Chocolate Orange Crinkle Cookies

choco-crinkles-baked

For Christmas this year I promised my daughter that we would bake cookies for Santa Claus. Of course she wanted to get really hands-on about it, so I had to choose a recipe that was easy to make and easy to handle, even for kids. Enter the chocolate crinkle cookie. I’d never made them before, but I’d eaten plenty and they were delicious– and the “rolling in sugar” step looked like something kids would really enjoy!

However, recipes seemed to fall into two categories– those with butter and those with oil. How to choose? Ordinarily I would be butter all the way, because it just tastes better in a cookie. On the other hand, oil would make the dough a lot easier to make (no softening and creaming of butter), and the cookies would likely stay moist longer. I decided to go for an oil-based recipe.

I couldn’t leave well enough alone, though, so I added a punch of orange zest to make the flavors more interesting.

Chocolate Orange Crinkle Cookies (makes about 4 dozen)

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs, room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp. orange zest

1/2 cup sugar (for rolling)

1/2 cup powdered sugar (for rolling)

1. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa in a bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and oil. Add eggs one at a time and beat until light and foamy.

3. Add vanilla and orange zest and combine thoroughly.

4. Stir in dry ingredients to form a batter. Chill for at least 2 hours until it firms up a bit into a runny dough– if you don’t you’ll never be able to form it into balls, I swear. It’s like brownie batter until completely chilled, and even then it’s very sticky.

choco-crinkle-process

5. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and line baking sheets with parchment or silicone pan liners.

6. Scoop the dough into 1″ balls and roll them first in granulated sugar, then powdered sugar. The granulated sugar really does help the powdered sugar stick better, plus it helps you to form the wet dough into a ball shape as you roll it around.

choco-crinkles-dip

7. Arrange dough balls 3″ apart on baking sheets and bake for approximately 8 minutes. Cookies will be just set on the outside but will still look wet in the cracks. Don’t overbake!

Notes:

  1. I baked my first batch of these on foil, but the problem is that the baked cookies leave behind a faint sugary residue that causes the next batch to stick to the foil after baking. Silicone liners solve this issue, and I think parchment would too.
  2. The cookies baked on silicone liners domed much more prettily than the foil ones, as well.
  3. I think I might try another recipe next time– one that uses butter instead of oil– to help firm the dough up a bit to make for easier shaping. I’ve also noticed that the butter-based recipes tend to use melted chocolate rather than cocoa, which would also help with firming.
  4. These dried out pretty quickly despite the use of oil– I don’t think I overbaked them, but maybe next time I’d make them a little larger to allow for softer centers.
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