Chocolate Brownie Crackle Cookies are like a soft, chewy brownie in cookie form. Roll these bite-sized cookies in powdered sugar so that they reveal a sweet, festive cracked surface as they bake. These cookies can be frozen and baked straight from the freezer.
This has been the year of planning ahead. I’m not sure if it’s all the time cooped up at home thanks to...you know...that thing which we no longer mention by name. Or perhaps it’s the related need to control what few things I can when everything else - school, work, daycare, church, supply chains - are utterly and entirely out of my control. But for better or worse, I dove into my Christmas cookie baking and testing back in August and never looked back.
Even though I envisioned these as Christmas cookies, these tender, dark chocolate, brownie-inspired cookies are really perfect for any time of year. I like to keep them very small, truly bite-sized. It makes them ideal for having with a cup of coffee or tea late late in the day. They satisfy a mid-afternoon craving quite nicely, but aren’t so sweet to ruin your dinner.
And one thing I’ve discovered about testing my Christmas cookie recipes early in the year? We now have a freezer full of chocolate cookie dough ready any time the chocolate craving hits. These cookies bake straight from the freezer in just a few minutes. Add them to your holiday baking plans!
Best of all, these are very easy to make. Here’s how.
- All-Purpose Flour - Just regular all-purpose flour needed for these cookies. I’ve also made these with a gluten-free 1:1 flour sub (I like King Arthur’s) with great results.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - Any type of cocoa powder will work here - Dutch process or regular. I love to use Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa for these which has a darker color and a more rich chocolate flavor than the regular Hershey’s Cocoa Powder. Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa is now a staple in my pantry - I use it all the time (and absolutely love it in these cookies).
- Unsalted Butter - As with most baking recipes, it’s a great idea to use unsalted butter and then add measured salt to your recipe for consistent results.
- Sugar - You’ll need both white (granulated) sugar and light brown sugar to give these cookies that tender, chewy texture reminiscent of brownies. Powdered sugar is used on the outside (see below).
- Baking Soda, Kosher Salt, Pure Vanilla Extract, Large Eggs - Standard cookie baking ingredients.
Rolling Cookie Dough in Powdered Sugar
The “crackle” effect of these cookies makes them feel extra special. Roll the cookie dough balls in powdered sugar before baking. As the cookies bake and spread out, cracks will appear in the sugar coating.
How to Freeze and Bake from Frozen
To Freeze: Prepare dough as directed, rolling in powdered sugar. Line cookie dough balls up on a sheet pan and transfer to the freezer. When dough balls are frozen solid (3 to 4 hours), transfer to a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 6 months.
To Bake from Frozen: Set frozen cookie dough balls out on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake as directed, adding an additional 2-3 minutes to baking time.
My Master List of Christmas Cookies
- Crisp Gingerbread Cookies
- Peanut Butter Cookie Cups
- Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies
- Crispy and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Mint Pinwheel Cookies
- Candy Cane Meringues
- Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms
- Christmas Tree Meringues
- Chocolate Candy Cane Truffles
- Sweet and Salty Snack Mix (not a “cookie”, but this snack mix is a fun addition to a cookie box or holiday dessert spread)
Chocolate Brownie Crackle Cookies
- Stand Mixer
- Sheet Pans
- Parchment Paper
- Cooling Rack
- 2 ¼ cups (280 g) All-Purpose Flour
- ⅓ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature (½ cup or 1 stick)
- ¾ cup (150 g) White Sugar
- ¾ cup (150 g) packed Light Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 cup Powdered Sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C.
- Line sheet pans with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add both sugars and continue to mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add vanilla extract and eggs and mix on low until eggs are fully incorporated, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Add dry ingredients to mixer and mix on low just until everything is combined.
- Pour powdered sugar into a shallow baking dish or bowl.
- Roll cookie dough into 1.5-inch balls (keep these small so the finished cookies are bite-sized) and then roll the balls in powdered sugar to fully coat. (You can do this in batches, dropping a bunch of the balls in powdered sugar and then rolling them all at once.)
- Place cookie dough on prepared sheet pans, leaving a couple of inches of space between them.
- Bake until cookies are just barely set in the middle, 9-10 minutes.
- Allow cookies to cool on sheet pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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