Today we celebrate cocoa powder of all varieties. Cocoa comes from the bean of the cacao tree. The trees grow in many parts of the world, but the earliest known cultivation of cocoa was in the Amazon, where archaeologists have found evidence of its use dating back to 1900 BC. More famously, the Mayans were known to have used the cocoa bean as food, and currency in fertility rites, while the Aztecs ground it into a bitter drink. Both cultures believed cocoa to be linked to the gods, but it wasn’t until the 1700s that the taxonomer Linnaeus aptly named the source of cocoa beans Theabroma Cacao, meaning "gift of the gods." Less sweet than some, these crinkle cookies are absolutely loaded with cocoa and just a hint of rum flavor. Because the cookies are made with baking powder, I make these with Dutch-processed cocoa and get fat, fudgy cookies every time.
- 2 Cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
- 1 Cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 4 large eggs
- 1 Cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 Cup vegetable oil
- 1 Teaspoon rum extract
- 3/4 Teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 Ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 Cup confectioners' sugar
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa together in a small bowl; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes or until light. Reduce the speed to medium and gradually add the granulated sugar. Using the lowest speed of a stand mixer, or with a mixing spoon, stir in the oil and extracts. Add the flour mixture and stir until incorporated, then remove from the mixer stand (if using) and stir in the chocolate. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 40 minutes, or until firm enough to handle.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with nonstick foil or parchment paper.
Pour or sift the confectioners’ sugar onto a plate. Scoop up heaping tablespoons of cold dough and shape into 1½-inch balls. Roll the balls in the sugar to coat generously. Arrange the balls 2 ½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 10 minutes or just until they appear puffy and set. Immediately transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Baker’s Notes: For the prettiest cookies, be very generous with the confectioners’ sugar and bake the cookies in the upper third of the oven until they are just cooked through.