Day 239: Chocolava Cookies


The best thing about lasagna is that there are almost always leftovers the next day. And it’s easy enough to reheat in my toaster oven, since I finally ditched the microwave. But that’s another story.

But I felt sort of empty around suppertime, having not actually made anything all day. I should have revelled in it, but instead I made cookies. (This is not actually a big deal; having had a cookie bakery and cranked out 100 dozen cookies in a night, one little batch is a snap. I actually make a little game of challenging myself to turn on the oven and then mix up the dough and get it onto the sheets before it’s preheated. Like a cookie race. I have a very exciting life. It’s very exciting.)

And then I got all nostalgic and started thinking about the very first cookies I made for my bakery, One Smart Cookie, which I built when I was 25 on the 8th floor of an old office building downtown. (Another really long story.) These were by far my biggest sellers – low fat brownie-like cookies that before I found my bakery space I used to bake in my apartment and smuggle out to the coffee shops I supplied in a laundry basket covered with towels while my landlord stood in the foyer and scowled at me. I pretended I was a clean freak. I’m not.

I originally made these for my dad, who tends toward high cholesterol and tries to limit his saturated fat intake; my nephew named them chocolava when he was 7 because of their crackly resemblance to lava. I almost got Subway to carry these. But that’s yet another story. Anyway, I haven’t made them in ages, and it occurred to me that it’s a recipe y’all should have.

Also, I just wanted something chocolate.

Don’t overbake these. You want them to be chewy, like you would a chocolate chip cookie or a molasses-ginger cookie; that means that they should come out of the oven set around the edges, but still soft in the middle. They will firm up as they cool, so if they are set all the way through, they may be soft while they’re hot, but won’t be once they’ve cooled off. These are rich, intensely chocolate, brownie-like cookies, rolled in icing sugar before they’re baked to create a crackled surface as they rise and spread in the oven. They’re also low fat.

Chocolava Cookies


August 26, 2008


1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp. vanilla

icing sugar, for rolling


1Preheat oven to 350°F.

2In a large bowl or in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt, breaking up any lumps of brown sugar. Add the butter and pulse or stir with a fork, pastry cutter or whisk until the mixture is well combined and crumbly.

3Add the eggs and vanilla and stir by hand just until the dough comes together. The dough will be fairly dry – it will seem at first that there isn’t enough moisture, but if you keep stirring, or get in there and use your fingers, eventually it will come together.

4Place a few heaping spoonfuls of icing sugar into a shallow dish. Roll dough into 1 1/2” balls and roll the balls in icing sugar to coat. Place them about 2” apart on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 12–14 minutes, until just set around the edges but still soft in the middle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

5Makes 20 cookies.


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14 comments on “Day 239: Chocolava Cookies

  1. maplesugar
    August 27, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Love the Chocolava cookies! Deeelicious without being super bad for you. Ali(my 7yo) loves that they’re sooo moist and gooey 🙂

  2. Sue
    August 27, 2008 at 9:30 am

    I make these all the time! Love them. In fact, I just had a tray of them on my desk at work on Monday and have brought them often enough that everyone knows they’re low fat and delicious!

  3. Dana
    August 27, 2008 at 10:51 am

    I remember that you gave me a box of these cookies the first time we met – they are freakin’ fantastic!

  4. Cheryl
    August 27, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Yum… how come you didn’t make these on the show? I caught it at 4 am this morning while nursing, it was all about cookies. Late night/early morning cookie fix required for me.

  5. schep
    August 27, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    I just LOVE your blog….stumbled across it looking for some canadian recipes as I am a canadian no win the US and we check it out every day…just made these, as they reminded me of these Chocolate Crackles my mum used to make,but she used a cake mix then rolled them in the icing sugar…just made your recipe, and fantastic!
    thank you so much!

  6. Pouchi
    October 3, 2009 at 12:04 am

    HI, I bought your book One Smart Cookie last year and never had a chance to make anu recipes and today I decided and did these delicious chocolava cookies and everyone loves them! I regret not doing these before and now I want to make a bunch of your recipes =) thanks for these amazing cookies hehe

  7. Angela
    December 8, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    My mom used to make these cookies. these Yummy ones and gi gersnaps were the first cookies I ever made for other ppl. Yumm!

  8. Elizabeth
    January 1, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Hi Julie,

    There is a recipe in the Gooseberry Patch cookbook -” Coming Home for Christmas ” – ISBN #1-888052-20-1 UPC #9781888052206 for Lemon Bites on page 198. This recipe makes cookies that look exactly like your chocolava cookies when used with a chocolate cake mix with less ingredients and fewer steps. It only calls for 1cake mix, 1 egg, 4oz non-dairy whipped topping and the powdered sugar to roll the balls of dough in before baking them. I made these in 8 different cake mix flavors about 4 years ago for christmas – easy and inexpensive with their version anyway.

  9. Beevi
    August 23, 2010 at 12:52 am

    hi Julie, I made these cookies over the weekend. However, the batter was not the gooey type. Mine turned out to be the crumbly type and was slightly sticky and it was difficult to get the cookie shape as it keeps falling apart.

    I followed your receipe except for two things – I omited the 1 cup sugar and only used 1/3 cup brown sugar and I used vanilla powder instead of vanilla essence. I forgot to beat the white eggs too. Could this be the reason why the batter was crumbly instead of gooey?

  10. Cherilyn
    January 28, 2011 at 10:26 am

    These cookies are delicious! Thank you for sharing them! They are satisfying without being too rich or sugary. Yummy!

  11. claudine
    January 31, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I think I over baked them a little. but it’s still taste great! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

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