Chocolate Crinkle Cookies and the Christmas Cookie Notebook

Three Chocolate  cookies on a white plate

Each year my one-and-only aunt spent the weeks before Christmas making mountains of cookies to give as gifts to family and friends.

The holiday tins were filled with a wide variety of goodies from rum balls to seven-layer bars. I looked forward to that tin all year long.

After she passed away, I was given her large cookbook collection. I've shared some of them with my daughters and daughter-in-law, but I kept the red half-size looseleaf notebook that holds my aunt's cookie recipes.

A typewritten cookie recipe in a red notebook

The pages of this notebook contain recipes cut from magazines and copied from various sources.

She'd typed others on an old manual typewriter, complete with typos that made me smile. "Giner Bookies" surely must mean Ginger Cookies, right?

It's Mrs. George Bush's recipe, published in House Beautiful in December 1984.

A handwritten Christmas cookie recipe in a red binder

A very few pages are handwritten.

The first section is labeled "Stand-Bys." The top of the pages have the source of the recipe; some also have "molded," "bar," "candy," "drop" or other notes.

Some have handwritten notes: "cut salt to 1/4 tsp."

Christmas cookie recipe with handwritten notes

The Glazed Apple Gems from Bon Appetite include a note that they are "very good!" and a date 12/05 when she made them. She noted several changes in oven temperature, baking time, and that she should double the amount of the glaze.

A note on the Rum Balls recipe says "do not add more rum! Thin with water if necessary." That makes me wonder whether she added too much rum once and what the consequences were!

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Some of the recipes came from "J.C.'s mother" in 1974, and from "Debbie" in 1969, from "C and H Sugar," "Gold Medal Flour," and a "Molasses booklet." Others are from "Mama," my grandma.

There are a few pages in the notebook that are photocopies, cut out and glued in with rubber cement that has turned brown with age and shows through the paper. One is a table of candy stages and temperatures.

A page from my aunt's Christmas cookie notebook.

Since I keep my favorite recipes in a full-size notebook, I could just photocopy the recipes I want and 3-hole punch the pages, but this notebook is truly a treasure in its complete and original form.

I may not ever make most of the recipes, but I'll keep this collection forever.

It's a snapshot of my aunt's life and a taste of her giving nature, and it preserves some of the treats my grandma made for my father, his brother and little sister when they were children.

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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

How could I tease you about cookies and then not give you a recipe from her collection.

I've made these chocolate crinkle cookies many times. Usually I sent most of them to work with The Chief. His co-workers loved them. So did I, but this way I didn't have to eat them all myself.

Because I would. I have no willpower.

There was no source cited for this recipe in her notebook.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder - I used Rumford aluminum-free baking powder (link to Amazon)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2  1-ounce squares of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup confectioners sugar for rolling

Baking chocolate squares

I didn't have to chop the chocolate; it was well-broken when I opened the package.

Baking chocolate squares and label

The recipe calls for "two squares" of chocolate, or two ounces. Fortunately I noticed this on the wrapper, that 4 squares = 1 oz, and I added the eight pieces needed to make two ounces. 

That could have been very disappointing. If you make these, be sure to use two ounces of chocolate, not necessarily two squares!

Dry ingredients for a cookie recipe

Mix the flour and baking powder together and set aside. 

My aunt's instructions say to sift them together, but I don't own a sifter. I mixed them together with my wire whisk.

Melted chocolate in a glass measuring cup

Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and stir the chocolate into the melted butter until melted. It doesn't take long for the chocolate to melt from the heat of the butter.

The "wet" ingredients for a Christmas cookie recipe

Use another bowl to mix the sugar, eggs and vanilla together. Add this to the chocolate and butter mixture and mix together well. 

Then add the flour/baking powder mixture a little at a time to the wet ingredients. Don't add it all at once, it will be very hard to mix.

Mixing the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients

Add the chocolate chips and stir well.

Adding chocolate chips to the cookie dough ingredients

Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least two hours. My aunt wrote that refrigerating the dough overnight is preferable, but I opted for the two hours. Waiting is the hardest part, isn't it?

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or greased aluminum foil.

Rolling the cookie dough balls into powdered sugar

Use your hands to roll the dough into balls of about one inch diameter, then roll the balls in confectioners sugar. 

Use more sugar than I did. I thought it looked like enough but the finished cookies will be prettier if you coat them rather thickly with the sugar.

Cookie balls on a greased cookie sheet

Place cookies two inches apart on the cookie sheets.

Chocolate crinkle cookies fresh out of the oven.

Bake 9-12 minutes, until the tops crack. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.

Three cookies on a white plate

This recipe makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

What is your favorite cookie recipe? Does it have "history?" I enjoy leafing through my aunt's notebook when the holiday season approaches, reading her notes and remembering those delicious tins of cookies she gave us each year.

Even though I don't bake cookies for the holidays, because I'd end up eating way too many of them myself.

And while my aunt always gifted her cookies in tins, there are many other ways to present cookies. See how my friend Julie arranges her cookie trays here.

For more simple living ideas and occasional recipes (not always cookies!), subscribe to my weekly-ish newsletter The Acorn here, and join me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. I'd love to see you there!

Christmas cookies in a bowl

The Christmas cookie notebook


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