December 9, 2008


These cookies are a little bit magic, I think. They bring out your inner-child, if nothing else. For one thing, you get to arm yourself with a cool tool, the spring-loaded ice cream scoop:


And with that scoop, you get to sweep through a bowl of chocolate cookie dough, gathering up a perfect tablespoon of dough and leaving wavy streaks in your wake:


Next, you take each bit of dough you pop out of the ice cream scoop and roll it into a ball. Think snowballs, only more yummy (and a lot less tidy; your hands will look like you’ve been slinging mud, rather than shaping snowballs):


Chill the balls in the freezer. While you wait, continue to indulge your inner eight year old by (a) giggling that you’re making balls and (b) marveling at the little chocolate stamps the cookies have imprinted on your baking sheet while they set up in the freezer:


After that, dump a poof of powdered sugar into a shallow bowl and roll each chocolatey sphere in the snowy powder until you’ve erased nearly all the evidence of the underlying chocolate:


Transfer the sugared cookies to a lined baking sheet and make sure to space them out …


… because in the oven, they spread out and flatten under the heat. And that’s where the magic comes in. When you pull them out of the oven a few minutes later, the cookies that were once chocolately globes and then chalky-white orbs have undergone yet another transformation. As they’ve softened, the chocolate has expanded, creating fault lines in the powdery coating:


They’re soft inside—almost brownie-like—and infused with a jolt of espresso. The outside is firm and messy: these are not the treat for clandestine snacking. And they’re called snowcaps, or crinkles—perfectly whimsical names for such a magical cookie.

Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps
Martha Stewart

Yield: 18 cookies

Printable Recipe

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons instant espresso
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup confectioners sugar, for coating

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well combined; mix in cooled chocolate. With mixer on low speed, gradually add dry ingredients; beat in milk just until combined. Flatten dough into a disk; wrap in plastic. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.***

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl; working in batches, roll balls in sugar twice.

Place balls on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies have spread and coating is cracked, 12 to 14 minutes; cookies will still be soft to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

*** I shaped the dough into balls before freezing it.Β  So, instead of forming a disk and freezing, I shaped the dough into balls (using the ice cream scoop to create a uniform size), transferred the balls to a baking sheet lined with wax (or parchment) paper, froze for 45 minutes, and then rolled in powdered sugar.

26 Responses to “Tah-Dah!”

  1. diane (mom) Says:

    These cookies look amazing and you know I love holiday cookies.I only hope they come home.MOM

  2. ronnissweettooth Says:

    You said balls.
    And now these are going on the list. That brings the grand total to five. That’s it!

  3. I love the look of those cookies, and will be trying them soon!

  4. RecipeGirl Says:

    They look great. I did them last year. Yummy stuff!

  5. ovenhaven Says:

    I made these for my first ever bake sale in school, and they were a hit! I love how yours look πŸ˜€

  6. gerilwalton Says:

    These cookies do look as if they were magical.

  7. They looked like they are gilded in silver! So cool.

    Another cookie recipe to add to my baking list when I am done with finals on Friday!

  8. janice Says:

    Just curious. The recipe has you freeze a disc of dough. You form balls and put in fridge. which way is better?
    They look so good!

  9. jd Says:

    Woah – those look awesome!

    Great pictures…


  10. May Says:

    Great looking cookies! Chocolate and espresso is a great combination. One of my favorite.

  11. I tried a similar recipe and fell in love. They’re absolutely my new favorite cookie of the season! And love your pictures, as usual. πŸ™‚

  12. Maya Says:

    I love these, easy to make, delicious AND impressive!

  13. Betsy Says:

    Yum – I can’t wait to make these!

  14. katie Says:

    yum these look fun to make! Come check out my holiday cookie list and enter my giveaway!


  15. Dawn in CA Says:

    Are you kidding me? Chocolate, espresso, AND magic? I’m so there. Plus, I just love plopping out little balls of dough from my mini-scooper. *tee hee*

  16. holler Says:

    These are gorgeous! Very pretty morsels.
    You couldn’t tell me what type of baking sheet you use, could you? I have been looking for one like that but have been unsuccessful so far. I am thinking I would get further if I knew the technical term, instead of going into a shop and saying I would like a baking sheet please. One of those meshy ones! *blank stares*

  17. Mom: I’ll stash some away to tuck into my carry-on!

    ronnissweettooth: ha!

    Chocolate Shavings: Thanks!

    RecipeGirl: Just took a look at yours—so pretty!

    ovenhaven: I could see these disappearing from a bake sale table.

    gerilwalton: Don’t they?

    whitney: You’re going to be busy!

    janice: Thanks for catching that. I made a note about the modification.

    jd: Thanks!

    May: One of mine too. Well, chocolate and almost anything, I suppose …

    Amy: Yours are gorgeous! I love that red background.

    Maya: Well said.

    Betsy: I hope you try them!

    Katie: Great list!

    Dawn: Tee hee, indeed!

    holler: Are you talking about the liner? It’s a silpat. You can find them at any store with a decent selection of baking tools or on Amazon.

  18. Monica h Says:

    I’ve been wanting to make these since last year. Perhaps this is my year πŸ™‚

  19. Amy Says:

    Yes!!! These cookies *are* magic, I made them last year and loved them! They remind me of little snow-covered mountains (hence the name “snowcaps,” I suppose.) πŸ™‚

  20. Gorgeous!!! You have me drooling…and dreaming about little Christmas care packages I’m going to make for family and friends!

  21. Debbie Says:

    Oh they look so good. I’m sure they are so tasty!

  22. radish Says:

    Oh yum.. they look SOOO pretty!! I think this is the thing my coworkers will need this monday morning – the mood’s been so glum with the economy and all…

  23. Monica h: Yes, it’s your year!

    Amy: I love that.

    Andrea: Thanks! I take drool as a high compliment.

    Debbie: They are, they are!

    radish: I have a feeling you are quite popular at work. Am I right?

  24. ryan97ou Says:

    I made 4 batches of these tonight, and while that amount got a bit hard to mix, they turned out wonderful.

  25. ryan97ou: Wow! That’s a lot of snowcaps! : ) So glad they turned out.

  26. Harry Says:

    I had totally forgotten about these beauties… we did a few batches tonight and they turned out great. We drizzled them with a bit of cherry and honey in a crosshatch and they’re excellent!

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