(MAKES 2 DOZEN)
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
1¾ cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed
*In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the oil, granulated sugar, applesauce, cocoa powder, and vanilla and mix until well combined.
* In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt using a wire whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Put the dough into a resealable plastic bag or a small bowl covered with plastic wrap and freeze until well chilled, about 1 hour. It will be sticky. (Alternatively, chill in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.)
* Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
* Place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Lightly flour your hands with additional confectioners’ sugar, scoop out 1-inch balls of dough, and roll them into perfect balls. Drop into the bowl of confectioners’ sugar and roll until completely covered with sugar. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes, until the cookies are just set. Do not overbake. Cool completely on the baking sheets. These may be stored up to 3 days in an airtight container.