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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies Photo courtesy of Jake Gartland

The problem with many Valentine’s Day desserts--miniature molten chocolate cakes, chocolate fondue for two and the like--is that they’re exclusionary. The opposite is true of these chocolate crinkle cookies, which are designed for sharing with all of your chocolate-loving friends on Cupid’s token holiday. At her bakery, The Pink Pig, in Fredericksburg, Texas, pastry queen Rebecca Rather gives the sugar-dusted crinkle cookies a Texas kick by adding chile powder and cayenne pepper to the fudgy batter. That tiny twist makes the cookies even more appealing, whether you devour them in coupled bliss or with a group of girlfriends over your favorite rom-com.

Makes about 36 cookies

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons ancho chile powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 eggs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar

1. In a metal bowl set over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water, melt the chocolate with the butter, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the chile powder, baking powder, kosher salt and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the chocolate mixture with the granulated sugar until combined. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing until just combined.

4. Using a spatula, stir in the chocolate chips until just combined. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight.

5. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 375˚. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Put the confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl or dish. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, then roll the balls in the confectioners’ sugar.

6. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, or until visible crinkles have formed and the cookies have puffed and spread slightly. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Repeat with the remaining dough.

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