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Chocolate sprinkles were not on my radar as a kid. Compared with rainbow sprinkles, they never stood a chance. But both varieties were relegated to sundae bars, birthday cakes, and ice cream shops, until I discovered the existence of funfetti. Sprinkles! Inside a cake! Brilliant.
I consider the sprinkles in funfetti baked goods to be mostly aesthetic, adding a pop of color to cakes. Beyond the novelty value of appearance, they add a cloying sweetness that doesn't entirely appeal to me. I never thought of sprinkles as an ingredient that could enhance or elevate the flavor of a recipe, until I recently tried real chocolate sprinkles, made with real chocolate. (Superstar Stella Parks, who brought us roasted sugar and her excellent cookbook BraveTart, has a recipe here.) They pack a wallop of chocolate flavor and they have an excellent, slightly soft crunch.
Just like rainbow sprinkles, they stay intact during baking, making them perfect for coating or topping baked goods. Consider them a perfect (and fun) accent to chocolate recipes. Today's cookie recipe is a perfect example: Chocolate sprinkles give these fudgy, brownie-like cookies a wonderful texture and add even more of a chocolate flavor.
These cookies are excellent on their own, but I highly recommend you try them with the sprinkle coating. They're chewy and moist, teetering on the edge between brownie and cookie. I like to add a pinch of espresso powder to my dough: It enhances the chocolate flavor beautifully, although it isn't necessary. If you can find chocolate sprinkles made with real chocolate (not just cocoa powder), get them! But any variety will do the trick.
Keep in mind that while the sprinkles will hold their shape in the oven, they'll melt if you touch the warm cookies, so let them cool before handling them. If you have leftover sprinkles, consider it a sign that you should make yourself an ice cream sundae.
- 1 cup (226 grams, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (320 grams) brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (63 grams) cocoa powder
- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder (optional, for enhanced chocolate flavor)
- 1/2 cup chocolate sprinkles