Candy Cane Kiss Chocolate Crinkle Cookies are my signature cookies for cookie exchanges because they’re so pretty and Christmassy. But what are the secrets to making perfectly crackly cookies?
‘Tis the season for cookies! Lots and lots of cookies!
I mean, cookies are for everyday, I know that. There isn’t a specific season or time reserved for cookies. Unless, of course, when there are lots and lots of them. That, ladies and gentlemen, is specifically slated for Christmas.
And my signature Christmas cookies, the ones I bring to cookie exchanges, are these Candy Cane Kiss Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.
Although secretly, deep down I’ve always known they’re not my favorite cookies. Gasp!
Why are they my signature cookies, then, you ask. Because everybody else was already bringing the chocolate chip, the snickerdoodle, the spritz, the molasses, the Italian almond, the oatmeal, the sugar cookies, etcetera, etcetera… And they wouldn’t budge, these cookie-exchange buddies of mine.
Maybe they insisted on those cookies because they were the only cookies they knew how to make?! I don’t know, but unlike my buddies, I’m a pretty flexible person. So when all the usual suspects were already taken, I decided to bring the Candy Cane Kiss Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. And now I’m stuck with them.
If I had my way, I would have picked the oatmeal cookies. Any cookies with oatmeal in them are hands down my all-time favorite. The oatmeal makes them so chewy and somewhat on the healthy side, a win-win in my opinion.
But we’re not talking about them, I’m afraid. We’re talking about Candy Cane Kiss Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. Which, as you know, are not chopped liver. Just look at them. So pretty. So Christmassy.
So I don’t mind, actually, if people associate them with me. I do like making pretty things. And even though they’re not my favorite, they’re still very good cookies worthy of a cookie exchange party. I wouldn’t have put them up on the blog if they weren’t. They can very well be your cookie-exchange buddies’ favorite.
The original recipe for these cookies came from Cook’s Illustrated, which I’ve modified to suit my taste and preference. On the method, however, you should not veer far from that original recipe. It’s the one fool-proof recipe, that consistently produces the best-looking crackling, because of one simple step.
The secret simple step to making the best-looking Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.
Rolling the dough balls in granulated sugar first, prior to rolling them in powdered sugar IS THE SECRET. Well, not so secret anymore now, seriously.
I’m sure most people know about it, but you’d be surprised to see recipes out there that miss this crucial step, and thereby yielding clumpy-looking cookie balls with just a few wide gaps.
NOT this recipe! This produces those attractive crackly cookies, every time.
After making these Chocolate Crinkle Cookies for so many years, however, I’ve also found another little secret step that works well for me. Who says you can’t improve a recipe, even one from Cook’s Illustrated?
The second little secret step to making the best Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.
Actually there are 2 little secrets: Coating your dough balls liberally with powdered sugar and NOT chilling your dough prior to baking will produce these bold, rough, and wide cracks.
Shaking off excess powdered sugar aaand… chilling your dough in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours, however, will yield these puffy cookies with dainty, delicate, and fine cracks. Prettier, in my opinion. Also, less sugar overall is always a good thing.
So, there you go, all the secrets are out! Go right ahead, make your own batch of these Candy Cane Kiss Chocolate Crinkle Cookies and let them be the star of your cookie exchange party.
- 1 cup (5 ounces) whole wheat flour
- ½ cup (1 ½ ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup packed (6 ½ ounces) brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (4 ounces) bittersweet (60% cocoa) chocolate chips
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup (3 ½ ounces) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (2 ounces) powdered sugar
- Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- Put flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Whisk to mix.
- In another bowl (large), whisk brown sugar, eggs, espresso powder (if using), and vanilla together until it becomes a smooth batter.
- Place chocolate chips and butter in a microwavable bowl and microwave at 50% power, stirring at 30-second intervals, until melted, about 2 minutes.
- Pour chocolate mixture into egg mixture, and whisk until combined.
- Add flour mixture and fold with a spatula until no dry streaks remain. Dough will be sticky at this point. Letting it sit in the fridge for 10-15 minutes will make it easier to work with.
- Place granulated sugar and powdered sugar in separate bowls.
- Using a small cookie scoop, drop about 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, directly into granulated sugar. Roll to coat and form into balls.
- Then transfer the dough balls into powdered sugar and roll to coat evenly, but not too thickly if you prefer fine cracks.
- Place on a cookie sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes (depending on your oven), or until puffed and cracked and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft. Cookies may look raw between cracks and seem underdone (once cooled they’ll set nicely).
- Allow cookies to cool slightly for 1-2 minutes before placing Candy Cane Kisses, otherwise these kisses will melt into the cookies, instead of sitting on top. Push them gently into the center of cookies; the residual heat from the cookies will melt the bottom of the kisses, bonding them to the cookies.
2. Baking them longer (for the full 10 minutes) will result in sturdier, and in my opinion, fudgier cookies.
3. Unlike most cookies, these Chocolate Crinkle Cookies actually taste better after they cool completely, and even better the next day.
These cookies are partying with:
Full Plate Thursday
soulsister meets friends
My kids would love this
They’re very much kid friendly. Thanks!
Thanks for revealing the secrets! My cookies usually end up looking like a blob. lol.
Lol! Well, I hope they’ll turn out better next time 😀
Karen, the next best thing to mummy says
These look great, so I will be following your recipe #,whatifchristmss
Thanks! Let me know how it turns out.
Kat (The Baking Explorer) says
These are just THE CUTEST christmas cookies!!
They’re cute, aren’t they?! Thanks! ?
These are so cute! A lovely festive treat!
Thanks, Donna! They’re easy to make, too ?
These are so adorable! ❤️
Thanks, Ai! ?
Why aren’t my questions answered? I need to know if this batch really makes 40. Cooks Illustrated recipe only makes 22. Should I make double batch? They’re very pretty cookies, prettier than most crinkle cookies I’ve seen. I would like to serve them at tea time with friends.
Your previous comments were held in moderation since you’re a first-time commenter. I need to approve them first. Anyway, 1 batch does make 40 SMALL (about 1 1/2-inch) cookies, which I find prettier and the kisses don’t get lost sitting on big cookies. Cook’s Illustrated uses 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie, while I use only about 1 tablespoon. I hope that clarifies better. Thanks for the compliment.
Thank you. I made them, didn’t turn out as pretty as yours even with following the secrets. They taste good, not too sweet.
As long as you like them, that’s all that matters 🙂
These look delicious and will look great on the table. I’m definitely going to be making some with my son this year. Thanks! #KCACOLS
Thanks, Christy! Let me know how they turn out for you.
Lisa L Lombardo says
These look amazing! I found you on Sunday’s Best 🙂
I am hosting a 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Party and I would love to have you share your recipes! We are creating an eBook to share with all of the participants…Hope you will join the fun!
Oh, sure, I would love to participate. Thanks for the invitation!
Shelbee on the Edge says
These look so pretty! I can see why they would be a hit. But I have to be honest, chocolate and peppermint are not my favorite in a cookie either! But I would totally still eat these…because…you know, they are still cookies and really good looking cookies at that! Thanks for sharing and linking up.
Great minds think alike, lol. I mean, I would eat them, of course. Why else would I make them? 😀 Thanks for the party!
Michelle Rolfe says
These look so cute and tasty. I always like to find new ways with Christmas cookies to make them a little more special, and these do just that. Cheers, Michelle #CookBlogShare
Thanks so much, Michelle.
Fiona Cambouropoulos says
these look adorable and so festive #KCACOLS
Thanks so much, Fiona!
Jacqui Bellefontaine says
These look fabulous and so festive and I’m a firm believer you can not have too many Christmas cookies. Thank you for linking to #CookBlogShare.
I agree with you about having lots of cookies at Christmas; it’s the one time I refuse to watch my cookie intake, lol. Thanks for the compliment, Jacquie!
Jenny Walters says
These are sooooo cute. I have never made them before but your fab photos make me feel that I have made them twenty times already. Just beautiful! Can’t wait to try one. Thank you so much for sharing them with #BakingCrumbs
Thanks, Jenny! I hope you get to try them. They’re really quite easy to make, once you know all the secrets.
Emma Dowey says
Ohh i wonder if I could make these vegan!? might have to give them a go with an egg replacer.
Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time!
Oh I’m sure you can! May not puff up too much (actually I don’t know what egg replacer does so don’t quote me,lol) but I’m sure the flavors will still be there.
Miz Helen says
Your Candy Cane Kiss Chocolate Crinkle Cookies are just perfect for the holidays! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday,461 and hope you are having a great week!
Thanks so much, Miz Helen. I hope you have a great week, too XO
Lou | Crumbs and Corkscrews says
These look amazing and so Christmassy – love the colours! Chocolate and peppermint are one of my favourite festive flavour combinations. I’ll definitely be trying these this year. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks so much, Lou! I hope you do get to try them. They have such lovely chocolate and mint flavors.
Veronica Lee says
These candy cane cookies look so fun and festive! Yummmm!
Thanks so much! I’m glad you like them 🙂
louise Gunstone says
These look awesome and are now on my list to try. Thanks for linking them to #CookBlogShare
Thanks so much! I hope you do get to try them.
Roseann Hampton says
These cookies look delicious! Thanks for sharing with us at the Happy Holidays Link Party! This will be one of my features next Wednesday!
Thanks so much, Roseann! ??
Our Hopeful Home says
These look perfect! SO Christmas-y! I don’t love the flavor combo either, but many people do I can see why they’re a hit:) Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen
Jo (A Rose Tinted World) says
Wow! These look amazing and I bet they are so tasty! #KCACOLS
Helen - Cooking with my kids says
I love crinkle cookies and am on my third batch already this Christmas. I’ve never added the candy cane kiss though – that makes them look so pretty. #BakingCrumbs.
Thanks, Helen. The candy cane kisses make them look pretty and festive!
Madeline (This Glorious Life) says
These are so cute, and so festive! I wonder if I can get those kisses in the UK! x #KCACOLS