Chocolate Crack Cookies from David Lebovitz, Ready for Dessert

by on April 27, 2010

Warning: These chocolate cookies are crack, just like the title and photo suggests (but it isn’t really the hard stuff in the photo.  Powdered sugar and palm sugar were the prop fill ins.)

Need your chocolate cookie fix?  Here’s a little something for you adapted from the latest book of the dessert masterDavid Lebovitz, “Ready for Dessert“.

David’s chocolate crack cookies are highly addictive chocolate bombs of ecstasy that he originally crafted in the kitchen of Chez Panisse.  He innocently claims the name comes from the “craggy fissures.” At that time it was more appropriate to come up with a safer name for the masses for these incredible chocolate cookies, so there were several aliases used on the menus.

Sounds kinda fishy to us.  We think he knew all along how addicting these chocolate cookies are and how they will leave you a mess until you get your next chocolate hit.

David’s original chocolate crack cookie recipe calls for sending a mass of almonds through the food processor be pulverized, however our food processor is amongst the dearly departed so a little improvisation took place.  After the cash for a replacement has been pried from our grips, we can’t wait to try his original recipe, but until then this adaptation it more than enough to make any chocolate cookie craving quietly purr in submission.

Luxardo~our libation of choice.  More to come on this liquor!

Dark chocolate lovingly melted down with a little butter. Add a libation of choice.  Macerate some tart dried cherries (another adaptation). A little flour, egg, sugar, baking powder.  Roll in granulated sugar and powdered sugar and bake.  Shivers from pure radiant joy.

Don’t forget to check out David’s latest and greatest, Ready for Dessert.  It’s a collection of David’s favorite recipes, spanning cakes, pies, frozen desserts, cookies, candies and some incredible sauces and preserves.  The book combines incredible dessert recipes with David’s sage guidance and witty humor.

Step -by- Step Recipe Photographs

Chop and put chocolate into a bain marie

Add liquor and gently melt

Chocolate mix and Whipped egg/sugar mix (ribbon stage)

Add chocolate mix into whipped egg/sugar mix

Sift in dry ingredient, mix, then chill

Roll dough into ball, then coat with sugar, and powdered sugar

Ready, set, bake!

Chocolate Crack Cookie Recipe

Yield: 24-30 Cookies

Total Time: 3 hours

Adapted from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month. These chocolate cookies are best eaten while still warm (aren't most cookies) or at least the same day.


  • 4-6 oz (112-170 g) dried Tart Cherries
  • @1/4 c (60 ml) Liquor of Choice to Macerate Cherries
  • 8 oz (225 g) Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 3 T (45 g) unsalted Butter
  • 1 1/2 T (22 ml) Liquor (we preferred a cherry liquor~Luxardo)
  • 2 lrg Eggs, room temp.
  • 1/3 c (65 g) Granulated Sugar (+ extra for coating cookies)
  • 3/4 c (100 g) Flour
  • 1/2 t (3 g) Baking Powder
  • 1/4 t (1 g) Sea Salt
  • Powdered Sugar (for coating cookies)


  1. Combine the dried cherries and 1/4 c of liquor in a small bowl to macerate (the longer you can do this ahead of time, the better). Set aside.
  2. Combine the dark chocolate, butter, and 1 1/2T of liquor in a medium bowl.  Place over a pot of simmering water to gently melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the heat.
  3. Drain the liquor from the cherries, then add them into the melted chocolate mix.
  4. In a stand mixer, combine eggs and 1/3 c sugar and whip on high until the mixture forms a well-defined ribbon when the whisk attachment is lifted out (@ 5 min).  Using a spatula, add the chocolate-cherry mix to the whipped egg-sugar mix. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a sifter and sift into the batter. Mix just until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until firm (1-2 hours).
  5. Position oven racks in the upper and lower third locations. Preheat oven to 325°F.

  6. Pour granulated sugar in a small bowl and pour powdered sugar in a separate small bowl. Form chocolate cookies into 1" (3cm) balls. Toss in granular sugar, then roll in powdered sugar to coat.  Put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat spaced about 1" apart.
  7. Bake for 6 minutes then rotate the cookies sheets and bake for another 6-8 minutes. Cookies should still be slightly firm on the edges and fairly soft in the centers. Don't overbake them.
  8. Let the cookies cool on the sheet pan until firm enough to handle then transfer to a cooling rack. Eat 'em as soon as they are cooled past the chocolate napalm level.
Recipe Source:

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

Other cookies recipes you might enjoy:

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Divina April 27, 2010 at 1:30 am

That’s really gorgeous. Double the indulgence and just simply irresistible.


2 Carina April 27, 2010 at 2:49 am

They look so delicious, i’ll be craving them all day long!! I don’t think I can find dried cherries where I live, how could addapt the recipe? Maybe other dried fruit, or add more chocolate? Thanks!


3 Jessica @ How Sweet April 27, 2010 at 3:52 am

Gorgeous! Those cookies just look to-die-for.


4 Phoo-D April 27, 2010 at 6:01 am

Oh my do those ever look good. I usually don’t crave chocolate but I think these would do me in.


5 Denise@There's a Newf in My Soup! April 27, 2010 at 7:41 am

I love Luxardo and recently used some in my Dark Cherry Mocha Cream Cookies, inspired by Starbucks’ Dark Cherry Mocha! But I like the cracked effect on yours.


6 Barbara @ April 27, 2010 at 7:52 am

Quite the photo kids…in more ways than one; including the colorized spatula. Crack indeed! Oh, and great sounding cookies too!


7 Dawn (KitchenTravels) April 27, 2010 at 8:09 am

Naughty, naughty. ;)


8 ashley April 27, 2010 at 8:10 am

we call them chocolate crinkles and they are by far my all time favorite cookie… basically tastes like a brownie! soooo good!! yours look so pretty!


9 Manggy April 27, 2010 at 8:39 am

Oh man, cherries *and* cherry liquor *and* dark chocolate sounds like a (drug-induced) dream to me. There’s a reason cherry cordials are always the first confections I take out of the box! :)


10 Delia April 27, 2010 at 8:57 am

I love DL and have loved his new book. I dedicated a blog post to the Absolute Best Brownies and you know what, they were! No false advertising there. I look forward to trying these as well as all the other recipes contained in those drool inducing pages.


11 Holly April 27, 2010 at 9:31 am

OK, these just went to the top of my to-do list. They look and sound absolutely amazing.


12 Nicole Spasiano April 27, 2010 at 10:02 am

I love step by step photos. Your photos are so beautiful. I love getting to see more of them when you do the step by step blog posts.


13 Nicole April 27, 2010 at 10:05 am

I don’t usually go for the hard stuff, but these cookies might just send me over the edge. I too am loving Ready for Dessert. I have already made the brownies and chocolate chip cookies, what’s next…probably don’t need to ask!


14 deb April 27, 2010 at 10:08 am

How I love these photos! They’re absolutely stunning. But is that a lame? I just… I can’t … figure it out! I am thinking way too hard about this, I can tell.


15 White on Rice Couple April 27, 2010 at 1:48 pm

deb- thank you! and yes, it is a lame!


16 Michael July 15, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I love the photos also….what is a lame? : )


17 White on Rice Couple July 15, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Thanks. In response to your question, a lame is that funky looking curved razor blade (with the yellow handle in the first photo.) It’s used to slice the tops of proofed loaves of bread, but also makes a nice prop for culinary crack. ;)


18 Sara @ OurPrivateKitchen April 27, 2010 at 10:34 am

Holy Moly those look amazing!! I love that this adaption is “more than enough to make any chocolate cookie craving quietly purr in submission”. I may just have to check out ‘Ready for Dessert’!


19 Brooke @ Food Woolf April 27, 2010 at 10:56 am

I wish I could say this recipe is too hard for me, but now that you’ve shown me (step by step, no less!) just how easy it is to make this addictive little nuggets I fear I’ll have to sign up and make David’s Crack Cookies.

I LOVE Luxardo (thanks to you two) and use it where ever I can. Literally.


20 Charles G Thompson April 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I just got the book and this may now be the first recipe I try. Wonderful post; great photos!


21 Dominic April 27, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I’m addicted just by looking at them! The photos are awesome BTW :)


22 Alessio April 27, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Definitely decadent cookie… A lonely pleasure for those sinful nights au clair de lune ;-)


23 Marc @ NoRecipes April 27, 2010 at 7:52 pm

I would totally snort those! Sooo much chocolate!


24 Kathy Diaz (foundbaking) April 27, 2010 at 8:48 pm

As always, pictures are lovely. I used to eat these cookies a lot when I was a kid. Agree that they are addicting!


25 emily s April 28, 2010 at 12:59 am

Love the photos and the commentary : ) I will definitely be making these, uhm, tomorrow? ; ))


26 Patricia Scarpin April 28, 2010 at 6:52 am

I love mixing chocolate and dried cherries, they go so well together. Wonderful cookies and stunning photos, as usual!


27 Cookin' Canuck April 28, 2010 at 10:22 am

I love the tongue-in-cheek photo. These cookies really do look addictive. I would like to try crystallized ginger in them.


28 Angela@spinachtiger April 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I’m a cherry chocolate fanatic, so I’ll be hooked very easily.


29 justcooknyc April 28, 2010 at 1:48 pm

i have such a crush on cookies like these. i love how they look. great photos.


30 Kelly April 28, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Your props in the first picture crack me up and the other photos are just mouthwatering. Looking at them you don’t have to work hard to convince me that these are like crack!


31 Sara April 28, 2010 at 5:35 pm

ooo i love the design of that first picture! So creative with the sugars and name of the cookie, brilliant you two.


32 matt April 29, 2010 at 9:49 am

Baaa ring it. This is fantastic guys! And holy cow, awesome photography. Love the contrast in the first shot.


33 Kaitlin April 29, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Very, very clever presentation. I always love your photos :)


34 Whitney April 29, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Food-styling with an intervention edge. I like it, a lot.


35 Lori Lynn April 29, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Wow! Bravo! You guys are crack crazy! So cutting edge, so inspiring…I’m addicted.


36 Sherry April 30, 2010 at 4:03 am

Seiously, before i started reading the post i thought “these people really have problems”


37 White on Rice Couple May 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Sherry- actually we do have problems, especially when it comes to powdered sugar!


38 Jessica (Pie of the Tiger) April 30, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Yum! Clever idea with the first photo, and I love the addition of the cherries. I used to make a chocolate chip and dried cranberry biscuit recipe from one of the Death by Chocolate books that was shockingly tasty, and now I’m wondering how cranberries would work in these. I may have to try it!


39 SD May 1, 2010 at 4:27 am

Love the main picture, genius.


40 Gaby May 1, 2010 at 6:08 pm

hahaha love the picture!!! And these look like crack cookies for sure… if left alone in a room with these, I am fairly certain that I would eat ever last one of them!


41 Aparna May 2, 2010 at 1:37 am

These cookies look beautiful. I love chocolate and if the recipe is from David Lebovitz they have to be very good.


42 Elisabet Figueras May 2, 2010 at 11:47 am

As always, the photography is awesome. I love all recipes from David and this seems delicious.
Thank you very much.


43 marla {family fresh cooking} May 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Not only chocolate but cherries too?? My, my. Yup, crack indeed. Nice work! great photos. Love how these babies are coated in two sugars.


44 Talia May 3, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Love that first photo! I’m a total chocolate addict so as far as I’m concerned there can be no ambiguity about the meaning of this cookie’s name!


45 Audrey in Oregon May 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I soaked my cherries in raspberry liquour cuz I don’t have any of the Luxardo (tho I plan to get some very soon) then underbaked them (more like 11 minutes total). They are absolutely addictive as the name suggests. The dough is a little sticky to work with, so I formed it into a disc, froze it, and then made the balls from the frozen dough. Did you have that problem, Diane? I loved your pictures and description.


46 White on Rice Couple May 7, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Audrey –
Actual Todd is the one who makes these. He’s the baking fiend of the house. Here’s what he said:
“The dough is sticky, especially at room temp. For our cookie dough I chilled it in the fridge for an hour for the initial batch and it was easy to handle, but the remaining dough which chilled overnight was even easier to work with. It almost needed to warm up a bit to form into balls.”
Hope that helps. Enjoy!


47 Runeatrepeat May 12, 2010 at 11:04 am

You had me at chocolate. But really had me at crack…


48 betty May 12, 2010 at 5:54 pm

these look fantastic! and i love your fill in prop.. :P


49 Jen May 19, 2010 at 7:19 pm

triple YUM!


50 megan May 30, 2010 at 6:35 am

May I have a line, uh… I mean cookie?


51 Lo May 30, 2010 at 7:09 am

So I’m a little confused about the recipe vs. photo. I don’t see the macerated cherries anywhere in the photos. Do they need to be chopped, pureed to otherwise changed before putting into the dough? Dried cherries are so chewy I can’t really imagine them macerating sufficiently to break down themselves.


52 White on Rice Couple June 2, 2010 at 11:22 pm

The cherries are in there, just hidden amongst the luscious chocolate.
Nothing not mentioned in the recipe was done. Try it and you’ll see. The macerating helps rehydrate the cherries and baking is going to soften them more. Unless you have marbles of a dried cherries you’re using…
Sometimes experience is much more helpful than imagination.


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