Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with a spacious kitchen. They often bring some of their market's best ingredients home with them and cook up a feast, and when they're not cooking at home, they're working with the staff at Marczyk to create recipes for the rest of us to enjoy, usually turning to Whitney Ariss, a home cook and the market's marketing project manager and events coordinator, for inspiration.
"Chocolate crackles are one of my all-time favorite cookie recipes, and they're super kid-friendly," says Ariss, who spent the past week baking cookies with her nieces and nephew. "Whenever I get together with the kids, we end up baking, and I like to choose recipes that let them participate and get their hands dirty, and any kind of rolled cookie is perfect for that purpose," she notes.
"I also love these cookies because they taste like brownies, but they're a little more foolproof," she says, adding that the cookies "bake up a little crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy in the center." Hint: Use the Valrhona dark chocolate cocoa powder that Marczyk's stocks for an "ultra-fudgey and bittersweet flavor."
Chocolate Crackles (adapted from a Martha Stewart Living recipe) Makes about 2 dozen
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted 1 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring. 2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and cocoa in a small bowl. 3. Whisk together granulated sugar, eggs and melted butter in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in melted chocolate and vanilla extract until smooth. Stir in flour mixture. 4. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. 5. Heat oven to 325 degrees. 6. Roll spoonfulls of dough into balls, about the size of a golf ball, then roll in confectioners sugar to coat. 7. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until slightly firm in the center, about 15 minutes. 8. Let cookies cool slightly on sheets set on wire racks. Transfer cookies to racks, and allow to cool completely before serving.
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