Recipe for Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies

Maybe we should hold a contest to name these cookies, for there’s no deciding. Gingerbread Cookies with Chocolate? Chocolate Spice Cookies? Chocolate Chip Ginger Cookies? I finally decided on Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies but what I really know these chocolate-y ginger-y cookies deserve is, “C’mon over. Let’s dunk a cookie into a cup of coffee.” A little long, yes, but aren’t you just dying for a coffee now? These cookies, they'll do that to ya.

Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies

Twas another time, the Great Depression of the 1930s. A young family prepared to celebrate Christmas on a hard-scrabble place above the Meramec River here in east-central Missouri. There were only five in the family now, a mother recently widowed and four children. Money was scarce.

Determined to make the holiday festive, the mother went into the woods to cut down a Christmas tree, a possum haw already decorated with fat cherry-red berries. Late on Christmas Eve, the family crossed the creek to attend midnight mass. “Take the little ones,” the mother instructed the older two. “I forgot something at the house, I’ll catch up.”

After mass, ‘Santa’ had come and gone, leaving an orange for each one, homemade flour-sack shirts for the boys and small gifts for the girls. The kids had pooled their pennies to buy their mother a big peppermint stick. They exchanged gifts with one another too, the subject of much whispering and plotting beforehand, usually handmade, some times purchased with a few coins.

Looking back, the now-grown children, the oldest and the youngest with children and grandchildren of their own, remember feeling wonder and abundance. By all rights, that Christmas should have been hard but thanks to their mother, it wasn’t.

Twas another time then, for sure. Last month, a news reader cited evidence of our current financial troubles. “Revenue is down 10 percent at Saks Fifth Avenue,” he read rather breathlessly. Ten percent, I thought, only ten percent? At the ilk of Saks, there is nothing, NO THING, we need, plenty to want, of course, but nothing to need.

So what is the 2009 equivalent of possum haw Christmas trees, one orange per person, peppermint sticks and flour-sack shirts? How do we feel rich, even without riches? When surrounded by riches, how do we appreciate the beauty of a single orange? Tis mine to ponder, this holiday season.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. In 2009, Kitchen Parade celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special collection of my mother's recipes. Do you have a favorite cookie recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Become a Kitchen Parade fan on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 20 minutes to mix
Chill: at least 2 hours
Time to table: 3 hours
Make 4 dozen cookies
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 285 grams
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, fluffed to aerate or 25 grams
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1-1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Powdered sugar for rolling

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Add the egg, vanilla and molasses and combine well. In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients with a fork. Mix into the butter mixture until well combined. With a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips. Gather the dough together into a ball, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F. Pinch off a piece of dough about a tablespoon big, roll into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment, leaving three inches between. Bake for 12 minutes (for softer cookies) to 14 minutes (for crisper cookies) until centers are set. Remove from oven and let cool for 2 minutes before removing from the baking sheet to finish cooling. Good Day One but beginning Day Two, the chocolate and spices really emerge, especially dunked in hot coffee and cold milk.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE (How many calories in Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies? How many Weight Watchers points in Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies?) Assumes 48, Per Cookie: 63 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 12mg Cholesterol; 68mg Sodium; 8g Carb; 0g Fiber; 7g Sugar; 0g Protein; Weight Watchers 1 point
Adapted from a favorite new cookbook this fall, The Spice Kitchen by Sara Engram and Katie Luber, who call these cookies 'Bittersweet Chocolate-Chip Ginger Cookies'. The book evangelizes the same ‘spice forward’ simple food found in Kitchen Parade recipes.

collage of bittersweet

These are bittersweet, not the possum haw turned into a Depression-era Christmas tree, but wouldn't it be beautiful?

My friend Susan from the lovely blog 'Food Blogga' is collecting Christmas cookie recipes for the third year in a row. To send her a recipe, check out these instructions. To see what recipes bakers and food bloggers from across the world are sending in, check out Eat Christmas Cookies. (But first? Stock up on butter and sugar and flour! That list is sure to provoke a baking attack.)

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Ah, you made me cry at work, and it wasn't because I didn't have any of those wonderful looking cookies.
I'm crying too.

My family has none of the hardships this family had. God has truly left us extra blessed. But I watch my children, they want more and more, even as I want to give them less and less of all except the basics. This comes at a good time, thank you.
Well said.
What a lovely post you have written, Alanna-- touching and sincere. Thank you for sharing your chocolate ginger crinkles with us as well. To me, cookies baked with love are much more precious than anything from Saks. Happy Holidays, my friend.
I have my mug of coffee... yes, please pass the cookie platter! Never would have thought of adding cocoa with ginger, but now it just seems right. Thanks for a lovely recipe.
Sweet story, thanks for sharing!

I am now going home tonight and making cookies to have with coffee! yum!
I have always loved ginger cookies, but the chocolate really adds a perfect touch!
Yumola! I would make these again!
Mine didn't look as pretty as the picture. :-(
I agree, they are better the second day.

P.S. Wonderful, touching & humbling story!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna