Fernet is one of those things that you either love or you hate. If you’re reading this post, you’re likely the former. Of all the amari, Fernet Branca is the most iconic and it’s the flagship ingredient in these fernet chocolate espresso crinkle cookies. Original recipe credit goes to the now-defunct F&B Department, which featured baked goods recipes that used various spirits and liqueurs. This recipe is too good to let it fade away, so here is a slightly-modified version of the original recipe. You can use any fernet, however Fernet Branca adds a slight mintiness that works well with the chocolate and espresso.
For baking, it’s simplest to use an instant espresso powder. I use Medaglia D’Oro.
Combine all the dry ingredients except for the brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. You can use a sifter or simply use a whisk to combine them evenly.
In a separate bowl, add the brown sugar and butter. Cream with a hand or stand mixer. Disregard how much butter appears to be in this photo. I quadrupled the recipe, so all these corresponding photos may not seem to line up with the recipe below that makes about two dozen cookies.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients with the mixer set to low speed. Gradually add in the fernet. Having a separate glass of fernet to sip while doing so is perfectly acceptable.
Once combined, cover the dough in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least an hour. This dough is wet and sticky, so chilling it is essential to making it easier to work with. This hour-long break is a great opportunity to make a classic fernet cocktail, the Hanky-Panky.
- 1.5 ounces gin
- 1.5 ounces sweet vermouth
- 2-3 dashes fernet
- Combine ingredients in mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled.
- Strain and pour into chilled coupe or martini glass. Garnish with an expressed orange twist.
The chilled dough should be easier to work with. If making a large batch, only remove from the freezer a small portion of dough at a time. Use a scoop or even a large knife to divide the dough into pieces approximately 1″. Roll the dough in powdered sugar after forming into balls.
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 teaspoons espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60% cacoa; melted and cooled)
- 3 tablespoons Fernet Branca
- powdered sugar
- Combine the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt) in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar, then add egg.
- Mix the melted chocolate into the wet ingredients.
- With a mixer set to low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and Fernet to the wet ingredients.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze for a minimum of one hour.
- Scoop and shape the dough into 1” balls, and roll in a bowl with powdered sugar to cover the entire surface.
- Place dough balls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 350° F for approximately 12 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack and optionally dust with more powdered sugar.
- If you like this recipe, Imbibe magazine also has a recipe for fernet cookies. Their recipe makes more of a gingerbread-style cookie.
- Instant Espresso Powder – I tend to be a purist with ingredients, and while I’d never use this to make a coffee drink, it is perfect for baking. The extremely small granules dissolve easily.
- OXO On Digital Hand Mixer with Illuminating Headlight
- Wire Mesh Strainer – The wire mesh strainer I use to dust the cookies with powdered sugar is a finer mesh than a standard cocktail strainer. A flour sifter would also work well.
- Ghirardelli Chocolate Unsweetened Cocoa
- Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips