Chocolate Crinkles

Please welcome guest author Garrett McCord as he shares some of his best-loved holiday chocolate crinkle cookies. ~Elise

One of the best parts about any holiday—be it Christmas, Thanksgiving, a birthday, Diwali, Columbus Day, whatever—is that you get an excuse to eat some of your favorite foods. For me, that means chocolate. Now, I’m generally not a big chocolate eater during the year, but when December rolls around it’s totally game on. The chilly weather and holiday spirit just make me crave it for some reason. That craving means I’m whipping up old favorites like chocolate peppermint bark cookies, truffles, and homemade hot chocolate.

It also means it’s time to make those adorable looking cookie fiend favorites, chocolate crinkles.

These chocolate crinkles are a holiday staple in winter, but are great any time of the year. Soft, devil’s food-like cakey cookies are rolled around in confectioner’s sugar. When they bake the dough rises and the chocolate dough peeks out in little crinkled fissures beneath the white sugar.

Crinkles are easy-peasy to throw together and make for a flashy addition to any cookie platter. A warning though: these cookies are so good and chocolaty they may not make the cocoa cravings go away. In fact, they might just make them worse. ;)

Chocolate Crinkles Recipe

  • Prep time: 4 hours, 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes approximately 50 cookies.

If you want, you can jazzify these cookies in a number of ways. Add some cinnamon to confectioner's sugar. Roll the cookies around in colored sprinkles or sugars. For something a little more exotic, pulse the confectioner's sugar in a food processor with 2 teaspoons of Earl Grey, chai tea, or matcha powder.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Method

1 In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (though you can do this with a wooden spoon, too) beat together the cocoa powder, white sugar, and vegetable oil until it comes together into a shiny, gritty, black dough of sorts.

2 Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds each. Add the vanilla and beat in thoroughly.

3 In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder if using. Mix into the chocolate mixture on low speed until just combined. Do not overbeat. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill the dough for four hours or overnight.

4 Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the confectioner's sugar in a wide bowl. Using a rounded teaspoon get clumps of the chilled dough and roll them into 1-inch (2.5 cm) sized balls using your hands. Roll the balls in the confectioner's sugar and place on the cookie sheets (you should be able to get 12-16 on each sheet). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool a minute or two on the sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

chocolate-crinkles-b1.jpg

66 Comments

  1. Jennifer

    These look suspiciously like the Panera Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles, for which I have been coveting a recipe. Do you think if I added peppermint extract and skipped the espresso, I could duplicate those?

    That sounds like a delicious experiment that would likely work extremely well. I say go for it. ~Garrett

  2. Jenny S

    Chocolate Crinkles are a stable in my family each Holiday season. My mom changes hers up a bit by using butter (since I think it originated from Land o Lakes) and no espresso powder.
    Either way they are yummy so perhaps I’ll try with different flavor additions next time.

  3. Sarah

    I’ve been making a version of these for a few years now that involves melted chocolate chips in the batter and more chocolate chips left intact in the cookies, and they are phenomenal. I made them with mint chocolate chips instead of regular semi-sweet. I would still use some vanilla extract in this recipe, though, because 2 tsp of peppermint extract might be a lot (a little tends to go a long way!).

  4. Margarita

    Oh! I made something like these! The only difference was that there was real chocolate instead of cocoa powder. They were very nice!

  5. Lyne

    I don’t know who originated this recipe but I have it in my Cookbook Digest from December 1992 and they took it from The International Chocolate Cookbook. That recipe uses semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chopped up, makes it more ‘fudgy brownie like balls of dough’ Oh so good! Nice variation but I am sticking with recipe I have.

    These have a slight devil’s food consistency. You never know, a different version might become your new favorite. ;) ~Garrett

  6. Nancy

    Thanks so much for the reminder of these fantastic, fudgy delights. My mom taught me how to make them many years ago, but I haven’t made them in a long time. She once made them and forgot to put in the chocolate. We wouldn’t recommend it.

  7. Sabah

    These look amazing! I really want to make them for my coworkers, but two of them are gluten-intolerant. Would this same recipe work with rice flour or other gluten-free flour? And if not would you happen to know what changes to make?

    I have never cooked gluten-free Sabah. I would suggest looking at some other recipes and trying this experiment yourself. Let us know your results! =) ~Garrett

  8. Diane T.

    Would love to try these with ground almonds replacing some of the flour. Sorry, Garrett – you must get tired of people wanting to tweak your recipes. I’m a fan of your Vanilla Garlic – enjoy following your adventures…Congrats, BTW!! ;)

    Diane, cooking is about YOUR taste. Tweak as you like. And thank you! -Garrett

  9. Rebekka

    I just made the dough for this and it is chilling in the fridge.

    Can I come with a little request? I noticed that you put the measurement in cm for those not conversant with inches. Can you do the same thing with the baking temperature? It’s not like I can’t look it up, (350 F is 175 C) but it’s nice when it’s included in the recipe.

    There is actually a measurement converter on the left sidebar for just that. -Garrett

  10. Lisa

    Thanks for this! I made them last night for a friend who doesn’t bake to bring to a holiday party. I made one fumble, though, and added 1 TABLEspoon of espresso powder – not a bad mistake at all…. they had a heavy coffee overtone to the chocolate. Very nice!

  11. Jynger

    Hmmm wonder what these would be like with Cadbury drinking chocolate in place of the cocoa–my friend recently used it in some brownies and they were sinfully delicious. Yummy!

  12. Anita

    Is Earl Grey powder just tea ground very fine, or is it a separate product?

    I meant straight Earl Grey, no powder exists. I think you just misread the comma. ;) ~Garrett

  13. Sarah

    Finally, a pretty cookie that I should be able to make! I weigh ingredients for baking. Do you scoop the cup into the flour bag or do you spoon it into the cup when you measure? Thanks.

    Always scoop flour into the cup with another spoon and level it off, otherwise you can have air pockets by just dipping the cup into the bag. ~Garrett

  14. Bruce Taylor

    Will be adding these to my Christmas baking list that already includes Scotch Oat Cakes, various shortbreads, small individual lemon cakes and candied toasted walnuts. Thanks. Bruce

  15. Regina

    Elise, my mom doesn’t know what espresso powder is and we want to make these cookies this weekend. They look so good.

    It’s instant espresso. You can leave it out or use 1/2 teaspoon of coffee extract. ~Garrett

  16. Susan Shelley

    I have been making these cookies as “Chocolate Crackles” for years. I use bittersweet baking chocolate instead of cocoa. I agree that these are the “best” cookies yet! Merry Christmas to All!

  17. Jeno

    I just made these and they’re incredibly yummy! I didn’t know what to expect but they’re much like cake-brownie-gooey cookies. I put the powder sugar into pie pans then shook the pan around to coat the cookie balls. I also sprayed my hands with some pam to keep my hands from transforming into chocolate hulk hands (I learned after the first batch). Thank you for the recipe!

  18. Cooking in Mexico

    I just mixed this up and the dough is chilling in the fridge.
    Instead of telling us how many cookies to place on one cookie sheet, it would have been better to tell us how many inches apart each cookie should be on the sheet. I have three different sized cookie sheets, so telling me how many cookies per sheet is not enough information.
    Also, so many of us use kitchen scales now for accurate amounts. Weights for each ingredient would be helpful.
    Your photo looks delicious, and I’m sure mine will turn out just as pretty and tasty.
    Thanks.

    Most people actually don’t use a scale at home so we don’t list the weight. I was trained in a restaurant kitchen and do things by scale myself and understand that it is more reliable and why you would want that instead, but 99% of home bakers do not so the recipe is written using cups and teaspoons.

    As for spacing, well, sometimes cooking and baking requires a bit of personal judgment. It is impossible for us to know how your oven runs, how to adjust for allergies, altitude, personal taste, your equipment and so on. As for the trays, most cookie trays generally fit 12 2-inch diameter wide cookies. If yours does not, well, adjust accordingly. =)

    ~Garrett

  19. lesterk

    I used to get a chocolate crinkle cookie here in Oakland that was less fudgy on the inside and more ‘melt in your mouth’, almost like it had a little bit of merengue mixed into it somehow. Does any one know of a crinkle cookie recipe like that?

  20. Kelly O

    My dough is chilling as I write. I am going to roll some of them in crushed candy canes. Yum, I can’t wait to try them!! Thanks for the recipe.

  21. Kelly K

    My mom and I made these this afternoon and by the taste of the chilling dough, I think they will be a hit! We thought about halving the recipe but figured we could always “give the extra away to the neighbors or something.” ;)

  22. Alison

    Trying to decide between these and the chocolate peppermint bark cookies. With a 1 yr-old and a 3 yr-old I can’t get around to all the baking I want to do. If you had to choose, which cookie would you choose to bake (for enjoyment with extended family)?

    Also, in a post above, Garrett notes that you can substitute coffee extract for espresso powder. Do you think it would work to use actual espresso? My fave chocolate cake recipe calls for hot coffee, and I’m wondering if that would enhance or mess up the cookies. I think it changes the chemical reaction of the baking soda or something.

    Love this site, and always enjoy Garrett’s guests post. Thanks both!

    Alison, I can’t say which cookie your family would prefer as you know them better. As for espresso? Yes, but really, espresso powder is best as more liquid from coffee could make the cookie dough too loose. ~Garrett

  23. Gordon

    Just to let you know, I went with the peppermint – 1/2 teaspoon – I know I’m not supposed to eat the raw batter, but Oh My Gosh! The taste is amazing. They are in the fridge now – tomorrow will be a great baking day. Thanks Garrett!

    P.S. Your Cherry Rhubarb Vanilla jam is my very favorite :)

  24. Ariana

    I made these the other day, but they didn’t come out as small, delicious little balls of powdery chocolate. They became flat, but were fudgy and still quite good. I must say, I’ll have to try these again with fresh baking soda. Love the recipes as always. =)

  25. Dawn

    I was looking for another cookie to make this Christmas holiday. I had already made 4 different kinds and I was looking for one more to make. I happened apon this recipe and decided to take my chances and make these chocolate crinkles. They turned out perfect, just like the picture. After boxing up all my cookies and giving them to friends and neighbors, the most positive feedback was for the crinkles. They were an instant hit with everyone. I will definitely make them again next Christmas.

  26. Jeanne

    I just made these for a cookie swap and work and wanted to tell you how delicious they are! Very easy (as long as you plan ahead) and very very good. Will definitely have to try them again with a little peppermint extract. Thank you for a great recipe!

  27. Leah

    These are delicious cookies. I made them with a gluten-free flour blend and you’d never know the difference. So tasty!! I’m making another couple batches today to dole out to the neighbors.

  28. Jill

    Hi Elise & Garrett,

    Thanks for so many wonderful recipes. I started my Christmas baking early this year and hope to keep the cookies fresh for a week (through Christmas). Do you have any suggestions on how to best preserve cookies? Thank you!

    Hey Jill, for preserving cookies I would just freeze the dough (portioned out as needed) in an airtight container so you can just bake as needed. You can also freeze the baked cookies, but I wouldn’t do so for more than a two weeks tops as after that they can go a bit downhill in flavor and freshness. ~Garrett

  29. Jeanie

    Your cookie recipes have been central to my holiday baking. The butterscotch cookies are yum. The nutella cookies are amazing. But these chocolate crinkles beat all- incredible! Thank you so much for sharing.

  30. Becky

    Delicious… and a very forgiving recipe. I decided to halve the recipe last minute since I was just short of 1/2 cup cocoa powder. Everything still turned out great. Even better, I mixed everything with the wooden spoon. Easy cleanup!

  31. Julie

    Thank you Garrett and Elise! These are delicious! I followed the recipe exactly and my cookies looked just like your picture. My husband who is a brownie lover thinks these are the perfect cookie/brownie mix! I mentioned I might try some peppermint extract in the next batch and he scoffed and said “why mess with perfection?”
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  32. Alexandra and Chad

    We baked these for a Hanukkah gathering and we are amazed at the delicate texture and sophisticated flavor of the espresso and cocoa blend!!! So beautiful and mesmerizing! Thanks so much for sharing!!!!

  33. Sheri

    I tried these over the weekend with 1tsp each of peppermint extract and vanilla – little balls of chocolately-minty goodness. Like an After Eight with powdered sugar. Definitley a keeper Christmas cookie.

  34. Melissa

    I’ve made this recipe twice now in the past week, with the addition of 3/4 cup dark, semi-sweet chocolate chips… HEAVEN. Thanks for this recipe, it’s going to be a new holiday tradition!

  35. Carol

    Elise, I love your blog! Garrett, I love your sweets recipes!

    I made a vegan version of these cookies by substituting powdered flax seed and water instead of eggs. I only baked a couple in my first batch to test and found that the flax seed diluted the flavors a bit. I added a slight increase to the amount of vanilla, cocoa, and sugar in the remaining cookie dough and the subsequent batches came out great!

    Genius! Thank you so much for sharing your vegan version, Carol! ~Garrett

  36. Gabriela

    I made the dough day ago and it’s been in the fridge since than. When I went to roll them I can’t as it’s VERY sticky and it’s sticking to my heands. I even added a little more flour. I followed the recipe exactly; any solution?

    Hmm, well, if you followed the recipe exactly this shouldn’t be happening. However, you may have what my pastry instructor calls “Hot Little Hands.” It’s a baking affliction that I have myself. You just have crazy body warmth that affects chilled dough. A few solutions: 1) Chill your hands on a bag of frozen peas or what have you ever so often. 2) Put a bit of vegetable oil on your hands. Not lots, just enough so they glisten a bit. It will prevent the dough from sticking. Hope that this helps. ~Garrett

  37. Amanda

    Great cookies! They stayed rediculously fresh for the three days they were around and are incredibly addicting. I will be making these forever. Thanks again for another great recipe!!

  38. Jessica

    I grew up with my Grandmother making these.She used to put them in the freezer, best thing ever! I forgot all about them until I started working for Paradise Bakery(which is owned by Panera). My batter is cooling right now, but I am very excited to make these!

  39. Tea

    I’m not much of a baker and don’t have vegetable oil in the house. Do you know if it would work just as well to use another neutral flavored oil? Canola or grapeseed? I’d love to not have to buy something I rarely use.

    Thanks, Garrett. Happy holiday to you both. The photos of these are incredible. So tempting!

    Hey Tea! Yes, I imagine that these should do fine with canola or grapeseed. Grapeseed oil has more acid in it that might affect the rise, but that’s a big might. I think you’ll be just dandy with either, but would lean towards canola simply because its properties are closer to vegetable. Both are also healthier alternatives, but given that these are cookies I assume that that’s not a ship you’re worried about sailing on. ;) ~Garrett

  40. Sarah

    I used to make these a lot and they are wonderful.
    In the back of one of my local supermarket shelves I found a bag of tiny chocolate drops and when I added them to this recipe I have never looked back, it doesn’t seem to work well with chunks but the tiny drops are perfect, especially the white ones.

  41. Violette Akiki

    Hi!
    I want to thank you for this great recipe.I made it twice this week. And everyone who tasted the cookies asked for the recipe.
    Thank you again.

    Violette.

  42. Chit

    Hi Elise!

    I was excited to bake this chocolate crinkle cuz it looks gorgeous to give as gift these christmas. But I felt so bad it I’d not come out gorgeous.

    I suspected of the following reasons. Firstly I forgot I live in a tropical country so before the mounds went into the oven the confectioner sugar has disappeared. So I had to sprinkle some more of it. Maybe I should just get the balls ready and roll the sugar right before it gets into the oven.

    But my second problem was it did not crack on top which made them look uninteresting. What could be the problem?

    I tasted one though and i still like it cuz surprisingly does not taste very sweet which is exactly how I want my cakes!

    I am now on my second batch which I did the rolling into sugar just before it got into the oven. I am crossing my fingers it will resemble your gorgeous looking crinkled!

    I just love your recipes!

    The humidity could affect the rise so they aren’t cracking. Also, check if your baking soda is fresh. ~Garrett

  43. Alex

    Hmmm, for some reason these didn’t turn out quite as flavorful as I’d been expecting. I used GF flour also, but that worked fine in the peppermint bark recipe so I’m hesitant to blame it – maybe I was just expecting something sweeter? Or maybe I used too much confectioner’s sugar in my rolling… will have to experiment a bit more.

  44. Miradan

    These were delicious! I skipped the espresso powder, added a little bit of cayenne, and mixed the icing sugar with cinnamon. Yum yum yum. Very easy to make, too.

  45. Yeni

    The first time I made the crinkles, they came out so soft and chewy. All my coworkers asked for the recipe! Tonight I made it again and somehow it came out a bit “dry” and crunchy. Not as soft. What do you think might be the cause? Thanks for the amaZing recipe Garret!

    Overbaking is my best guess. They’re small so they’re finicky. ~Garrett

  46. Gary In Massena

    Damn.

    After making four batches of these my family is now referring to these as ‘Chocolate Lust’ cookies.

    Thanks Garrett and Elise!

    Gary in Massena.

  47. ozlem

    My dough is chilling right now and I wonder if the confectioners sugar melts while cookin in the oven?

    No. Otherwise the picture or recipe wouldn’t exist. ~Garrett

  48. Lisa

    These are always a favorite, even if they don’t come out quite right! I substituted coconut oil, the dough was sticky & the cookies flat, but they didn’t last! I also added a few drops of chocolate raspberry liquid stevia…VERY good!! I will experiment again w/the coconut oil to find a balance :)

  49. TBM

    I just made these (dough last night, cookies this morning). The dough was incredibly sticky, I dampened my hands a bit with water which helped but had to stop every few cookies because I couldn’t roll them out. They also came out huge and flat (though still quite airy inside) and most of the powdered sugar disappeared. They’re good, not too sweet, but I was expecting more of a fudgy flavor. I followed the recipe exactly – any thoughts where I went wrong?

    Hmm, I’m sorry but I’m not sure what went wrong. I’ve made these a few times now myself and this hasn’t happened. Some dough will stick to you, yes, but not to the point that it should be distracting or even hindering in the slightest. My only guess is that you actually undermixed. Without having been there and watched you I can’t be sure on this one. ~Garrett

  50. JP

    I made these yesterday and they turned out so well, and they looked exactly the same as the picture! I live in a tropical country too. I think what helped is that I had the AC on when I rolled these into balls. I also made them in two batches so they were not sitting out for too long. I rolled them into balls first, and rolled them in the sugar right before putting them in the oven.

    Thanks Garrett! These are like little balls of sin!

  51. Sarah

    I made these last weekend – super easy and super delicious. Really chill the dough though – if it’s to soft it’s not easy to roll into balls without a good bit getting stuck to your hands. I actually stuffed half of them with Rolos for a nice melty, caramelly treat – yum!

  52. Talia

    Would it be a good idea to use 1/2 cup of melted butter instead of the vegetable oil the recipe calls for?

    I can’t say as I haven’t tried it. Give it a shot and if it works I hope you’ll let us know how it went. ~Garrett

  53. Ena

    This is such a great recipe! I got 64 crinkles which was enough to share with so many people yesterday. They’re so soft and they practically melt in your mouth. And they’re SO pretty that people are wowed by your cookie making skill (not knowing how easy it is to make them). To top all that, they’re dirt cheap, in my country butter is quite costly and dark chocolate too so it’s great to have a recipe that uses oil and cocoa. Thank you.

  54. kiran

    I want to make these cookies but I am unable to find Confectioner’s sugar. Please give me any substitute. I’ll very thankful.

    Where are you located? Powdered sugar can be found in any store in North, Central, South America and Europe. For this recipe there is no substitute. ~Garrett

  55. Ena

    @kiran: My mom sometimes grinds regular sugar in an electric coffee grinder if she lacks confectioner’s (powdered) sugar, the result is the same as the store-bought one.

  56. Mehernaaz

    Hi Garrett, lovely recipe but mine don’t look great. After in dunked the balls in the sugar, the sugar got absorbed by the time I finished enough to fill a sheet. So now I have brown cookies with a bit of translucent hard sugary glaze on them. What did i do wrong? I used what we call icing sugar which is the consistency of powder. Help. Mehernaaz

    If the sugar got absorbed then the dough was a bit too wet or it could have simply been humid air in the kitchen. If this happens again, just re-roll the balls. ~Garrett

  57. kiran

    Thank you, Garrett & Elise. I live in Sharjah, UAE. I couldn’t find confectioner’s sugar here. I think regular sugar becomes caramelized after heating. I found a substitute for confectioner’s sugar is icing sugar, which I fouind online. Now I’m going to make these delicious crinkles with icing sugar. I’ll inform you with the results of using icing sugar. It will be helpful for others also.

    Kiran, icing sugar is the British term for powdered or confectioner’s sugar. You found the right ingredient! Enjoy the cookies! =) ~Garrett

  58. Grace

    Hi! Just came across this recipe and I really want to try it. I was wondering, can it be made in advance and kept frozen for later use (i mean after making balls)? I always do this with cookies but Im nor sure if I can do it with crinkles. Has anyone tried freezing them & baking later? Thanks in advance for your answer/s! Happy baking everyone!

  59. Lisa

    Thanks! This was a great recipe! I used a dark cocoa and grapeseed oil and they turned out just perfect. With how dark my cocoa is, I may increase the sugar just a tad next time for the kids, but they are perfectly rich for my dark chocolate taste!

  60. Vik

    I used 1/2 cups of the kindled butter. It”s very good! Delightful, gentle chocolate crinkles! Similar to gingerbread. Thanks for the recipe!

I apologize for the inconvenience, but comments are closed. You can share your thoughts on our Facebook page ~ Elise.