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Chocolate Crinkles – a favorite holiday cookie

Let’s bake a holiday favorite: chocolate crinkles. These fudgy cookies are chewy with a brownie-like center. They are coated in powdered sugar for a crisp, crackled exterior. My version is extra chocolatey with the addition of melted bittersweet chocolate. These Christmas cookies are a festive holiday treat.

I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.

You may also be interested in my classic Christmas sugar cookies and my red velvet sandwich cookies recipes. For ease of browsing, you can find all of my cookie recipes in one place.

Chocolate crinkle cookies on black plate with red cranberry beads around the plate.

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Why you should make this recipe

Espresso chocolate crinkle cookies are fudgy and brownie-like. My version has the addition of melted bittersweet chocolate in the dough to amp up the chocolate flavor. If this sounds like a cookie you’d enjoy, keep reading!

  • Holiday favorite – A Christmas cookie platter really isn’t complete without this holiday favorite.
  • Fudgy & chewy – The center of chocolate crinkles has a brownie-like texture. It is chewy and fudgy, and so chocolatey.
  • Make ahead – Cookie dough freezes beautifully, and this dough is no exception. Make the dough ahead of time and bake when you need them.
Chocolate crinkles stacked on top of each other on a small white plate with twinkle lights in the background.

Chocolate crinkles

Whether you call them chocolate crackles or chocolate crinkles, we can all agree that this cookie is a holiday favorite.

Here’s how my recipe is different:

  • I use melted bittersweet chocolate in the dough.
  • Most recipes use oil. I swap that out with melted butter for better flavor.
  • Instead of natural cocoa powder, I use Dutch-process cocoa powder, which is less acidic and earthier. It also produces a richer chocolate flavor. I use Cacao Barry. This bag lasted over two years, so it was well worth it.
Chocolate espresso crackle cookies on small white plate with powdered sugar dusted over top.

Chocolate crackles are an easy cookie to make, but they do require a little planning ahead.

Ingredients for chocolate crinkle cookies on white marble counter.
  • All-purpose flour – Weighing your flour is the most accurate way to measure. I highly recommend using a scale to measure flour. 
  • Dutch-process cocoa powder – This kind of cocoa powder is earthier and less acidic than natural cocoa powder.
  • Salt – All baked goods need salt.
  • Baking powder – Baking powder gives the cookies a bit of lift.
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt in your baked goods.
  • Sugar – Provides just enough sweetness to our cookies.
  • Brown sugar – It has a deeper flavor than regular sugar, thanks to molasses, and it also contributes to the chewiness factor.
  • Eggs – Provide moisture and structure to the dough.
  • Vanilla – Gives baked goods that familiar flavor we all love.
  • Bittersweet chocolate – A 70% chocolate bar is perfect here.
  • Espresso powder – I use Medaglia D’Oro brand. It is a very, very fine grind. Instant coffee granules are much coarser than instant espresso.
    • Substitution: Instant coffee works well too!
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Measuring ingredients by weight, ESPECIALLY in baking, is much more accurate than cup measurement.

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03/17/2024 02:11 pm GMT

How to make

Here’s a quick summary of how to make the best chewy chocolate crinkles. Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full recipe. 

How to make chocolate crinkles in step by step photos.
  1. Mix – Mix the sugars with the cocoa powder, melted butter, and melted chocolate.
  2. Add – The eggs go in next, followed by the remaining dry ingredients to make the dough. Then chill the dough for at least 3 hours. I prefer overnight, if I’ve planned accordingly.
  3. Roll – I have always rolled mine in granulated sugar, then powdered sugar. It gives the best crinkle top.
  4. Bake – Be careful not to overbake these crinkle cookies. You want to keep that fudgy center.

The trick to a well-crackled top

For years, I’ve been dipping the cookie dough balls into granulated sugar, then powdered sugar. However, most recipes I’ve seen call for only powdered sugar. I wondered if I was creating an unnecessary step, so I did a little experiment.

I rolled one batch in just icing (powdered) sugar and the other batch in my usual combination of granulated sugar + powdered sugar. The results: the batch with only powdered sugar wasn’t quite as bright white as rolling in both sugars. And the cookies rolled in both sugars retained their crackled tops a bit better.

Chocolate cookies on black plate with red napkin under the plate.

Chocolate crinkles FAQ’s

Can I use natural cocoa powder?

Cocoa powders are not often interchangeable, and I’d advise against it. Dutch cocoa powder is neutral, whereas natural cocoa powder is slightly more acidic. One reacts with baking powder (Dutch-process cocoa) and the other reacts with baking soda. You can read all about the differences in cocoa powder in this article.

Can I freeze these cookies?

You can freeze the cookie dough in an airtight container for up to 3 months. You can also freeze the baked cookies for up to 3 months.
Another trick, if you need cookies for several gatherings, is to make a double batch of dough, divide it up and wrap each portion in plastic wrap. Then, take out only what you need.

Storing dough in plastic wrap for the freezer.

Tricks to working with a sticky dough

This dough is sticky, there is no other way of putting it. However, here are a few tricks to make it easier (and less messy) to work with:

  • Work quickly – The faster you can scoop and roll, then less time the dough has to get warm and gooey.
  • Make sure the dough is VERY cold – I like to pop the scooped dough balls into the freezer for about 15 minutes before I roll the dough. They are MUCH less sticky.
  • Use a small cookie scoop.
  • Gloves can help to keep your hands clean.
Christmas cookies on black plate with gold ornament in the background.

Variations and substitutions

  • Fruity – Add in a tablespoon of orange zest to give these crinkle cookies a citrusy twist.
  • Chocolate mint – Swap the vanilla extract for mint extract.
  • Nutty – Add almond extract for a slightly nutty flavor.
  • Dairy-free – Replace melted butter with oil.

Serving suggestions

If you are wondering how to ship cookies without breaking to friends and family, check out the post showing you exactly how to do this! Chocolate crinkles are great for mailing, because they are a sturdy cookie.

Chocolate crackle cookies on a black plate on top of a white placemat with red writing.

Serve these crinkle cookies with a mug of peppermint schnapps hot chocolate for a wintery treat.

For a holiday cookie tray, serve them with rum balls, maple cream sandwich cookies, Christmas funfetti cookies, peanut butter sandwich cookies, gingerbread biscotti, Christmas sugar cookie bars, and ginger molasses cookies.

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Chocolate crinkles on black plate.

Chocolate crinkles

Cheryl Bennett
Chewy and chocolatey, these chocolate crinkles are a holiday cookie favorite!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chilling Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 32 minutes
Course Cookie recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 3 .5 dozen
Calories 107 kcal


  • 1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder // 90g
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar // 200g + 4 tbsp. for rolling
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar // 107g
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter // 113g // 1 stick
  • 3.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate finely chopped // 100g (I used a 70% chocolate bar)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour // 240g
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. espresso powder optional, but recommended
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar


  • In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in 20 – 30 second increments. When the butter is warm and mostly melted, remove from microwave, and add chopped chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted, and it is smooth and glossy. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a mixing bowl, using a handheld electric mixer), combine the cocoa powder, both sugars, and the butter/chocolate mixture. *Sift cocoa powder to avoid lumps.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until fully incorporated. Then add vanilla and beat again to mix thoroughly.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and espresso powder.
  • Add flour mixture to the butter and cocoa mixture, beating on low, just until combined. Use a sturdy rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is combined.
  • Wrap bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 – 4 hours, or overnight.
  • Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350°F / 325° convection / 180°C / Gas mark 4.
  • In 2 small bowls, place powdered sugar in one and 4 tbsp. granulated sugar in the other.
  • Using a tablespoon, or a small cookie scoop, scoop out tablespoon size portions of dough and roll them into balls with your hands. Drop them into the granulated sugar, toss to coat, then roll them in powdered sugar. Place on lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. (I bake 12 at a time)
  • Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet for 2 – 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat until all of the cookie dough is used up.


I find it easier to scoop ALL of the dough at the same time. I scoop everything, then pop it into the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes. This reduces the stickiness of the dough and makes it MUCH easier to roll.
Then, I roll ALL of the dough into balls at the same time. I only take out what I'm ready to bake at that time. Roll it in sugar, then slide it into the oven. The remaining dough stays in the refrigerator until it's ready to roll in sugar and bake.
Do not roll in sugar ahead of time! The dough will absorb it and you won't get the white crackled top that you want.
I bake one tray at a time, because that works best in my oven.
I used a #60 cookie scoop – it holds 1 tbsp. of dough. If you use a different scoop, your yield will vary slightly.


Serving: 1cookieCalories: 107kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 2gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 73mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9g
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