It’s finally here! If you follow me on Twitter (@chewnibblenosh) or take a peek at my Facebook page every once in a while, you may have heard me mention how excited I was to be a part of the first annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Thanks to our hosts, Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen, myself and over 600 food bloggers from across the country (and Canada!) participated in a cookie swap of massive proportions over the past couple of weeks. Each participant baked a batch of cookies and then sent a dozen to three other participants, Secret Santa style.
In return, my name was given to three other bloggers who were asked to send me a dozen of their favorite cookie creation. I received beautiful Apricot Kolache from Colleen at Brunchner and perfect, old-fashioned Peanut Butter cookies from Jessica and Kevin at Little House. Big Heart. At press time, I’m still waiting on that third package, but the two that I did receive were delicious!! Be sure to check out their blogs, if you have a chance. There are so many good food blogs out there, and every one is just a little bit different from the next!
You’re probably thinking, “Why should I care that Christine got some cookies in the mail?” Well, I wish I could share the wonderful cookie packages I received with you,I really do… but I can’t. We’ve eaten them.
What I can do, though, is offer you a link to every cookie recipe that was a part of the swap! You’ll have to wait just a couple more days for that, though. (Sorry!) The food blog world will be bombarded with cookie swap recipes today. Our hosts are going to compile the information and will share a link with me in the next few days where we can all access all of the recipes! I’ll pass on the link to you as soon as I get my hands on it.
It’s like one stop Christmas Cookie recipe shopping! Whether you need one cookie idea, or one-hundred, it should be fun to browse through.
Now, onto my recipe. I’ve only made this cookie for the past couple of years, but it has quickly become a family favorite and will be around for many years to come. Both of my little girls love it and would probably be OK with me limiting my baking to just this cookie all year round. My husband doesn’t even really like chocolate and these are one of his favorite cookies. They are a twist on a traditional chocolate crackle cookie. Deep, dark, chewy, and chocolately with just a hint of orange.
Before the mixing begins, you’ll need to get a couple of things in order. You’ll need to melt 1/2 lb. of bittersweet chocolate and let it cool for a bit before mixing it into the dough, so that should be the first thing you do. I use two of the large Ghirardelli bittersweet bars that you can find in the baking section. You’ll also need to zest an orange. It’s amazing what the zest from one orange can do to a cookie!
From this point, you’ll mix together a deliciously rich cookie dough.
Dry ingredients will be whisked together,
and eventually added to a decadent mixture of brown sugar, butter, cocoa, orange, the melted chocolate, vanilla, and eggs. Once it’s all mixed together, you’ll add some chocolate chips.
At this point in the recipe, I like to chill the dough for a bit. You don’t have to, but I’ve found that it’s easier to roll the cookie dough into balls if it’s chilled a little while.
I use my cookie scoop to scoop uniform amounts and then I roll the dough into balls and coat them in sugar before putting them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
The cookies bake for 11-12 minutes and, before you know it, you’ll have beautifully cracked chocolate cookies with a unique taste that will knock your socks off.
This is one of my favorite cookies to bake around the holidays and I chose it to share during the cookie swap because they actually taste better a day or two after you bake them! Don’t get me wrong, they are delicious fresh out of the oven, but the orange flavor really settles in over the next couple of days. They are chewy and rich, but not so rich that you won’t want another.
I really enjoyed being a part of this year’s Food Blogger Cookie Swap! Thank you to the hosts and to all of the wonderful bloggers I’ve connected with during this process! As the new blogger on the block, this has really been a great experience. I can’t wait to be a part of it again next year!
DARK CHOCOLATE-ORANGE CRACKLES
Adapted from Fine Cooking
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 lb. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled until just barely warm
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350*. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), beat the butter, brown sugar, orange zest, cocoa, and vanilla until well combined, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the melted chocolate and mix until blended, about 1 minute.
- Gradually mix in the flour mixture on low-speed until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. (At this point, you can chill the dough, if desired.)
- Shape the dough into 1 1/4 inch balls with a cookie scoop or two tablespoons. (At this point, the balls of dough can be frozen, if desired. Just thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before continuing with the recipe.)
- Pour the sugar in a small dish and roll the balls of dough in the sugar before placing, 2 inches apart, on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for 11-12 minutes, until puffed and cracked on top. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before moving them to a rack to cool completely. Makes approx. 5 dozen