chocolate crinkles

by Patricia on December 1, 2009 · 34 comments

12 Days of Cookies: Chocolate Crinkles

I have a hard time choosing a favorite anything. What’s my favorite color? Well… it depends. What’s my favorite song? Can I give you a top 10? How about 20? What’s my favorite hobby? Cooking! No, knitting. No, photography… Wait, I know, it’s playing the guitar. But then again… umm…

So you see, I am indecisive. And I can’t really say that I have a favorite holiday cookie because it would be unfair to all of the other cookies. They are all beautiful in their own way. But six years ago, with two small bites, the chocolate crinkle became my favorite Christmas cookie. Sort of.

12 Days of Cookies: Chocolate Crinkles

It was my first Christmas on the west coast. Earlier that December, I had been dumped (are you supposed to say you were dumped? Or are you just supposed to say “we broke up?” I never know with these things). In retrospect, it was the right thing and the right time. But at the time, I was upset… I mean, I was dumped. I wasn’t planning to go anywhere for Christmas, I was going to tough it out. I thought: I’m strong. I don’t need anyone. I can make it through the holidays alone. Yeah… I’m tough.

For weeks, my sister had been asking me to come to Seattle to spend Christmas with her, her husband, and my nieces. And the dumpage was just more ammo for why I should come up. But I kept saying no and begging off. Have I mentioned I’m stubborn?

Then I think it was on Dec 22, I found myself at the bottom of the pit of despair complete with an albino and water powered torture device… no one withstands The Machine. So I called my sister and the next day my trusty black Camry drove toward Seattle on autopilot as I sang Lonely Holiday. Lonely, baby I’m not lonely… I got my imaginary friends.

When I got to Seattle, I was welcomed with hugs all around. The house was warm with Christmas cheer (my sister really decks the halls…). And there were cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. I probably ate my body weight in cookies over the next two days. Before I left, I asked for the recipe for one cookie in particular: the chocolate crinkle. I had never had one before that Christmas. But the chewy, lightly chocolate cookies were like crack to me. I spent two days with my lips dusted with tell-tale powdered sugar. I couldn’t get enough. And it made me forget all about what’s-his-name.

While I can’t claim these cookies mend a broken heart, they can definitely make you forget about the bad things for a little while…

12 Days of Cookies: Chocolate Crinkles

Chocolate Crinkles (or Pixies)

The directions I have from my sister are not very particular about what order to mix things, so in theory you can dump everything into the bowl and mix. But sometimes I feel the need to be particular, so I mixed well after adding each ingredient (in the order listed below). Either way should work, so you can decide how to proceed depending on how particular you are feeling.

The dough can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. Makes about 4 dozen.

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons oil (example: canola or vegetable)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
powdered sugar for rolling

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixer bowl. Mix well.
  3. Chill dough for at least an hour for easier handling. [My sister recommends overnight. I chilled mine for about 2 hours.]
  4. Using a tablespoon, create a small dough ball and drop it into the powdered sugar. Roll to coat.
  5. Place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes.
  6. Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely.
  7. Store in airtight container (that is, if they last long enough to be stored…).

Updated Dec 19, 2009:

I spoke to my sister about this recipe and how a few mentioned theirs did not turn out quite right. She said she always chills her dough overnight and that that is the secret to it. I didn’t chill mine overnight but did chill the dough for about 2 hours and had no problem. Anyway, I updated the recipe above to reflect this (originally it said chilling was optional). I hope this helps…


1 Thorie December 6, 2011 at 1:39 am

Hi I baked these last christmas and I saw your recipe and I just had to try them. When I was mixing everything together I couldn’t help wonder if it was too much flour. It looked normal until I put in all the flour. This morning I woke up and it was sticky but very stiff. I made little balls and rolled them in the sugar and popped them in the oven hoping they would turn out fine. They taste like flour and the texture is really, really weird. I remember them being sticky and gooey in the center and a little crisp on the outside but mine are like a sponge cake, all the way through. I don’t know what I did wrong, but I would love to know. They are also a lot lighter in color then I remembereuch though for a great blog!

2 Thorie December 6, 2011 at 1:41 am

Of course the last sentence was supposed to be: They are also a lot lighter in color than I remembered, thanks so much though for a great blog!

3 Grace Matandac March 17, 2011 at 2:24 am

i just want to ask how can i make my crinkle crack coz i have made one last night and i get disappointed when i havent seen it cracked

4 Patricia March 21, 2011 at 9:38 am

Hi Grace,
Did you chill the dough before you baked it?

5 Megan December 26, 2010 at 5:24 pm

I made these today–they were a hit! I altered the recipe by adding a tsp of vanilla and a “heaping” 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. I did not find them dry or too floury like some people claimed here. They were a nice cakey cookie–no complaints about that!

6 Gina December 4, 2010 at 6:54 am

Land o Lakes has a similar recipe for Chocolate Pixies. Instead of the cocoa and oil you use 1 ounce of unsweetened baking chocolate and only 2 cups of flour instead of the three in your recipe. Their recipe also calls for nuts, I never add them. These are very tasty.
Are you sure that you use 3 cups of flour? That seems like a lot. Could be the reason for the floury taste. Also, anytime were I can have a higher ratio of chocolate to flour in a cookie, I’ll take it!

7 Sheree December 14, 2009 at 3:20 pm

I just made these today, and they did not turn out. All I could taste was powdered sugar and flour. Yuck! I followed the directions… so I really don’t know what happened.

8 Patricia December 15, 2009 at 11:32 am

I’m sorry these did not turn out well for you. What kind of cocoa powder did you use? And how much powdered sugar? Let me know if I can help…


9 christina December 13, 2009 at 7:49 pm

hello! thanks for sharing this recipe– it looks fantastic.

i have a batch of this dough in my refrigerator right now, and i’m kind of concerned. when i finished mixing everything together, the dough was more like a really, really, thick batter. is that the correct consistency and will firm up enough to roll around in the powdered sugar?


10 Patricia December 13, 2009 at 7:57 pm

It is really sticky before it’s chilled. If it still looks too thin after chilling it for an hour, let me know. That shouldn’t happen.

11 christina December 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm


the dough did firm up after being chilled. my cookies looked like the ones on kirbie cravings, and the reaction of my family and friends was mixed. some thought they were too sweet, some thought there wasn’t enough chocolate, some liked them just the way they were. i liked them, though i’ll play around with the recipe, because that’s just what i do! :-)

thanks again!

12 Aimee December 10, 2009 at 10:32 pm

I made these for book club tonight, and they were a definite hit! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

13 kathy December 8, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Patricia, I would love to hear your diagnosis of what went wrong for Kyle before I attempt these this weekend.

14 Patricia December 9, 2009 at 9:02 am

hi kathy,
I sent Kyle an email so hopefully he’ll respond so I can help figure it out.

I hope you do still make these cookies… they are good. I’ve seen at least one other person who used this recipe on Kirbie’s cravings (, and other than the cookies spreading more than she expected, it sounds like they came out fine.

If you run into any trouble, feel free to email me ( or contact me via twitter (@brownies4dinner) and I’ll try to help.

15 Kyle December 7, 2009 at 10:28 pm

I stumbled upon this website one day and once I saw the pictures, I had to bake them. I went to the grocery store and bought all the ingredients and once I mixed all of the ingredients together, I felt that the dough was too dry and really really crumbly. I stuck with the recipe however and thought it would turn out great so I rolled them in powdered sugar and stuck it in the oven. After the time was up, I took them out of the oven to discover that the powder sugar had melt into the chocolate crinkles and did not look like the picture at all.

The crinkles didn’t taste….the greatest….and the powdered sugar made the crinkles have a very sticky sweet coating on the outside (which I did not like). I would recommend not rolling them in powdered sugar BEFORE baking them but instead rolling them AFTER they are cooled.

Not to be a downer, but I would never make these again and I am disappointed in the way they turned out (I swear I am not a bad baker). Sorry but it was a waste of time! Maybe I did something wrong if everyone elses’ turned out great?

16 Patricia December 8, 2009 at 11:31 pm

I’m sorry the recipe did not work for you. Can I help diagnose what happened?

17 Sharon December 4, 2009 at 12:53 pm

greased or ungreased cookie sheet?

18 Patricia December 4, 2009 at 4:24 pm

hi Sharon,
I use a silpat on my cookie sheet so I don’t grease it. Without that, I think I would either line the cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it for these cookies (shouldn’t need much, but just in case…).

Hope that helps.

19 Shaz December 4, 2009 at 8:48 am

Is it safe to assume that it’s 1/4 cup of cocoa powder??

20 Patricia December 4, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Hi Shaz,
Yes, you’re right. Thanks for catching my goof. I’ve corrected the recipe.

21 Nurit - 1 family. friendly. food. December 3, 2009 at 10:08 pm

These look gorgeouos! I love these cookies too! I’m using Davis Lebovitz recipe with a hazelnuts. Yum.
(if you’re interested, it’s posted on my blog under “cookies” category)

22 Maria December 3, 2009 at 6:43 pm

I love these, they are one of my favorites. Our wedding colors were black and white and I did all of the baking for the treat station-I made a HUGE batch of these. I can’t wait to make them this month!

23 Jane December 3, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Thank you for sharing your story-it was touching and something that many of us can relate to. Being dumped stinks, but especially at Christmas–it makes you feel even more pathetic somehow. I am the voice of experience!! We are all sisters under the skin, yes?

24 Marisa December 3, 2009 at 3:12 am

Cookies are awesome for a broken or a fantastically whole heart! Loved reading the story. Thanks for sharing the cookies with us. :-)

25 Ginny December 2, 2009 at 7:33 am

Delicious! I love theses… cookies always help! :)

26 megan December 2, 2009 at 6:31 am

I just posted about these yesterday as well! They are so good :)

27 Amanda December 2, 2009 at 6:24 am

Those are picture perfect. These are on my list to make!

28 Brit Hammer December 2, 2009 at 1:59 am

Mmmm. Now I know what I’m baking this weekend…. Btw the festivities begin here (Netherlands) this weekend! Sinterklaas (Saint Nick) already arrived in mid-November on his steamboat from Spain. Yes, he’s dressed in his red cardinal’s robe, rides a trusty white horse, and has a lot of little helpers – all named Black Piet – to help him deliver presents to all the good little kiddies on December 5th. And yes, he has a long white beard and white hair, too. So now ya know where Santa “really” came from: SPAIN! Yes, our parents lied, it wasn’t the North Pole afterall. :-p

29 Rachel Cotterill December 2, 2009 at 12:24 am

Ooh, they look fantastic. Definitely saving that recipe, thank you.

30 Eviedish December 1, 2009 at 11:47 pm

My current chocolate crinkle recipe calls for baking chocolate which I never have on hand. Thanks for sharing this one!

31 Heather in SF December 1, 2009 at 11:44 pm

I am bookmarking this post for my holiday baking. These little cookies look so good, I’d like to try to eat a bunch of them right now, in fact.

32 Lisa December 1, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Those look amazing and I must confess, I can’t pick a favorite anything either! It all depends on the day and my mood.

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