Chocolate crinkle cookies have a rich deep chocolate flavor. The dairy free crinkle cookies are perfect for the holidays.
Normally they are considered one of the hardest cookies to get right, but with a simple trick they become extremely easy to make.
Chocolate crinkle cookies are arguably the most beautiful of cookies. Maybe even the most beautiful dessert.
The white powdered sugar against the dark brown chocolate cracks is really eye catching.
Personally these cookies always make me think of winter.
Probably because the powdered sugar against the chocolate cookie reminds me of snow on a landscape.
Fun fact! In Israel these cookies are known as earth square cookies for look of these cookies.
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what you need
How to get them perfect
Unfortunately, like any great beauty, this cookie is fickle.
Crinkle cookies are by far one of the hardest cookies to get right.
At the end of the day it’s the powdered sugar that makes this cookie both beautiful and troubling.
The powdered sugar melts into the cooking as the cookie bakes leaving you with only a dull brown hint that it was ever there.
This is due to the moisture that escapes the dough as it bakes.
An easy fix to dealing with this is to first roll the balls of dough in granulated sugar.
I got this tip from America’s Test Kitchen and it really helps!
When the cookie bakes it releases moisture which causes the powdered sugar to melt.
By first rolling the dough in granulated sugar you are creating a barrier. So, now when baking, the moisture will hit the granulated sugar, which reacts to it, instead of the powdered sugar.
Another step I took to help this is using vanilla sugar instead of vanilla extract.
Vanilla sugar is far more common in Europe than the States, but if you can find it, use it.
The lack of extra moisture really helps keep the powder sugar nice and dry.
Otherwise, use no more than one teaspoon or the cookies will be too wet.
TO CHILL OR NOT TO CHILL?
Oil cookies do not need to be chilled. I’ve tried chilling them as well as putting them directly into the oven.
I haven’t found that chilling made any difference whatsoever.
BAKING WITH OIL
In general, oil in baked goods makes for a superior texture than those made with butter.
Oil cakes tend to bake up taller with a better crumb. They also stay moist and tender far longer than recipes made with butter.
Furthermore, since oil is lighter than butter, the texture of oil cakes is lighter too.
Also, given that oil is 100% fat while most American butter is 15% water, it creates a more tender crumb.
This is due to the fact that the extra water strengthens the gluten, resulting in a crumb that’s more dense.
Which Type Of Oil to Use
I use neutral oils like canola oil, safflower oil, and vegetable oil. However, it’s not unheard of for oils with stronger flavors like olive oil or coconut oil to be used.
If using olive oil, I recommend using pure olive oil for its milder flavor and higher smoking point.
Baking with Oil Conversion Chart
If you want to convert your butter recipes to oil recipes, check out my baking with oil butter to oil conversion chart.
HOW TO MEASURE FLOUR AND OTHER DRY INGREDIENTS
Using a dry measuring cup, scoop ingredients from the bag or spoon them into the cup.
Next, level off the ingredient by removing the excess with an upside-down butter knife.
The one exception to this is brown sugar. Brown sugar should be packed down and then any excess should be scraped off as well.
DRY VS LIQUID MEASURING CUP
Ever wonder why measuring spoons often come with a set of measuring cups? I used to. I didn’t see why we needed a set when we could have one large measuring cup.
After a quick search, I had my answer. I discovered that the large measuring cup is used for liquids, whereas the set is used for dry ingredients.
As it turns out, if you try to measure dry ingredients with a liquid cup, the measurements get messed up.
First, you pour the flour or cocoa in, next you shake it around to get it level, and then you add more.
By shaking it, you are causing the powder to settle, and when you add more, you end up using more than called for.
WHY SIFT FLOUR and Other Powder Ingredients
There are a number of benefits to sifting flour and other ingredients like cocoa ingredients:
It removes any unwanted debris and you can get a more accurate measurement than when packed tightly in a bag.
It also removes any lumps that can get into the batter and be hard to break up later, or be missed altogether before baking.
If you sift the powdered ingredients together, it helps combine them and mix more evenly with other dry ingredients like sugar.
WHICH TYPE OF COCOA TO USE
When a recipe calls for cocoa, always use unsweetened cocoa powder, unless specified otherwise.
This allows you to have better control of the sweetness of what you’re making.
There are three basic forms of unsweetened cocoa powder.
NATURAL COCOA POWDER
Natural cocoa powder comes from roasted cocoa beans. It’s bitter, with a very strong and concentrated chocolate flavor.
This cocoa powder is acidic and is often used in recipes calling for baking soda, because the two react with each other to allow your baked good to rise.
This is most commonly used, and should be used, in recipes that simply say “cocoa powder.”
DUTCH-PROCESS COCOA POWDER
Dutch-process cocoa powder starts with cocoa beans that have been washed in potassium carbonate which neutralizes their acidity.
Since Dutch-process cocoa powder is neutral, it does not react with baking soda.
When baking, Dutch-process cocoa is often paired with baking powder.
Dutch-process cocoa powder can also be used in place of natural cocoa powder in recipes that don’t require leavening.
These include sauces, hot cocoa, frostings, ice cream, pudding, etc.
If you only have Dutch-process cocoa powder on hand, you can substitute it for neutral cocoa powder.
Just make sure to add 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar, white vinegar, or lemon juice for every 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder called for in the recipe.
RAW CACAO POWDER
Raw cacao powder is different from natural and Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder.
It’s pure powder from the cacao bean and isn’t nearly as processed as both natural and Dutch-process.
You can use raw cacao powder in recipes that don’t specify Dutch-process cocoa powder.
However, Raw cacao powder and natural cocoa powder taste very different from Dutch-process and will change the flavor of the recipe.
Brown sugar should not be confused with raw sugar or demerara.
What we call brown sugar is essentially white sugar that has had molasses added back to it.
You can easily substituted brown sugar or even make brown sugar.
Both dark and light brown sugar can easily be made at home if you have a little white sugar and molasses.
It is commonly used in chocolate chip cookie recipes, and it’s rare for a recipe that calls for brown sugar not to also call for white sugar as well.
When a recipe calls for “brown sugar” but doesn’t specify what type (light or dark), it is referring to light brown sugar.
DARK BROWN SUGAR
Dark brown sugar can be made with 1 cup white granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons molasses.
Add both ingredients into a bowl and mix with a fork until completely mixed.
LIGHT BROWN SUGAR
Light brown sugar can be made with 1 cup white granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon molasses.
Add both ingredients into a bowl and mix with a fork until completely mixed.
Demerara is popular in Israel and is easier to find than light brown sugar. It is a type of cane sugar with a nice toffee flavor and can be used in place of brown sugar.
HOW TO SUBSTITUTE DARK AND LIGHT BROWN SUGAR
DARK BROWN SUGAR
Dark Brown Sugar can be made with 1 cup of light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon molasses.
Add both ingredients into a bowl and mix with a fork until completely mixed.
LIGHT BROWN SUGAR
Light Brown sugar can easily be replaced in a recipe with half dark brown sugar and half white granulated sugar.
DOES THE TYPE OF BROWN SUGAR YOU USE REALLY MATTER?
Yes and no.
It will change the flavor and likely the color.
Dark brown sugar has more molasses which will give it deeper, more complex flavor that’s closer to toffee or caramel.
However, I tend to use what’s on hand, which for me means dark brown sugar in Israel and light brown in the States.
I also happen to love the extra flavor dark brown sugar gives, so I like using it even if I have both on hand.
Types of Vanilla
Vanilla comes from a pod commonly known as a “vanilla bean”, which comes from the vanilla orchids.
Vanilla pod has been used for flavoring since the Aztecs, and was introduced to Europe by a Spanish conquistador, along with cocoa.
Vanilla extract is created by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol for some time. This is the most commonly used type of vanilla.
Vanilla sugar is common in Europe and some parts of the Middle East, like Israel.
It is made from vanilla beans sitting in sugar, vanilla bean powder mixed with sugar, or sugar mixed with vanilla extract.
In some countries, like Italy, you can also find vanilla powdered sugar which is used for confections.
Vanilla paste is generally a specialty item. It is a thick paste that contains a blend of the scraped-out vanilla pod seeds and vanilla extract.
You can use it as you do vanilla extract and it will leave flakes of vanilla bean like you see in vanilla bean ice cream.
Imitation Vanilla, otherwise known as artificial vanilla, is made from synthetic vanilla.
This is the compound that naturally occurs in vanilla beans and gives it its flavor.
Can I use imitation vanilla?
Many will tell you that you should use high quality vanilla, just like they say you should use the best cocoa.
However, most of us will probably not be willing to pay the hefty price that comes with exceptionally high-quality ingredients.
Overall, vanilla is very expensive, so the extract is as well.
So, if you’re not going to get regular quality vanilla extract, you might as well use imitation vanilla.
DO EGGS NEED TO BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?
The short answer is “no”. While a side-by-side comparison shows that baking with eggs at room temperature makes a better crumb, it’s not otherwise noticeable.
What are Eggs used for?
Eggs do three things in most recipes: they help bind the ingredients together, act as a mild leavening agent, and they add moisture.
EGG FREE OPTION
Eggs can be substituted with 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce per egg. This means for recipes calling for 2 eggs, you’d need 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce.
The reason applesauce makes a good binder is that it’s high in pectin. Pectin is a naturally occurring starch in fruits and berries that acts as a thickening agent and stabilizer in food.
This happens when combined with sugar and acid (if the fruit or berry isn’t naturally acidic).
Just keep in mind that it may change the flavor slightly.
ARE EGGS DAIRY?
No, eggs are not dairy. Dairy is milk and any food products made from milk, including cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt.
So, while eggs are an animal product, they are not dairy. In fact, eggs fall under the protein food group.
BAKING POWDER VS BAKING SODA
I’ve had a number of comments asking me questions about baking soda and baking powder.
I’ve also noticed that if the wrong one is used, things don’t come out as they should.
Using baking soda instead of baking powder can give your recipe a terrible metallic taste, while using baking powder instead of baking soda leaves your baked goods looking flat.
Baking soda is a leavening agent, which means it helps things rise.
It does this by creating carbon dioxide when it reacts to an acid, such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar.
When the carbon dioxide is released, it causes the familiar texture and crumb in pancakes, cakes, quick breads, soda bread, and other baked and fried foods.
Baking soda works well with sourdough because sourdough is acidic. When combined, it makes a lighter product with a less acidic taste, since baking soda is alkaline.
A good rule of thumb is to use around 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of flour.
Baking powder is also a leavening agent and it’s a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, and sometimes cornstarch.
Most baking powder sold is double-acting. This means that the leavening occurs in two steps.
The first time it’s activated is when baking powder gets wet, which is why you cannot prepare some batters ahead of time to bake later.
The second time is when the baking powder is exposed to heat. This happens when the batter is being baked or fried.
Since baking powder already contains an acid, it’s most often used when a recipe does not call for an additional acidic ingredient or too little of one.
A good rule of thumb is to use around 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of flour.
WHY SOME RECIPES CALL FOR BOTH
Some recipes call for both baking powder and baking soda when the carbon dioxide created from the acid and baking soda is not enough to leaven the volume of batter in the recipe.
Too much baking soda gives a terrible metallic taste, so baking powder is added to give it more lift.
WHICH ONE IS STRONGER?
You may have already guessed the answer since baking soda is used to make baking powder, and you need more baking powder per cup of flour. But I’ll tell you anyway.
Baking soda is four times stronger than baking powder.
That’s why you will more often than not see recipes that only call for baking soda rather than recipes that only call for baking powder.
HOW LONG DO THEY LAST?
Baking soda is good indefinitely past its best by date, although it can lose potency over time.
A rule of thumb is two years for an unopened package and six months for an opened package.
However, to be honest, I’ve used very old baking soda with good results.
Like baking soda, baking powder is good indefinitely past its best by date, and can lose its potency over time.
For both opened and unopened, it’s ideal to use it within nine months to a year.
While storing it, make sure to keep it in a dry place and away from humidity.
HOW TO TEST IF IT’S STILL GOOD
To test baking powder, pour 3 tablespoons of warm water into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and stir.
If the baking powder is good to use, it should fizz a little.
To test baking soda, pour 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and stir.
The mixture should rapidly bubble if the soda is fresh.
GLUTEN FREE OPTION
Buckwheat flour is easy to find compared to most other gluten free flours and it adds a nice earthy nutty taste. The down side is that it has a distinct flavor so the change will be noticeable. It’s also darker so the color won’t be the same. Substitute cup for cup.
Rice flour can also be used and can be found in most Asian and health food stores. White rice flour has a mild flavor and doesn’t change the color of the muffin or quick bread. Since it doesn’t have much flavor it is best to use it with ingredients that do. Substitute cup for cup.
Oat flour is made from whole oats that have been ground into a powder which can easily be done at home. It gives more flavor and a chewier and crumblier texture than all-purpose flour.
Substitute 1 cup of all-purpose flour for 1 1/3 cup Oat Flour. To make 1 cup of oat flour, blend 1 1/4 cups of oats in a food processor until finely ground.
Note, oats must be marked gluten free because they can get cross contamination in the factory.
Baking with Humidity
Humidity can have a big impact on your how your baked goods come out.
This is because when humidity is extremely high (think 70 percent or more), baking ingredients like flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda soak up moisture from the air.
This can negatively impact the outcome of your cakes, cookies, yeast breads, and quick breads.
There are some things you can do to try to save your baking.
Try to counterbalance the additional moisture
To help counterbalance the additional moisture your dry ingredients soak up from the air, try reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe by about one-quarter.
If the batter or dough looks too dry once all the ingredients are mixed together, add additional liquid tablespoon at a time until you have the desired consistency.
This is not usually possible to do for cookies but it does work for cakes and breads.
Store Ingredients in the Fridge
If flour and sugar are stored in the refrigerator or freezer rather than in a cupboard or pantry, they are better protected from humidity.
As an added benefit, keeping these ingredients cool also helps keep them fresher longer, in addition to helping them stay bug-free.
For best results, let them warm to room temperature before using.
Bake for Longer
If you bake your goodies for a few extra minutes it can help the liquid to cook off.
To avoid overbaking, continue testing for doneness every couple of minutes for breads, quick breads, cakes, cupcakes, and muffins. Cookies on the other hand need to be checked every minute.
Use Air Conditioning
To help lower humidity levels on humid summer days air condition the room for at least an hour before you start baking.
Cooler air isn’t able to hold as much moisture as warm air.
Store your baked goods in an airtight container
Humidity can also be ruin your fresh-baked goods because when they are left out they can absorb moisture.
To avoid this, store them in an air tight container or resealable bag.
WHY IS IT TAKING LONGER THAN DESCRIBED TO BAKE?
Over time the thermostat on ovens gets a little off causing some ovens to run hot and others to run cool. This is why recipes tend to say things like “10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.” So, if it takes you longer than expected that’s fine, don’t worry about it, just keep baking until ready.
WHY DID MY RECIPE COME OUT TOO DRY?
Just like some ovens run cool, others run hot. If you’re oven runs hot bake these at a lower temperature. Ideally, you should get an oven thermometer to know what temperature you’re really baking at.
HOW TO STORE COOKIES
Let cookies cool completely. Place in a resealable bag or an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to a week.
HOW TO FREEZE COOKIES
Let cookies cool completely. It is best to freeze cookies on a tray so that they freeze as individuals and then move to a resealable freezer bag.
If this is not practical for you, place cooled cookies in a resealable freezer bag and freeze that way.
Cookies will keep for up to 3 months. After that, the quality begins to degrade.
When thawing baked cookies, remove from bag and let sit at room temperature.
If desired, you can gently reheat thawed cookies to mimic that fresh-baked taste and texture: place them in a 275°F or 140°C oven until soft.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies Tip
I bake these cookies on the middle shelf and only use that shelf instead of a couple at a time. I’ve gotten good results this way.
- 1 cups all-purpose flour (130 grams)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (65 grams)
- 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed (165 grams)
- ¼ cup white sugar (50 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup oil (60 milliliters)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup white sugar (100 grams)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar (65 grams)
- Whisk together flour, cocoa, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Add eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Mix using your hands. At first it will seem like there isn’t enough liquids and like the mixture is dry and grainy. This is fine. Keep mixing until you see the mixture develop into dough.
- Roll the dough into about 1 inch or 2.5 centimeters size balls.
- Roll each ball first in the granulated sugar. Then roll each ball generously in powdered sugar.
- Place the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Add more powdered sugar on top of the balls.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F or 160°C . Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 94Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 78mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 1g
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