During high school, I had 4 good friends named “Sarah,” though, one was actually named “Sara.” One year, at Sarah #2’s birthday, we had the most marvelous cookies I had ever tasted. I don’t know where they came from, but I have spent the subsequent 15 years trying to find out what they were called and getting a recipe for them. Last night, at my sister-in-law’s, I completed my baking quest and found out they are called crackle cookies. What’s great is that if you search google for “crackle cookies” you find pictures and recipes up the ying yang. If only I had known the name, I could have saved myself from years of heartache over the cookies I loved and met only once up to this time. My sister-in-law graciously provided me with her recipe, and not at all unsurprisingly, I didn’t have all of it in my pantry. If there were no substitutions I could make, I would have to start keeping additional things in my pantry for random days when I want to make these cookies. It being Christmas day, it’s unlikely I could have found a store open to sell me the additional ingredients. Fortunately, they substitutions were easy and made no substantive difference, except that my cookies came out chewier than hers. I’m glad: the chewy chocolaty center contrasted with the crispy outside had been my favorite part. Here is a crackle cookie recipe made up of things I do actually keep in my pantry.
2 tablespoons shortening
1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Melt shortening in a 1 quart sauce pan and mix it with the cocoa. Remove it from heat and allow it to cool.
In a medium mixing bowl, blend the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla. Add the cocoa and shortening mixture. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix it well. Refrigerate it for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour a little confectioner’s sugar in a small mixing bowl and pour a little confectioner’s sugar on your hand above the bowl. Rub your hands together so the sugar falls into the bowl. (Less mess this way.) Roll the dough into 1-inch balls with your hands and roll them around in the confectioner’s sugar. Place them at least 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. (I use silpats on my cookie sheets to avoid sticking, but you can use a greased cookie sheet instead.) Bake them for 8-10 minutes. (Ensure’s the gooey center, and the outsides crunch up as they cool anyways.) This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies.