These soft and crackly cookies are a staple in Italian bakeries. The espresso powder is there to complement and elevate the chocolate--it's subtle but totally worth it. For a variation, try spiking these with 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a small bowl.
Microwave the chocolate and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl in 1-minute increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Alternatively, put the chocolate and butter in a medium heat-proof bowl and set over a medium pot filled with about 2 inches of water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Bring the water to a low simmer over medium heat and warm the butter and chocolate, stirring, until melted and smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Beat the brown sugar and eggs with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until thick, about 2 minutes. Scrape the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and beat until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Refrigerate the dough until firm, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Put the confectioners' sugar in a small bowl. Scoop out tablespoonfuls of the dough and roll them into balls. Refrigerate half the dough balls. Toss the remaining balls in the sugar, coating them very generously (you shouldn't see any dough peeking through). Arrange the balls about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake until the cookies spread, the tops are dull in color and cracked and the edges are firm, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When the baking sheets are cool, repeat with the remaining dough balls. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
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