James hosted his first Wine and Unwind for the production of Ibsen’s “The Master Builder” that he’s rehearsing at BAM. (Details here.) He tells me that this week’s cookies were inspired by a passage in which Halvard Solness is talking about his start as The Master Builder:
SOLNESS. It’s about a small crack in a chimney flue.
HILDE. Just a crack.
SOLNESS. Yes, at the beginning.
HILDE. A small crack in a chimney flue.
It was late in the day, and everyone’s brains were fried. As James tells it, “The director [Andrei Belgrader] started making “crack” jokes. One thing lead to another, and we were all laughing hysterically. He would say ‘James, you have to “Crack the whip!’ Someone else chimed in with ‘You crack me up,’ and it went from there to a point that you knew rehearsal was over.” Anyone who’s ever been in rehearsal knows those sorts of days . . .
So, in honor of the crack jokes, James offered Cracked Top Chocolate Ginger Cookies for last week’s Wine and Unwind, pairing it with a nice Chianti Riserva.
Cracked Top Chocolate Ginger Cookies
1/2 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 stick (4 ounces) margarine
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup candied ginger, finely chopped
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
1 cup confectioners sugar
1.Melt the butter, margarine and unsweetened chocolate in a stainless steel bowl placed over a pot of boiling water, stirring until smooth; let cool for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350; line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk the eggs into the butter mixture, then stir into the dry ingredients until incorporated; stir in the ginger and chocolate chips.
3. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a wide bowl. Shape half of the dough into 1-inch balls, then coat with the confectioners’ sugar. Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake, switching and rotating the pans after about 10 minutes, until the cookies puff and crack, 14 to 17 minutes total. Let cool for a minute before transferring to racks to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough.
Makes 3 1/2 dozen