times to make sure there are no patches of unincorporated flour or butter lurking near the bottom of the bowl. Cover the dough with plastic and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours until firm.
4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and position the rack in the center.
5. Scoop the chilled dough until tablespoon-size balls. Place the remaining 1/2 c granulated sugar in one small bowl, and the confectioners’ sugar in another. Roll each dough ball in the granulated sugar adn then in the confectioners’ sugar. Be sure to coat the dough generously with the confectioners’ sugar- in this instance more is better. Space the cookies 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

6. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time, rotating the sheet halfway through thebaking time, for 11 to 14 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and cracked. It is better to slightly underbake these cookies than to go too far- when overbaked they are dry and unpalatable. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

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