My Recipe Box

Dark Chocolate Crackles


Yields about 5 dozen cookies.

  • To learn more, read:
    A Cookie for Every Occasion
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 89

  • 11-1/4 oz. (2-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 oz. (2/3 cup) natural, unsweetened cocoa, sifted if lumpy
  • 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled until barely warm
  • 3/4 cup (4 oz.) chopped chocolate (white, bittersweet, or semisweet)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar; more as needed
For the best results, measure your flour by weight instead of volume. (1 cup of all-purpose flour equals 4-1/2 oz.) If you don’t have a scale, be sure to use the proper technique when filling your measuring cups.
These cookies are fragile when hot, so be sure to let them cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line three large cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners.

In a medium mixing 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 mixing bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter, brown sugar, cocoa, orange zest, and vanilla on medium speed until well combined, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating briefly between additions. Add the cooled chocolate and mix until blended, about 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until almost completely blended, about 1 minute. Add the chopped chocolate and mix until blended, about 15 seconds.

Shape the dough into 1-1/4-inch balls with a small ice-cream scoop or two tablespoons.

Pour the granulated sugar into a shallow dish. Dip the top of each ball in the sugar and set the balls sugar side up about 1-1/2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake one sheet at a time until the cookies are puffed and cracked on top, 11 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Make Ahead Tips

The balls of dough may be frozen before baking for 1 month. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding with the recipe.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per cookie, Calories (kcal): 110, Fat (kcal): 5, Fat Calories (g): 45, Saturated Fat (g): 3, Protein (g): 2, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5, Carbohydrates (mg): 16, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 0, Sodium (g): 45, Cholesterol (g): 20, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: Scott Phillips

These are my daughter's favorite cookies. I have made them for years and they are always a hit. I use the darkest chocolate I can find.

I made these exactly as written. Love the orange with the chocolate. They were good cookies but not great. Be sure not to over bake - they should be slightly underbaked - they will continue to set as they cool.

These are very good cookies with interesting taste and inside/outside textures. I didn't have any oranges so I used 2 tsp of orange extract and it brought a good match to the chocolate but could have slightly overwhelmed the chocolate taste. Also used white chocolate for the chopped chocolate and added 1 tsp of instant espresso coffee to enhance the flavor. I found I could work with the dough without the need to chill it. I may make these again but maybe without the orange.

One word: Awesome!!! Baked these for a cookie contest at work and won second prize. These are so worth cooking - delicious and very chocolatly, with just a sweet hint of orange in them. Bake them, you won't be dissapointed.

Both my husband & I did not like these cookies. In fact, I threw the whole batch out.

I think these cookies are delicious. I did chill the dough before scooping with a 1.25" scoop, and the recipe made more than 6 dozen cookies. I've also varied the recipe by adding raspberry liqueur (instead of orange zest), and I've added no flavor enhancements at all (just let the chocolate stand on its own) - all are wonderful. Really a fool-proof recipe.

These are fabulous and are my favorite chocolate cookies to make. I forgo the orange zest (they really don't need it unless you like orange & chocolate). As others have said, it is best to chill the dough before scooping & rolling the dough in sugar. On another note, the cookie dough it self is quite yummy!

I make these cookies every year around Christmas, and they're one of the best. As mentioned previously, the crisp and soft textures are very pleasing as well as the orange flavour.

I made these today based on all of the 4 and 5 star ratings. They weren't bad. They just weren't 5 star. I wonder what they are basing their ratings on. I will say that the orange zest does add a really nice bit of flavor in contrast to the deep dark flavor of chocolate. They are chewy on the inside and just crispy on the outside which is also a really nice texture thing going for it. So, it's not so much that they are bad cookies, they just are the best darn cookies I ever had. They are pretty easy to prepare and once made into balls they would be easy to store in the freezer ready to bake when needed. Everyone seemed to like them but I find most people will eat pretty much any cookie offered and say nice things. They were fine. Not great. Just fine.

These cookies were really wonderful. The orange zest added a wonderful component that truly complimented the chocolate. Despite all of the chocolate in the cookie, they had a "light" flavor, not at all heavy. I made them a few days in advance, rolled them into balls and kept them in the fridge. When I was ready to bake, I coated them in sugar, put them in the oven & they came out beautifully. I will surely make these again. My kids loved them, and when I told them what the "secret ingredient" was, that made them so sweet-they were so surprised! So much for them not liking oranges.

These are yummy - found the batter to be sticky, so put it in the refrigerator while waiting for the next batch to be rolled and then cooked...froze half and glad that they freeze well,as this makes a LOT of cookies!! A keeper

These cookies were very nice. The orange zest and the nice addition of sugar on the cookie makes these a hit. They didn't last very long!

This cookie is exceptional: light and tender with a thin layer of crisp sugar on the top. It's also amazingly chocolatey with the texture of a very light brownie with little melted chocolate morsels. The hint of orange is subtle and makes for a more sophisticated cookie.

These are a huge hit with my family and are often requested. I find the cookies have a better shape if the formed, sugared balls of dough are chilled for 30 to 60 minutes before baking. The baked cookies freeze beautifully.

I needed to flour my hands to shape the dough as it was so sticky. Then the first batch should have cooked 14 minutes--adjusted for the remaining batches and they were excellent.

I've made this three times since receiving the issue - always with great success. A chocolate lovers cookie. I used chopped milk chocolate chunks to juxtapose with the dark chocolate flavors. These disappear fast.

Another great recipe from AJD. These are wonderful - the most intensely chocolate cookie, but somehow not over-the-top. These remind me of all of the good aspects of a really good brownie, but in cookie form. I've already bought more chocolate to make a second batch.

These are incredible! Sure to satisfy any chocolate lover. They freeze beautifully.

Thank you so much for this excellent recipe. Not only were they delicious, they turned out exactly as the picture shows them. I used bittersweet chocolate for the melted ingredient and semisweet chocolate chips instead of chopped - it worked well. During the baking process I used parchment on one cookie sheet and silicone on the others. I found the cookies baked better and were easier to remove from the silicone liner. Thanks again and keep up the great work.

The perfect amount of orange zest is what makes these so special. Love them.

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