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In contrast to my big long rant about Cook’s Illustrated and crimes against polenta, this is going to be quick and painless, just like these cookies.

These little morsels, named for their crackly tops, are soft, fudgy, and deeply chocolatey, like individual brownies but much more sophisticated. They take almost no time to put together and can probably be made purely from the contents of your pantry right now, which makes them perfect for last-minute guests or quieting those day-before-grocery-run cookie cravings. If you need any more enabling, let me observe that summer is just around the corner, and these would make smashing ice cream sandwiches for your Memorial Day barbecue.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies
(Adapted from Chocolate Wonders in Sally Schneider’s The Improvisational Cook)
Makes 4 dozen cookies

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons brandy

Place the chocolate and butter in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup and microwave on half power, checking and stirring every thirty seconds, until both have melted. Set aside to cool to just above room temperature.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together energetically until pale and frothy. Stir in the chocolate mixture, then the brandy.  Add the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Cover and chill the dough 20-30 minutes to firm it up a bit.

Preheat the oven to 325 and line several baking sheets with parchment.

Using a small scoop, drop the dough onto the pans and bake until cracked and set, 12-14 minutes. Cool on the sheet until warm and firm enough to hold together when moved. Remove them to cooling racks, and cool completely.

Notes:

You don’t have to make them from super-schmancy Scharffen Berger 72% like I did, but as with anything this simple, the better the ingredients, the better the result, so try to use a good, really dark chocolate.

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