In a year when more people than ever took up baking at home, these four North Forkers went even further: They’ve turned their home-baked treats into thriving small businesses. Some have been professional pastry chefs for years while others have perfected their desserts in their own kitchen. To help celebrate the holidays, we asked each to share a festive cookie recipe. Whether you buy your treats from these bakers or make them in your own home, we hope they bring you comfort and joy.
Debra Underwood has been a baker for the past 25 years, but started Red Velvet Cupcakery six years ago. After baking desserts for parties for friends, word of her delicious pastries got around. “Someone would go to a party where they had my cake or cookies. Next thing, they’re ordering from me and it just kind of snowballed from there.” Once the pandemic slowed her business a bit, Underwood switched to an at-home delivery model with a rotating weekly menu called Red Velvet At Your Door.
Underwood makes these chocolate crackle cookies as a tribute to her oldest sister, who died 10 years ago. “She would always get stuck making the chocolate crackle cookies and would complain ‘I have to do these again this year? My hands are a mess!’ ” Underwood said. “But she would sit there and roll them, and my kids would just laugh hysterically.” She still makes them every year for her now-grown kids, “mostly because of that memory.”
Chocolate Crackle Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips, divided
- 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. spearmint extract (optional)
- 2 eggs
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside. Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips in a bowl over a pot of hot water, stir until smooth.
- In a mixer with paddle (or hand mixer), beat butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and extracts. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add into the mixer one at a time.
- Gradually spoon in the dry mixture until combined and fold in remaining chips.
- Divide the dough in half. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove one of the halves of dough from the fridge. Roll the dough into 1 ½ -inch balls and then in confectioners’ sugar. Return to the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Place 12 dough balls evenly spaced on a cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes until cookies begin to “crackle.” Let stand for 5 minutes on a cookie sheet before removing to cool completely.