Brown sugar chocolate crackle cookies (no butter)

So I am back in town for just two days between interview trips, and I've been really missing my baking. But when I went to scour the cupboards and the fridge, I realized that I had only 1 tablespoon of the essential baking ingredient: butter. I wasn't quite ready to give up, so I searched high and low until I found a cookie recipe that uses no butter, but wasn't lame like no-bake cookies or laden with rich peanut butter. Brown sugar chocolate crackle cookies (that's a mouthful!). The name is actually a little bit misleading, as the cookies are neither crunchy, nor predominantly brown sugar-flavored. They do use brown sugar, but they are a little bit crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, very chocolatey and nutty, kind of like brownies but not as dense, and they have this great sugar crust that "cracks" as the cookie is baking, thus the name "crackle" cookies. So the next time you run out of butter (or just want to make a cookie that is probably healthier than others), give these a shot. With a glass of milk, I promise they hit the spot! :)

Brown Sugar Chocolate Crackle Cookies (makes 2 dozen)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sifted confectioner's sugar

1. Melt the chocolate chips and combine with brown sugar and oil.

2. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Stir in vanilla.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, stir just until mixed. Stir in chopped nuts.

4. Freeze batter for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease baking sheets (I used my tiny bit of butter for this).

5. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in confectioner's sugar to coat. Place them 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

6. Bake for 10-14 minutes, until the centers no longer look wet and the sugar coating looked cracked. Cool on wire racks.

I really liked the sugar crust on these cookies. I had been wondering what the purpose of rolling them in powdered sugar was, since I have never seen that before for other cookies prior to baking. Apparently the sugar coating melts during baking, and forms a thin even coat of sugar on the outside. If you let the cookies cool thoroughly before handling/eating them, you'll get to bite into the most delicately crunchy and satisfying but subtle sugar coating, which I think complements the rich chocolate flavor of the cookies just right. The cookie itself isn't very sweet at all, and I probably could have added some more brown sugar, but they were definitely delicious the way they were. No butter? No problem!


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