These cookies are pretty much everything you want in a brownie. They have that crinkley top with lightly crisp edges, but when you sink your teeth into them you’re greeted with a chewy & fudgy center. Their chocolatey-ness is elevated by adding subtle amounts of espresso powder, almond extract, and sea salt, none of which take center stage. Instead, they add depth & dimension to our lead actor: chocolate.
The procedure for making these cookies resembles the process you’d use for brownie batter more than it does cookie dough. The main differences being that semisweet chocolate is melted with generous amounts of Melt butter, VeganEgg is beat with white & brown sugar until light & airy, and the cookies are “whacked” on the countertop half-way through baking to encourage cracking. The final batter will resemble that of brownies, which is exactly what you want because these are essentially brownies in cookie form!
Before we dive into the recipe, let’s take a look at why each step is so important:
- Vigorously whipping the VeganEgg & sugar mixture is the only time we’ll be able to incorporate a significant amount of air into the batter. Not that we want cakey brownies, but we also don’t want brownies that are hard as a brick. By whipping plenty of air into the egg and sugar mixture, we balance out the thick fudginess introduced later with melted chocolate.
- Sifting dry ingredients will help them incorporate into the batter quicker, preventing us from beating out too much air and safeguarding us from creating tough brownies, which are not the same as chewy brownies.
- Using a double-broiler to melt the chocolate is important because chocolate can go from melted to burnt, separated, and completely ruined in a matter of minutes over direct heat. Chocolate responds best to all-around heat, which is why microwaves, heating pads, and ganaches where hot liquid is poured over the chocolate all work so well. However – as long as you stir frequently – a double-broiler is a safe & fast method.
- Whacking the cookies on the countertop may sound like a strange step, but it’s actually a useful tip we picked up from Tasty 101. When it comes to regular brownies, whacking them prevents the edges from being more elevated than the center, but for these cookies, whacking them creates more cracks on top. All you do is take your cookie sheet and bang it against the counter a few times! Aesthetics are important, and hey, what can we say – slamming a cookie sheet on the counter is pretty fun!
That about covers all of the essentials. Technicalities aside, these brownie cookies are easy, fun, and quick to whip together. With a batter so divine you’ll contemplate on even baking it and a final product containing the perfect balance of chewy, fudgy, and crispy characteristics, these may just be your new favorite cookies. At first, the flavor appears to be straight up chocolate, but then those nutty tones from almond extract creep up on you and, right after that, the sides of your mouth begin to tingle from the bright & eccentric espresso powder. Sea salt flakes keep everything in check by rounding out espresso & almond’s high notes and accentuating chocolate’s earthiness. In the end you have a cookie so sensual, deep, and balanced that it raises the bar for what a perfect cookie should be.
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Say Hello to Your New Favorite Cookie
Fudgy Brownie Crackle Cookies with Espresso, Almond, and Sea Salt Accents (vegan)
Almond extract, espresso powder, and sea salt flakes elevate chocolate's robust flavor while a lightly crisp exterior is balanced with a rich & chewy interior.
- 7 oz semisweet chocolate chips (60-70% cacao)
- 4.5 oz (1/2 c + 1 tbsp) vegan butter
- 2 tsps espresso powder*
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 120 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- 15 grams (3 tbsps) dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsps packed VeganEgg powder* + 6 tbsps cold water
- 96 grams (1/2 cup) cane sugar
- 96 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar
- large sea salt flakes, for topping
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder into a medium mixing bowl. Add 1/2 tsp salt on top as it doesn’t sift well (if you use sea salt).
- Bring 2 cups of water to a heavy simmer in a pot over medium-high heat. Add chocolate chips and butter to a metal bowl that sits snugly on top of the pot. Once water’s at a simmer, place bowl on top of pot and stir until chocolate and butter have just melted; don’t heat for any longer than necessary.
- Remove bowl from heat and stir in espresso powder, vanilla, and almond extract. Cover with a tea towel to keep warm.
- Combine VeganEgg powder with water in the bowl of stand-up mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large mixing bowl with an electric hand whisk. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, light in color, and frothy – about 3 minutes – scraping down the sides & bottom with a spatula a couple times to eliminate clumps.
- Reduce speed to medium and slowly pour in cane sugar followed by brown sugar. Scrape down the sides and boost to high speed for 3 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low and drizzle in chocolate mixture until smooth. Replace whisk with paddle attachment, scrape down the sides, and add in all of the dry ingredients. Turn to low speed and beat until just incorporated & smooth, scraping down the sides at least once.
- Scoop out 2 tablespoon portions of dough onto your prepped baking sheet, with at least 2 inches between each cookie. Baking in two separate batches, place cookies in the oven for 7 minutes, remove, whack the pan on the counter 4 heavy times, sprinkle with a pinch of large sea salt flakes, and bake for another 4 minutes.
- Cool cookies on sheet for 10 minutes then use a spatula to carefully transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat baking procedure for second batch.
- Note: the cookies will be very soft when they come out of the oven – that’s perfect! If they’re set when they come out, they’ll be dry & stiff when they cool. If they come out soft, they’ll be lightly crisp on the outside and perfectly fudgy on the inside later.
- Note #2: Because our oven bakes unevenly, we work in two different batches to avoid overcooking or undercooking either pan of cookies. However, if you trust your oven, you can bake the cookies at the same time on the top & bottom rack – just rotate and switch the pans after you whack them.
- Let them rest on the cooling rack for at least 20 minutes before devouring, however they’ll continue to crisp & set-up for an hour after they come out of the oven.
- Cover with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
*Espresso powder is not the same thing as ground espresso. Espresso powder is made from dehydrated espresso crystals that dissolve easily in moisture, unlike ground espresso, which will remain gritty in a batter. You can find espresso powder – sometimes labeled as instant espresso powder – in many grocery stores (such as Whole Foods) or online!
*We don’t recommend VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart because we’re sponsored by them – we aren’t. We recommend you use their product because it’s unlike any other egg replacement on the market, with the possible exception of Just Egg, which we’ve yet to try. The way VeganEgg incorporates air, sets up, binds, and browns is the closest thing we’ve found to real eggs. Unfortunately, flax eggs, chia eggs, applesauce, peanut butter, and even aquafaba won’t achieve the same results VeganEgg will. If you can’t find it at a local market, we strongly suggest you order it online; it’s a little bit on the pricier side, but it lasts a long time and the results it produces are worth it.
*Recipe adapted from Tasty’s Peppermint Brownie Cookies. Thanks for the consistent inspiration, knowledge, and creativity Tasty!