So many holiday memories have been made in the last week. My snow trip was unforgettably magical, and I attended my first Lithuanian Nut Bread making party with four generations of women on my boyfriend’s side. Also pretty magical. And messy.
I made sure to cross all of the must-do snow activities off of my list while in Tahoe. We built a snowman, made snow angels, had a snowball fight, drank hot chocolate, went tubing down the bunny slopes, and watched a Christmas movie of course. My extremely patient boyfriend also spent the day teaching me how to snowboard.[row-start]
The Werp ladies wasted no time initiating me into their annual tradition of baking Lithuanian Nut Bread. I would love to share the recipe, but I think a marriage license may be required to get it.
These ladies have this process down pat. They whirled through each step of the process, everyone with their assigned task. Grandma Werp made the dough, cousin Emily mixed the nuts, Aunt Denise and cousin Sarah rolled the dough, Mama Sara poured the butter, and Aunt Rosemary baked off each loaf. Dough was flying, pins were rolling, and sweet aromas were wafting. Then we all got covered in flour, ate some Mexican food, and divvied out the cherished loaves.[row-start]
Back to cookies. These are the ultimate chocolate crinkle cookies. I have made my fair share of crinkle cookie recipes and these are the winners by far. Santa’s choice in fact. He told me himself. So if you are wondering what cookies to leave out for Santa this year, look no further.
This recipe (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated) uses two different types of chocolate; a bar of unsweetened baker’s chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder. The bar takes the place of a portion of the butter and the starch in the powder takes the place of some of the flour. This lets us cram in the highest amount of chocolate possible with compromising the texture of the cookie.
Believe it or not, coffee is also a very important ingredient in any sort of chocolate recipe. It brings out the flavor of the chocolate. This time around it comes in the form of instant coffee powder.
It is important to let this dough rest after mixing the dry ingredients into the wet. It takes a little bit of time for the flour and cocoa powder to suck up the moisture and become solid enough to roll into balls. If your kitchen is hot, clear some space in the fridge. Your hands will thank you later.
We have all seen those sad crinkle cookies that are neither crinkly nor powdered. I will have none of that in my kitchen, and I hope you won’t either.
Once the dough has set enough to start rolling, prep two coating dishes. One with granulated sugar, the other with powdered sugar. Here’s why: the base of granulated sugar dries out the surface of the cookie before it can finish spreading. This causes the the surface to crack and pull apart from the setting cookie. It also absorbs moisture from the cookie leaving the top coat of powdered sugar perfectly powdery.
Make Santa happy this year and leave him a heaping plate of these deep, fudgey, crumbly, powdery chocolate crinkle cookies. A side of coffee ice cream may even be better than a glass of milk!