Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I love cookies. I love mixing them, baking them, eating them, and giving them away. They are the perfect size for an indulgent snack or for a light dessert.

Chocolate Crinkles are one of my kids’ favorite cookies to eat. They are wonderfully chocolaty with a crunchy outside and chewy inside. They are such a decadent treat!

The powdered sugar exterior make them wonderful addition to a holiday cookie platter and they are great when you want something other than the old stand-by of chocolate chip cookies. I just made these the other day as part of a cookie platter for Mark’s curling league and they were happily received. (In case you were wondering the others were chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, and a fantastic key lime pie bar.)

The boys have already requested another batch just for them!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • powdered sugar for rolling

First melt the chocolate. You can do this in a small dish in the microwave in 15 second bursts. Stir after every 15 seconds and make sure the dish is microwave safe. When it’s melted correctly the chocolate should be glossy and smooth. DO NOT over cook this! It will be burnt and horrible and bitter and NO ONE WANTS THIS. If you burn your chocolate you must start over.  If you are worried about burning the chocolate you can always melt it in a bowl over some simmering water.

And remember, the flavor for these cookies depends on the quality of chocolate you use. The better the chocolate the better it will taste.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a mixer, measure out the oil and the sugar. Start beating it on a medium-high speed until combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on a high speed for about 30 seconds or until the chocolate is fully incorporated.

Once the sugar and chocolate and oil and completely blended together start adding the eggs one at a time. Make sure the egg is completely mixed in before adding the next one. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides as necessary.

Now add the 2 teaspoons of vanilla and lightly whip the chocolate mixture together. Then add the salt and the baking powder (NOT baking soda. I messed up once and it was hideous. The rise was off and the flavor was salty and horrible). The batter will be smooth and dark and rich looking.

Now add in the flour. I stop the mixer and add in all the flour at once. Then I put the mix on low until the flour is just incorporated and then I put it on high to make sure the flour is completely mixed in.

At this point, if the dough feels sticky you can cover the dough with cling film and chill it in the fridge for a few hours. If you are happy with it you can go right into shaping and baking.

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

Prepare two cookie sheets by greasing them with oil or butter or you can use parchment paper or one of those wonderful Silpat mats.

Put about 3/4 cup of powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Take the chilled dough and start shaping little bits of it into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Then roll them through the powdered sugar and give them a nice thick coating.  Place these little snowballs onto the baking sheet about 2 inches apart from each other.

Bake them in the preheated oven for 10 – 12 minutes. Watch them carefully near the end so they don’t burn. They can go from done to burnt in about 3 seconds!

Take the cookies from the sheet and transfer them to a cooling rack. See the neat crackling effect? That’s what gives the cookies their Crinkle name.

You would think the sugar would make them too sweet, but it doesn’t at all. They are perfect with coffee and hot chocolate. Or with a red wine. Or alone. Or with another cookie.

Like all cookies, this one is great for kids. It let’s them be hands-on with the dough and the results are almost always perfect. And they get a bit of science thrown in seeing how much effect a leavening agent has in a recipe! (Learning!)

Enjoy!

Russian Tea Cakes

The winter holidays are filled with traditions. Growing up a lot of those traditions included food. Tons of food. And when I say “food” I mean “dessert.” Cookies specifically. Sugar cookies, thumbprints, peanut butter stars, chocolate covered pretzels, pecan tassies, chocolate drops, chocolate crinkles, candy cane cookies, and – a huge favorite – Russian tea cakes.

Russian tea cakes are also known as Mexican wedding cookies. I don’t care if you have them because it snows or because you are getting married, you should eat them.

They are so easy to make it’s a crime.  And they are delicious enough to get you out of multiple crimes. I know when I make them for Mark I can do no wrong.

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Russian Tea Cakes

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 2 & 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup very finely chopped nuts (pecans or hazelnuts are delicious)
  • More powdered sugar for rolling

In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the butter and powdered sugar. If you use a mixer, beat them together on low or you will have powder sugar on every surface of your kitchen. Once they are well combined add the vanilla and mix.

Then add the flour and salt to the bowl. Beat on medium speed until all the flour is just incorporated. Then add the nuts and beat on low until everything is well combined.

At this point test the dough with your finger. If it is sticky refrigerate it for about 2 hours. It will be easier to work with then. If it isn’t sticky go right to shaping and baking.

Preheat the oven to 400F/204C.

Having an ungreased cookie sheet at the ready, start rolling the dough into 1-inch balls. Don’t be temped to go big here. They should be bite-sized. Maybe 2 bites at the biggest. Place the balls about 1-inch apart on the cookie sheet and back for 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies should be set, but not brown. This is kind of tricky and you need to be patient. The cookie should be firm to the touch when you poke it, but still remain sort of white.

Straight out of the oven, roll the cookies in powdered sugar. This will be hot work. You can use two forks if you start burning your fingers. Put them on a cooling rack.

When they are totally cool, roll them in powdered sugar again. They look like little snowballs!

And this is why we want them bite-sized! The powdered sugar can be a little messy. 🙂

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They are wonderful treats for parties and just right for snacking at tea. I hope they will become a part of your holiday family traditions!

Mrs. Winters’s Snickerdoodle Cookies

Snickerdoodles. The cookie with the name that is just as fun to say as it is to eat. It’s a cookie of every Iowan’s childhood.

Today it is supposed to be spring. Yet, it is 50 degrees outside and rainy and crap-tastic. There is only one remedy and it is the snickerdoodle.

When you bake a snickerdoodle it brings the smell of cinnamon and coziness into your home. It automatically pushes out clouds and rain and brings in sunshine.

So today this is a mandatory cookie baking and is, therefore, almost calorie free. I’m saving lives, people.

So, from the 1978 Cowbelles are Cookin’ cookbook I give you Mrs. Gladys Winters’s recipe for Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening or butter
  • 1&1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2&3/4 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream together the shortening and sugar. Beat in the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and mix well.


If it hot outside chill the dough for about an hour. If it’s cold out, like today, skip the chilling and form them into 1-inch balls. Roll them in a mixture of 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  Place them about 2-inches apart on a greased cookie sheet of on one of those neat Silpat mats like I have.

Bake at 400F (200C) for 12-15 minutes or until set.

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And enjoy!! They are crisp on the outside with a bit of chew on the inside with a lovely hint of cinnamon.

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Mrs. Ritter’s Honey Drop Cookies

Every so often (usually on days ending in Y) I look for new things to bake.  I have about 3 or 4 old cookbooks that belonged to my mom and Grandma Genvieve that I especially like to flip through.  One of my favorite is the 1978 edition of the Floyd County CowBelles Cookbook, CowBelles are Cookin’.

It has my go-to recipes for banana bread, pumpkin bread, and meatloaf.  Today I was searching for a new cookie recipe. Something not quite chocolate chip and more exciting than sugar cookies. I didn’t have any cream of tartar so I couldn’t make snickerdoodles, but as my eye cruised past names in the cookbook like Black Walnut, English Toffee, Lace, and Confetti I was suddenly drawn to Honey Drops.

Honey Drops.  It’s a name that sounds like Spring and is filled with the promise of a remedy for February.

I could use a little Spring.

Honey Drops

  • 1 cup butter or vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 T honey
  • 1 tsp of vanilla (or half of one pod)
  • 2 tsp of baking soda
  • 3 & 1/2 cups flour
  • pinch of salt

The instructions in the recipe as printed are a scant 3 sentences. “Mix well and chill. Shape into balls; flatten slightly. Bake at 350F.”  I think I will expand upon that.

In a medium sized bowl cream together the butter/shortening and sugar. Add the eggs and beat until a bit fluffy. Add in the honey and vanilla and mix well.  Then mix in the baking soda, flour, and pinch of salt until well incorporated.  The dough will be a pale beige color.

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Chill for about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350F or 170C (150C if you have a fan oven)

Lay a parchment paper or a Silpat pad onto a baking sheet. Roll the dough into balls a little smaller than a ping-pong ball and flatten slightly into plump disks.  Place them about 2 inches apart. They won’t spread very much, but they do seem to double in size.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a golden honey color.

Even as the first batch baked I could feel February drifting away. My house smells like sunshine and honey.

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Honey Drops have a bit of crunch on the outside and they are soft and pillowy on the inside. They are not overly sweet. Surprising given how much sugar they contain. The honey flavor is subtle, but there and the vanilla gives the honey flavor a bit of lift.  They are the perfect antidote for February.

Enjoy!

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Peanut Butter Protein Cookies!

On my quest to get more protein into the kids, I made some really wonderful Peanut Butter Protein Cookies.

1 cup peanut butter
1 large egg
1 egg white
2 T apple sauce
1 c old fashioned oats (I used Quaker)
1/2 c baking stevia or truvia baking blend (or 1 cup of sugar or sweetener that measures like sugar)
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 cup vanilla protein powder (which I didn’t use – I used 2 tsp ground chia seeds and 2 T flour)

Preheat oven at 350F. Heat the peanut better in the microwave for 30 seconds to make it easier to mix then Mix first 4 ingredients together. Add the oats, stevia, baking soda, salt, and protein power and blend thoroughly. Then you can fold in about 2 T of mini chocolate chips. Use a greased pan or use parchment paper on a baking sheet. Roll into balls and flatten with a fork. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

I forgot the baking soda – I know! A rookie move! – but they turned out wonderfully anyway. I suspect the chia seeds (which are rich in a complete protein that is usually only found in animal sources) helped keep the cookies springy and moist.

Delish!
Delish!

I did use the chocolate chips. Partially because I had them on hand, but also partially because if the kids are even the least bit suspicious about a new food chocolate usually helps tip the scales in favor of liking the food.

I tried them. They are delicious. I love them. Loaded with protein, but the peanut butter isn’t overwhelming. It’s lightly sweet and you can barely taste the chocolate. The chia seeds have no flavor at all. You can actually put them in anything and increase the protein value of the food by quite a bit. They are actually used in vegan baking to replace eggs – 3T of water to 1T of chia seeds for 1 egg.

I predict the kids are going to whip right through them. I also predict that these are going to get made a lot and sent to school as the mid-day snack or be had in the car for the afternoon snack. Or maybe even for breakfast?

P.S.  This makes 32 cookies at 4.7 g of protein each and only 0.2 g of sugar.