Since the weather has turned cooler here in San Francisco, I’ve looked forward to hosting the DIY Desserts event at 18 Reasons in December. Our annual cookie swap is one of those joyous occasions when people drop in with their homebaked cookies, check out what other people have made, sample a few, and then take home a whole slew of cookies to enjoy at home. I’ve co-hosted the event twice and this year it was a popular as ever, with people stopping by with fabulous creations for all to share. Feeling ever so “creative” (a term I usually hate) and inspired by watching too much science fiction television (damn you Fringe!), I created an alternative universe version of the classic Chocolate Crackle Cookie. The Reverse White Chocolate Crackle Cookie with Oreo Cocoa Powder was popular with everyone at the event, but more importantly tasted fabulous despite looking like the cap of a dried Shitake mushroom.
Sadly my friend and co-host Melanie couldn’t make it to the event, as she wasn’t feeling so great. But I wasn’t alone, as the Executive Director Rosie was there with her family recipe Pfeffernüsse cookies. She wasn’t the only one with those cookies though, as someone else showed up with Pfeffernüsse! The battle of the German spice cookies! Rosie had also showed up with some gorgeous Springerle cookies, an anise flavored cookie pressed into molds before baking. Of course, the two Pfeffernüsse cookies and the Springerle cookies weren’t the only German cookies to show up. Someone brought Vanillekipferl with almonds and hazelnuts cookies as well. Apparently the Germans know how to celebrate the holidays!
The selection of cookies there were varied and fantastic. Homemade Thomas Keller’s Oreos were on display, as were the regular chocolate crackle cookies. Walnut cookies and white chocolate walnut butter cookies were nibbled on. Chocolate florentines were there, as were a Hawaiian chocolate chip cookie called Lailana’s Return, with roasted Pineapples, ginger and coconut. There was even a cookie version of a Boston cream pie (Boston cream cookies! Genius!).
I was enamored with the various ginger cookies that people showed up with, all different, all fantastic. Ginger cookies with cream cheese frosting, molasses ginger butterscotch cookies, and chocolate ginger cookies were there for the taking. There was even a candied orange and spiced molasses cookie that I initially thought had ginger in it, before I realized it was the molasses that reminded me of ginger cookies.
The familiar bacon showed up twice as well, once in a caramel, bacon and chocolate shortbread bar (I snagged four or five of those for home) and once in fake form on a Fakin’ bacon peanut butter cookie with pretzels, milk chocolate, chips and candied bacon bits. Of course, there were a few unfamiliar (to me) cookies that showed up as well. Sicilian fig cookies tasted like a really (Really!) good Fig Newton. Anginetti Lemon cookies were nice and bright without being too sweet.
It seemed that everyone had a fantastic time hanging out, swapping cookies and just enjoying themselves on a mellow weekend afternoon. I left 18 Reasons with a variety box full of awesome cookies, a warm heart and full stomach. I can’t wait for our next one in March. We’re not sure what the theme is, but once we figure it out, I’ll be sure to announce it to everyone! Happy holidays to all!
Reverse White Chocolate Crackle Cookie with Oreo Cocoa Powder
By Irvin Lin
I made these cookies up after having a dream about meeting my doppelganger double from a different alternative dimension. Apparently I have been watching too much Fringe, a sci-fi television show that involves a parallel universe, though this current and final season takes place in the future instead (don’t ask, you have to go and watch the show from the beginning to understand it all). The cookie itself is similar to a chocolate crackle cookie, a baked treat that is coated in white confectioners’ sugar before baking that cracks apart in the oven showing the dark chocolate dough inside. My version has a creamy white white chocolate vanilla dough and the coating is a dark midnight brown cocoa powder. Several of my friends said they looked like dried shitake mushrooms but don’t let that deter you from making these, as they are quite tasty and don’t have any umami flavor in them at all. 😉
I used a white chocolate vanilla bean cookie dough and rolled it in black onyx cocoa powder, the same cocoa powder that Oreos use to give it that distinctive flavor and color. If you don’t have black onyx cocoa powder and don’t want to order it, feel free to substitute regular or Dutch processed cocoa powder in its place. If you don’t have a vanilla bean, just use 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract in place of all the vanilla. Finally, I used a whole milk powder in the recipe, which is powder fine. If you use nonfat milk powder (which is much more common to find in the grocery store) make sure to crush it to a fine powder before you use it (just place the powder in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush it).
1/3 cup buttermilk, well shaken
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon white rum
1 1/3 cups (8 oz or 225 g) chopped white chocolate (use one made with cocoa butter)
2 3/4 cups (385 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (75 g) fine milk powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt)
1/2 cup (115 g or 1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons (325 g) granulated white sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (100 g) Dutch-Processed cocoa powder (Black Onyx preferred or Hershey’s Special Dark)
1/4 cup (45 g) confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated white sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line a baking sheet with a silpat or piece of parchment paper. Melt the chopped white chocolate in a metal bowl placed over a pot of simmering water (making sure the metal bowl doesn’t actually touch the hot water). Measure the buttermilk in a glass measuring cup and add the corn syrup, vanilla extract and rum. Stir to dissolve the corn syrup into the buttermilk.
2. Place the flour, milk powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and stir vigorously with a balloon whisk. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds out of the pod into the butter and sugar. Save the pod for another use. Cream the butter together with the sugar and vanilla seeds on medium speed until fluffy (one or two minutes, depending on how cold your butter is). Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Add the melted white chocolate and beat to incorporate.
3. Add a third of the dry ingredients to the butter and beat to incorporate. Add half the buttermilk to the batter and beat to incorporate. Repeat with another third of the dry ingredients, the remaining buttermilk mixture and ending with the dry ingredients.
4. Mix the black onyx cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar together in a small bowl until uniform in color. Place the granulated sugar in another small bowl. Scoop a tablespoon of the dough out of the bowl and roll it into a ball, then roll it in the granulated sugar first then the cocoa powder mixture. Set on the lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough, placing the cookies about two inches apart from each other. Bake in the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the bottom edges of the cookie start to look golden brown. Try not to overbake. Let cool on the baking sheet for five minutes before moving the cookies to a wire cooling rack.
Makes 64 cookies.
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says
Mmm these sound lovely!
Kathy - Panini Happy says
These are epic, Irvin!! Who says all the great ideas have been taken…you came up with yet one more, my friend. That was also one of the best-looking cookie exchanges I’ve ever seen. 🙂
Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ says
These cookies are art! Chapeau
The Suzzzz says
I want to make those, but I don’t have any rum. Is there something I could substitute or would I be ok leaving it out altogether?
I don’t know why I read this blog before I eat breakfast because you always make me hungry. I could really go for one of those Boston cream pie cookies or the fakin bacon peanut butter cookie.
Just replace the rum with two tablespoons more of buttermilk! Shouldn’t be a problem. And those Boston cream pies cookies were ridiculously good. As were the fakin bacon ones. Dang it. Now I wish I had some to eat!
Culinary Collage says
These cookies look amazing! Of course, everything you make looks amazing to me.
Belinda @zomppa says
This is an event that everyone should participate in! Love the backwards cookie….
Linda | The Urban Mrs says
Oh, I wished I were there, hopefully next year. It happened to be my bday this year so I was unable to join. I was jumping up and down when I saw your tweet about this cookies. Glad you share it here, now I can try it at home. Thanks for posting this.
I am doing cookies right now and am a bit confused with when to add white chocolate? After all i added to butter/liquid part. Is it correct? And also my butter is a bit too liquid, so I am leaving it in the fridge for a bit to get thicker otherwise I cannot form balls out of the butter 🙁 Keep your fingers crossed for my attempt 🙂
Oh hi! So sorry about that, I totally left that step it out of the recipe! Add the white chocolate to the dough right after you add the eggs. I’ve gone ahead and added that to the recipe above.
And if your butter is too soft, you can try cooling it on the fridge for a bit or just add it to the dough as is, and then cooling the entire dough in the fridge (or freezer) for a bit.
Let e know what you think of the cookies!
What an awesome little event! And I love your reverse cookie =) Genius idea!
Ta-daaam! I have a big bowel of nice ‘shitake’-cookies 🙂 They do not look as nice as your, Irvin, but they have a very nice taste. I suspect that my Czech ingredients influenced that little different look. Anyway, I am adding them to the list of my favorite cookies.
Oh! I was waiting for this recipe…my roommate and I both agreed these were some of the best of the bunch (I made the molasses ginger butterscotch cookies). Would using non-onyx (dutch process or natural) cocoa powder do in a pinch?
Joanne T Ferguson says
G’day! One word? YUM!
Viewed as part of Helene’s Christmas Cookie Collection 2013
These cookies are looking delicious! I am making them for Christmas. But I don’t have fine milk powder and the shops are all closed 🙁
Can I leave it out without problems or add more buttermilk? I am already leaving the rum out…
Hi there! Sorry I didn’t respond earlier. I was traveling a all day on Christmas Eve. If you are leaving out the rum, just leave out the milk powder too. If you add the rum or add a liquid substitute for the rum like orange juice or more buttermilk, add 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour in place of the milk powder. I hope they turn out for you and Merry Christmas!
Hi, thank you for your reply. I will try to make them again with your recipe! Happy new year!
Wow!! These cookies are amazing – definitely a crowd pleaser!! One question: could I just omit the rum if I don’t want to use it? And can I use white chocolate chips? Thanks! 🙂
I was wondering if these cookies are soft and chewy? Or more crunchy?
[email protected] says
Hi! I made these cookies and I had a few issues. When I added the melted chocolate (cooled), it ceased. Everything was at room temp…And, the finished batter was so runny that I had to add more flour (1/2 cup) to get it to come enough together to refrigerate prior to shaping and baking (more chocolate crinkle recipes are runny and require refrigeration of the dough). The results are very good…A bit of a different taste–I think I was expected more sweet on the outside, and a nice looking cookie and it baked really well. Soft inside with great structure and nice light brown on the bottom. Nice crackle top (rolling in the sugar prior to the cocoa is key). Overall, a beautiful presentation and not too sweet! Thank you! P.S. next time I might try rolling in the dark cocoa with some sweetened cocoa powder.
word finder says
That’s good news, I’ve been searching for it for days