Chocolate-orange crinkles

Happy December!  It's officially the season of unabashed cookie-baking and eating! I'm convinced that's at least part of the reason why this is the best time of year. 
Classic Christmas Crinkles - this one with an orange twist
I have plenty of family-favorite treats to make so I have to get busy!  I'm sure it's the same way for you.  I always wish there was more time and space to try more recipes but I can realistically only squeeze in a couple of new experiments during this busy month.  So I'm starting off with a Christmas cookie classic - crinkles (or crackles) - and this year I'm favoring them with an orange twist.  It's my way of having a familiar favorite in a slightly different way.  

I usually make a batch of these snowy cookies every holiday season.  Pure dark chocolate works perfectly well but these cookies also allow room for your own accents - I like adding almond extract and the Nutella version was a hit last year.  You could give your crinkles a peppermint flavor, which is always nice this time of year, or add depth with spices.  This year, I went with orange since that classic chocolate-orange combination never gets old for me.  I used Theo's Orange Dark Chocolate bar (a favorite of mine to munch on), along with some plain dark chocolate and fresh orange zest, for these cookies.    
Like I said, chocolate with orange never gets old.  I loved biting into this year's crinkles and tasting that flavor combination.  These cookies are so moist and soft inside.  They're fudgy and brownie-like, with a little crunch and extra sweetness on the outside from the sugar.  Instead of being overly sweet all in, you get a deep, dark chocolate (and orange) flavor thanks not only to the actual chocolate but also from cocoa powder as well as the use of brown sugar rather than granulated in the cookie dough.
It's no wonder crinkles are so popular.  They're not just fun to look at but a real holiday treat - whether you keep them plain or flavor them with a little something extra like I have here.
And given how much snow we've had in the last few winters, I'd be more than happy to simply appreciate the idea of snow through cookies.  These definitely make me think of winter, snow, and Christmas - plus, they definitely put me in the holiday spirit.


I based these chocolate-orange crinkle cookies off of a recipe from Martha Stewart that I've relied on in the last few years.  It produces cookies with a great moist texture and deep chocolate flavor.  

I needed 4 ounces of chocolate for this batch of cookies and I went with one 3-oz. Theo orange chocolate bar and added another ounce of dark chocolate.  To make sure I have plenty of orange flavor, I also added about 1/2 teaspoon of fresh orange zest to the cookie dough.  The result is plenty of chocolate-orange flavor in every bite. 
One thing I've learned about making crinkles is to roll the cookie dough in both granulated sugar (first) and powdered sugar.  This helps the powdered sugar adhere and you end up with more distinct marks after baking.  You're definitely after that signature snow-capped look with all the cracks that go with these cookies.
This recipe, which is sized down to half the original, makes about 20 cookies but you could make them a bit smaller.  I tend to get a bit impatient rolling out the dough balls and my cookies generally turn out larger rather than smaller.
I think these were a pretty delicious addition to this year's Christmas cookie rotation.  And I can't wait to see what others are making and be inspired by all the delicious possibilities over the next few weeks!
Whatever you're baking this holiday season, I hope you have a great time doing it. Hopefully, it might help create some lasting memories for you and your family even after every last crumb is gone...


Recipe:

Chocolate-Orange Crinkles
Adapted from Martha Stewart

- Makes approximately 20 cookies - 

3 ounce bar of Theo Orange Dark Chocolate bar (or similar bar), finely chopped
1 ounce dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Dutch-processed)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
3/4 cup lightly-packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup confectioners sugar

Melt chocolates in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (or in the microwave).  Set aside and let cool.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in another bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, orange zest, and brown sugar together on medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in egg and vanilla extract.  Add the melted chocolate until combined, scraping around the sides and bottom of the bowl.  On low speed, mix in the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk in between.  Divide the dough into 2 roughly equal pieces and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll dough into about 1 inch balls.  Roll the dough balls first in granulated sugar and then confectioners' sugar.  Place them on parchment or silicon lined baking baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake until cookies are puffed and surfaces are cracked, about 14 minutes, rotating the pans midway through the baking time.  Let cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 






42 comments:

  1. Adorable crinkle cookies Monica! The chocolate and orange flavour combination is right up my street!! Very useful tip too, rolling in granulated sugar and icing sugar - adds to a crunchy outer coating. Delicious! A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

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    1. Thanks, Jo. I don't want to add more sugar if I can help it but it seems to do the trick and hey, it's Christmas! : )

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  2. I've made crinkle cookies before, but never with an orange twist. I agree - chocolate and orange together are fantastic! I think I'd love these even more than the original.

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    1. This orange spin is my favorite so far...but I tend to say that every time we try a little something different. : )

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  3. Crinkles are on my list too! Your photos are inspiring and the addition of orange is brilliant! Happy baking Monica - can't wait to see more :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Tricia. Your goodies are sure to continue to inspire me!

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  4. I love crinkles and make them almost every year. Yours look fanfreakingtastic, Monica.

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    1. Thanks so much, Angie. Happy Holidays!

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  5. These are so beautiful! Perfect for a holiday cookie party :)

    Sues

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    1. Gotta bake up some crinkles in December. ; )

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  6. These cookies are absolutely perfect! Yummy!

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    1. Thanks, Jocelyn. Happy baking this month!

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  7. Hi Monica, these are the ultimate Christmas cookie, love the plate too!

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    1. Thanks, Cheri! I just love this time of year. : )

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  8. Crinkles are one of my favorites too and I love that you made a dark chocolate orange version. That sounds so delicious! They look so so pretty and perfect to kick start the holiday cookie season!

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    1. They are so moist and chocolaty and full of orange flavor. I am really enjoying them, I have to say. : ) Happy baking and enjoy the holiday season, Kelly!

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  9. You just made one of my favorite holiday cookies better with the orange!! I love making chocolate crinkles and cannot wait to try these out! And I completely agree - chocolate / orange never gets old! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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    1. It was good, thanks. It was a good thing we didn't get too much snow. I'm grateful for that! Happy holiday frenzy to you. : )

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  10. I haven't posted cookies from a while. These beautiful orange scented chocolate cookies are inspiring me to bake some.

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    1. Oh it's definitely the time for a cookie recipe or two!

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  11. Monica, I love how festive these cookies look!!!!! <3 Orange and dark chocolate is a classic combination and to combine them for these beautiful looking cookies is just fantastic! Love it! Pinning! :D

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    1. Glad you like it. They are definitely one of the cookies I think of for Christmas.

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  12. Orange and chocolate match perfectly! Ideal for Christmas!

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  13. Crinkle cookies are so delicious, and yours look stunning!! Love that your used a dark chocolate orange chocolate bar - yum!

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    1. Yes - it's a great shortcut. I love how fudgy and moist these cookies are and actually stay that way for a few days.

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  14. Chocolate and orange?! I would've never thought of that combo in cookies but the more I think about it, the more I'm in to it! It sounds absolutely delicious!

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    1. I know what you mean. I tried the combo in a chocolate chip cookie last year...it was really tasty so that made me think of this (and so many other possibilities!).

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  15. There really is something great about chocolate with orange, yum!

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    1. I like chocolate with lots of things but orange is so awesome...it seems to heighten each other and make each pop.

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  16. Monica I'm making these this year because they're just so festive looking. Thanks for inspiring me to think of flavour combos that are a bit different! Love the look of yours :D

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    1. What a nice thing to say - thank you, Lorraine!

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  17. Yum! Love that you used an orange flavored chocolate. That's so clever! I'm going to have to try your tip to roll them in both powdered sugar and granulated sugar. Can't wait to get baking!

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    1. You're too kind, Christin. I think I was only thinking along the lines of shortcuts. : ) Happy baking!

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  18. Oh Monica, these cookies look so pretty and I love the idea of chocolate and orange...they are sure perfect for this time of the year...thanks for the recipe.
    Enjoy your week :)

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    1. Thanks, Juliana. Hope you are having a lovely holiday season in your world.

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  19. These cookies look so beautiful and snowy and delicious!! A holiday classic indeed; love the zest of orange as well! (:

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    1. Thanks - happy holidays to you and enjoy some sweet treats this month, Monica!

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  20. Crinkle cookies are a classic but I love how you added orange to the party! These look delicious. :)
    Tina from www.tinaschic.com

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    1. It's such a classic and sometimes I don't want to mess with it but a little tweak here and there seems to be quite nice. : ) Happy December!

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  21. These are so pretty. I made gingerbread crinkles which look somewhat similar...though definitely lacking the deep brown of chocolate.This is a hit combination no matter where you use it. I want to make these now.

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    1. Gingerbread crinkles!? The ideas and possibilities for these just go on and on. I made our favorite chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies recently; this is the time when we crave all those Christmas spices. I can't get enough!

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