The Secret to Perfectly Cracked Crinkle Cookies

By America's Test Kitchen
America's Test Kitchen
America's Test Kitchen
For 25 years, home cooks have relied on America's Test Kitchen for rigorously tested recipes developed by professional test cooks and vetted by 60,000 at-home recipe testers. The family of brands—which includes Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country, and America's Test Kitchen Kids—offers reliable recipes for cooks of all ages and skill levels. See more online at AmericasTestKitchen.com/TCA. Copyright 2021 America's Test Kitchen. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
December 24, 2021 Updated: December 24, 2021

These deep, dark, chocolaty cookies are also known as “earthquakes” because of all the cracks that break through their snow-white surfaces during baking. The key to creating these crinkly cracks is rolling the formed dough first in granulated sugar and then in confectioners’ sugar.

The granulated sugar helps create that crackly, crusty exterior and keeps the confectioners’ sugar coating in place, so you can see the fissures.

Microwave 101

Most microwaves have a setting that lets you cook things at reduced power levels. It’s important to melt butter and chocolate at 50 percent of full power. The controls can vary from microwave to microwave, but often you have to set the power level before setting the time.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Makes 12 cookies

  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (3/4 ounce) Dutch-­processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup packed (5 1/4 ounces) brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk brown sugar, egg and egg yolk, and vanilla until combined.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate and butter. Heat in the microwave at 50 percent power until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir chocolate mixture until well combined and shiny.

Add the chocolate mixture to the brown sugar mixture and stir until combined. Stir in flour mixture until no dry flour is visible. Let dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Place the sugar in 1 shallow dish and the confectioners’ sugar in second shallow dish.

Roll the dough into 12 balls (about 2 tablespoons each). Drop the balls directly into the shallow dish with the regular sugar, and roll to coat. Then transfer the dough balls to the shallow dish with the confectioners’ sugar, and roll to evenly coat. Place dough balls on the parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between balls.

Bake cookies until puffed and cracked and the edges have begun to set but the centers are still soft (cookies will look raw in cracks and seem underdone), about 11 minutes. Place baking sheet on a cooling rack and let cookies cool completely on the baking sheet, about 30 minutes. Serve.

For 25 years, home cooks have relied on America's Test Kitchen for rigorously tested recipes developed by professional test cooks and vetted by 60,000 at-home recipe testers. The family of brands—which includes Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country, and America's Test Kitchen Kids—offers reliable recipes for cooks of all ages and skill levels. See more online at AmericasTestKitchen.com/TCA. Copyright 2021 America's Test Kitchen. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.