Well now this is just embarrassing. Another chocolate post? Have I no shame? I looked at my Recipes page and about one third of the dessert recipes up there involve chocolate. This from a woman who doesn’t crave chocolate.
My excuse? Chocolate is a crowd pleaser. If you show up at a dinner party with a cheesecake or a blueberry pie, there’s a chance someone in the crowd doesn’t like cheesecake or has a “thing” about blueberries (for the record, these people mystify me).
But bring something chocolate, and people will swoon. And, in my book, if you go through the effort of making dessert, you want people to swoon. So, like a guy to his favorite t-shirt, I come back to chocolate again and again.
I baked these cookies over Memorial Day to accompany an ice cream sundae bar my mom put together. They are the perfect sidekick: small enough that no one will feel guilty grabbing one to go with a sundae, yet so addictive that people will ending going back for more.
Technically, these are cookies, but they almost have the consistency of a brownie: slightly cakey, rich and bursting with chocolate flavor. In other words, crowd pleasers par excellence.
Chocolate Almond Cracks
Adapted from Kate Zuckerman
1 cup (5 ounces) blanched almonds
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (61 to 66 percent cocoa solids)
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Amaretto
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar, for dusting
1/2 cup powdered sugar, for dusting
Combine the almonds and 1 tablespoon of the flour in a food processor and grind to a fine powder. In a dry bowl, whisk together the almond powder, remaining flour and baking powder, and set aside.
In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring with a rubber spatula every 2 minutes (more often in the microwave). Remove from the heat and set aside.
Place the sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add the amaretto and the salt.
With the mixer on slow speed, add the melted chocolate to the egg mixture, whisking them together until the batter is thoroughly combined, shiny and clings to the whisk. Add the dry ingredients and whisk just until the ingredients come together smoothly. Cover the batter in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Thirty minutes before baking the cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray cookie sheets with oil and line with aluminum foil, parchment or silicone pads, or use nonstick pans.
Place the granulate sugar and powdered sugar in separate bowls. Pinch off 1-inch pieces of batter and roll into balls. Roll a few balls at a time in the granulated sugar to coat. Then, with clean, dry hands, drop the sugarcoated cookies in the powdered sugar and roll them around until they are completely coated. Arrange the cookies on your prepared cookie sheets, 1 inch apart.
Bake the cookies until they rise, done, and crack and are slightly firm when tapped, 11 to 14 minutes. If you continue to bake these cookies after they have finished rising, the result will be a drier cookie. If you underbake the cookies, they will flatten out as they cool, but they will still be delicious.
The cookies will keep in a sealed container for about 4 days.
Yield: ~ 4 dozen cookies