Crinkle cookies are some of my favorite. I discovered them when I moved to the U.S. a little over 20 years ago. Though I can’t recall exactly where I first encountered them, I think it was around Christmas at a bakery uptown in New York City. I was drawn to them by their crackly tops that remind me a bit of turtle shells—and I love turtles. Then, I tasted them and loved their melt-in-your-mouth texture, with their chewy insides and crunchy, crackly outsides. I had never seen cookies like that in Mexico.
I soon decided that I wanted to try to make them myself, and sell them in my shop, La Newyorkina. But I wanted to put on a personal Mexican spin on them to match the kinds of treats I ate growing up. I tried different versions using Mexican chocolate, Mexican cinnamon, piloncillo (an unrefined sugar). Finally, after weeks of testing I finally came up with this version I’m sharing with you here, which was the one everyone liked the most in the shop's kitchen. It has a crackly, turtle-shell top, a chewy, brownie-like texture in the middle, and a lovely smoky kick from a homemade chipotle paste.
When I make this recipe, I start with the chipotle paste. Because it is a bit labor-intensive, I usually make a large amount of the paste at once, and keep some around in the freezer for future batches of cookies. Then, the cookie dough itself is a straightforward recipe: Whip eggs till fluffy and add flour and melted chocolate. It’s important not to overmix the dough at this stage, though, as this can make the cookies dry. Once the dough is made and rested, I then portion it into 4 dozen cookies, and begin rolling them in sugar so they can get those turtle shells as they bake. I’ve found that rolling them in granulated sugar before rolling in confectioners’ sugar, as is traditionally done in a lot of crinkle-cookie recipes, gave them a crispier texture on the outside, and a better crinkle effect.
At the end of the day, these cookies are really dangerous—not because of the heat, but because you won’t be able to stop eating them! —Fany Gerson
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the eggs for a couple of minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on high speed for 15 minutes until it has thickened.
While the eggs are whipping, put a medium-to-large saucepan filled with water 3/4 of the way up over medium heat. Place the butter, bittersweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl (not the mini chocolate chips) and place on top of the pot. Adjust the heat so it’s hot but not boiling and stir from time to time until everything is melted and smooth.
Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture using a spatula until partially combined (you should still see some streaks). Add the dry mixture to the batter and carefully fold it in. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chipotle paste (see recipe below in note) and fold in the chocolate chips. If the batter seems very runny, let it rest until it thickens slightly, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Fill a small bowl with the granulated sugar in one bowl and a separate bowl with the confectioner’s sugar. Drop the batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the one with the granulated sugar and roll so it has a nice coating. Then, put into the second bowl filled with the confectioner's sugar and put on the prepared baking sheets, making sure you have about 3 inches (7.5cm) separation between them. Bake until puffed and cracked, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before removing from the baking sheets.
NOTE: To make the chipotle paste, toast chiles in a dry heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Discard stems, seeds, and ribs, then soak chiles in hot water to cover until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid. Purée chiles in a mini food processor or a blender, adding 2 to 3 tablespoons soaking liquid as needed to form a paste. Force paste through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Set aside 1 1/2 tablespoons chile paste and freeze remainder for another use.