On Valentine’s day, when I was a kid, my mom would stock the dining room table with supplies: colored paper, scraps of old lace, silk ribbon, glitter, glue, photographs, scissors, and my brother and I would happily spend hours creating handmade Valentines for everyone we loved. “Dear Pinky the cat, will you be my Valentine? Because I love you. – Laurel” It was a creative, fun, affectionate holiday celebrating all our loved-ones: grandmothers and neighbors and pets alike.
Then, television commercials and bad romantic comedies ruined everything. I became indoctrinated with the idea that V-day should be filled passionate confessions of secret love, diamonds and lingerie. By the time I was old enough to wish I had a boyfriend, the day became undeniable proof that nobody loved me. I was gangly and wore glasses bigger than my face and towered 10 inches over any boy in my class, but surely, I thought, someone was harboring a secret, soul-crushing infatuation for me… Surely?
By the time I got contact lenses and a boyfriend, I also decided I was a rebel, uninterested in boring, conformist holidays such as Valentine’s Day. But still, none of my poor boyfriends could ever get it right. If they attempted any “romantic” gesture they would be bitterly scorned for their “sheep-like adherence to a stupid social norm,” but if they ignored the holiday altogether I would silently decide they were lazy and worthless human beings incapable of true love, and therefore unworthy of mine.
Fortunately I married an Italian, whose ignorance of the holiday I forgave him as a cultural idiosyncrasy, and we proceeded to happily ignore the holiday together. Until now. This year, I’ve decided to turn Valentine’s Day back into the creative, fun and affectionate holiday I remember as a child. Only, instead of glitter and glue I will be using sugar and butter to prove my love to my dear ones. These little cookies are easy to make, good-looking, and addictively delicious, perfect for packaging in a heart-shaped tin on Valentine’s day and giving away to all your loved ones: grandparents and pets included.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- 1 cup (90 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups (300 g) white sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 g) vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (120 g) confectioners’ sugar
For approximately 50 cookies
Beat together the cocoa powder, white sugar, and vegetable oil until it comes together into a gritty dough. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat in thoroughly.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix into the chocolate mixture on low speed until just combined. Do not overmix. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for four hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pour the confectioner’s sugar in a bowl. Roll the chilled dough into 1-inch (2.5 cm) sized balls using your hands. Roll the balls in the confectioner’s sugar and place on the cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to cool a minute or two on the sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.