tiny salted chocolate sparkle cookies

August 24, 2012

With all the summer fruit that is going on these days, it probably being a billion degrees in the kitchen and so many activities on the calendar, it is understandable why the humble refrigerator cookie is often overlooked during the months of June, July and August.

I know it seems strange to make what looks like a holiday cookie for your office gift exchange in August but the slice and bake cookie should not be limited to only a few months out of the year. Oh would you like a few reasons why? I’m so glad you asked. These cookies are tiny (which makes them extra cute). These cookies travel well (which makes them perfect for picnics). These cookies have two kinds of chocolate (which makes them double delicious).

These cookies also have one of my favorite words in the title, which is not chocolate or salted because those are number two and number three but sparkle. Sparkle and its various forms -ed, -ly, -s, -ing is one of those words that should be used more in everyday life.

For example, the phrase “Would you please hand me that box of cereal?” could be made so much better by saying “would you please hand me that sparkling box of cereal?”

But let’s talk cookie!

This cookie is like an out of control good bite-sized brownie. A double hit of melted chocolate and dark cocoa powder gives these cookies intense chocolate flavor while a quick roll in sparkling sugar - which just like tart pans - makes everything look fancy. But under baking them ever so slightly and just a pinch of flaky sea salt is what really brings these cookies to another level.

I love making baked goods tiny because tiny things are just generally cuter but they also wrap up and travel easier. A little bag of these cookies would be the perfect hostess present or perhaps wrapped up as a back-to-school treat for your favorite teacher and it just so happens that schools should be starting soon.

But that is just yet another reason to make these now.

Salted Chocolate Sparkle Cookies
Makes 3 dozen tiny cookies

Adapted liberally from The Art of the Cookie

3.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or about 1/2 cup [90 grams] good quality chocolate chips)
1 1/4 cup (156 grams) flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (35 grams) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (56 grams) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
about 1/4 cup coarse sugar for rolling
flaky salt for finishing

Melt the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth, then remove from heat and set aside. While the chocolate melts, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat the butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and mix until combined then add the flour mixture all at once and stir until all the flour is incorporated. The dough will be quite stiff.

Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape each into a log roughly 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Wrap each log in parchment paper and twist the ends to seal. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to several days. If you are pressed for time (or perhaps are like me and can not wait) you should be able to get away with chilling the dough in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Working one log at a time, remove the parchment. If the dough has lost any of its roundness while chilling, gently roll the dough back and forth on the countertop to reshape. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of coarse sugar on the parchment and roll to completely cover the log with sugar. Slice into 1/2-inch rounds, place on the prepared sheet and sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of flaky salt. Repeat with the remaining log.

Bake for 6 minutes or until the top is barely set and just beginning to crack. Be sure to watch the cookies carefully as they will go from perfectly soft to perfectly crispy quite fast.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar August 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm

These are so pretty! Love this idea :)

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Melissa {Being a Bear} August 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm

They ARE pretty, and I love that they still look a little moist and brownie-ey. One of my issues with refrigerator cookies is that they can be a little dry – I’m a gooey cookie girl, all the way. But these look like they could win me over!

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Riley August 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm

These are so cute and look so yummy!

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Greg August 24, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Yep, a couple of these look to be the perfect 4:00 chocolate hit… and the sparkling sugar…how good is that?

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Elaine@JoinMeForDinner August 25, 2012 at 11:17 am

Wow! I just put these on my “to-do” list for today. Thanks for sharing!

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Talley August 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm

These cookies would go well with bocce ball in the park. Or perhaps with tea in the apartment. Or maybe packed up in a little ziploc and carried along on a hike. Maybe these cookies just make good company. I love refrigerator/freezer friendly cookies, because it means I can bake a few at a time, a few for each adventure. Yum! Thanks for sharing.

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Lillie August 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Yes! All these activities sound like the perfect match for the sparkle cookie.

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joana September 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm

These are absolutely gorgeous – I had a stab at them today and though they look less perfect than yours Lillie, they still look delightful! They are quite soft though, in a crumbly way, though they’re completely cooled down… Is that the right texture? Or are they supposed to have a bit of a crunch to them?

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Lillie September 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Thank you Joana! I have made these cookies on multiple occasions and the texture is similar to a brownie – soft, chewy but with a bit of a bite. I would think that if they were a little on the crumbly side, perhaps they were over baked? You want to take them out when the tops just look dry around the edges but are still a tad wet-looking in the middle. Keep them on the pan for several minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. I’m happy to hear they were delicious at least and I hope this helps for future batches!!

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Lillie September 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Or just had another thought! Perhaps too much flour or cocoa was added. That could make them crumbly as well. Do you have a kitchen scale?

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joana September 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Thanks! I expected them to have a bit of a crunch to them but still be soft inside – I baked them for a little longer, taking them out when they’re still soft when warm, and they were absolutely perfect!

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Lillie September 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Yay!!!

Sophia December 2, 2012 at 4:26 am

These look absolutely amazing, if the dark colour of the cookies is any indication of how chocolatey these are, I will have to bake these! And here I was researching healthified shortbread type cookies, lol.

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Leslie December 15, 2012 at 10:32 am

Hi I am planning to make these tomorrow but wanted to make sure I’m using the right kind of cocoa…I assume since you’re using baking powder not baking soda, I should used dutch process cocoa but wanted to make sure. Hope to hear from you soon!

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Lillie December 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Yes, you are right on – this recipe uses unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder. Thank you for your question and I’ll update the recipe now for future readers. Enjoy and happy baking! xo

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Lily February 19, 2013 at 6:32 pm

So, I found this page yesterday, and they just came out of the oven– clearly I couldn’t wait. I have to say though, these are worth the wait! These are very dense, first of all. When first out of the oven, they are fudgey and delicious (and obviously extremely chocolatey). I used Lindt 72% truffles, which was perfect because the centers melted, but the shells stayed whole, leaving little bits of chocolate left in each cookie.

Because I couldn’t afford special sugar and salt (though it looks beautiful!) I used regular granulated sugar on the outside, and leftover Himalayan Pink Rock Salt on top. i thought my salt crystals were a bit too big, even though I didn’t use that many on each, but the sugar is pretty, sparkly and delicate looking.

Next time I might add more chocolate, as the cookies are more and more crumbly as they cool, and they’re tasting a bit like pure cocoa powder– I think some extra fat would help significantly. They may have baked half a minute too long, too. If you have a timer that counts seconds, use it here, because each second could mean a big difference.

Overall, very yummy, easy and, because of their size, whimsical. I’ll be making them again soon!

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Lillie March 1, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Thank you so much for this lovely review! Glad to hear they were enjoyed. xo

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Candace July 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

You do not specify if dark brown sugar or light brown sugar should be used. Does it make a difference?

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Lillie July 8, 2013 at 10:07 am

Either type should work fine. Dark sugar just has a bit higher moisture content (due to more molasses) but in these cookies, I don’t think it will make a difference in the end result. Happy baking!

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