Thursday, October 04, 2007


Besides being aptly and adorably named for our favorite local fault line, these crackly-topped cookies fulfilled two important requirements for me: (1) They resembled the addictive chocolate crinkle cookies my roommate S used to make when we lived together, which I’ve been remembering fondly and itching to re-create. (2) They used almond meal, and I’ve got a big bag of the stuff in my cupboard, left over from an uninspiring curry recipe I once tried. Also, of course, they contained chocolate, which never hurts.

The recipe is from L.A.’s Grand Casino Bakery, via the Los Angeles Times, via The Wednesday Chef. It’s pretty easy to make—it requires some advance planning because you have to do it in two parts, with the dough chilling overnight in between, but on the plus side, that means the work is divided over two days and easier to fit into your schedule (and thus easier to handle if, like me, you’re so impatient that halfway through any task you’re already itching for it to be over). I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate, which is available from Trader Joe’s in big, ridiculously cheap chunks and is great for baking. All the recipe steps went smoothly, and the result was awesome. These cookies are plump (I don’t like huge cookies, so I didn’t quite use two tablespoons of dough for each cookie—maybe one and a half—and so got a few more than 2 dozen) and intensely chocolately; the dough seems very fudgy, but thanks to the whopping 2 tablespoons of baking powder, they bake up light. The interior texture is almost cake-like, tender but ever-so-slightly nubbly from the almond meal, surrounded by a thin, pleasingly crisp sugar shell. I can’t get enough of that texture, and I also love the fact that they’re not too sweet. I can maybe taste the barest hint of almond, but mostly it’s just a good straightforward chocolate fix.

I have read that almond meal can be used to replace part of the normal flour in most cookie recipes, which would be interesting, but now that I’ve tasted San Andreas cookies, I may just be tempted to devote the rest of my almond-meal supply to making of the same!

2 ounces (½ stick) butter
12 ounces dark chocolate
3 eggs
7 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus ¼ cup for coating
¾ cup flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup almond meal
6 tablespoons milk
¼ cup powdered sugar

1. Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and 7 tablespoons sugar at moderately high speed until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage and is pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Mix in the melted chocolate and butter.

3. Sift together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl, then stir in the almond meal. Alternating with the milk, add these dry ingredients to the batter. Spoon the mixture into a container, cover tightly, and chill overnight.

4. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the ¼ cup granulated sugar and the powdered sugar in two separate shallow bowls. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie and form into a ball. Roll each ball of dough in granulated sugar, then in the powdered sugar.

5. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake 20–24 minutes, until the dough is no longer gooey in the center when tested with a toothpick. Cool on wire racks.

Yield: about 2 dozen
Time: A couple of hours, with at least 8 hours chilling time in between

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