Remember when “vegetable oil spreads” threatened to take over the home bakers’ kitchen? At the time, so many of us (meaning me) thought we were improving our health by shunning margarine and butter, and choosing the “healthy” spread, but a not-so-funny-result occurred: our (my) baked goods were terrible.
It took awhile before the collective “we” figured out what the issue was, but eventually, cookbooks started to warn against using those spreads in baked goods because all they did was produce flop after flop. My mom thought something happened to her trusty bakeware, and frankly, I was still too young to really understand the chemistry of baking.
However, back in those days, I was still a little baker at heart, and it was not uncommon for me to sort through my mom’s recipe box, looking for a new recipe to try. Though this recipe for chocolate crinkles isn’t the one I tried back then, I did have a massive chocolate crinkle failure that I’m guessing was due to a spread. The cookie tasted delicious – like a giant brownie coated with confectioners’ sugar. Yum.
But 20 little balls of dough ended up as one very large cookie.
When I decided to try these cookies again, and I found a recipe using oil instead of butter (which I had none of and was quite pricey), it seemed fate was stepping in to help me out. The cookies are great – chewy, full of chocolate flavor, a lot like brownies with a touch of holiday flair. I know it seems odd that in a post about vegetable oil spreads, I finally use a recipe that uses oil, but whatever. Butter is rather pricey these days, and if I can save someone a little money by using canola oil in some cookies, so be it.
adapted from Betty Crocker
1/2 cup (118 mL) canola oil
4 ounces (113 grams) unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
2 cups (550 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon prepared strong coffee (breakfast leftovers are fine)
4 large eggs (room temperature)
2 cups (220 grams) unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners’ sugar
In large bowl, combine oil, chocolate, sugar, and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition with a wooden spoon.
Add flour, baking powder, and salt; stir until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F/176C. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease with cooking spray. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into confectioners’ sugar and roll into balls. Place balls on sheet, evenly spaced, about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Bake 10-12 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch (the white sugar should form cracks). Cool on pan for 10 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.