These mocha crinkle cookies are chewy, fudgy, and have a toasty pop of espresso! 100% decadent. Even better, they’re amazing with chocolate hazelnut spread or buttercream for crinkle cookie sandwiches. Make sure to add gorgeous cookies to your baking list for holiday parties, cookie exchanges, and Christmas get-togethers!

A wire rack of mocha crinkle cookies on a wood table next to a red plaid linen, white bowl of Nutella, white cups of coffee, and garland.

We all have an “ex-boyfriend recipe”, right?

That is, a recipe gifted by a boyfriend’s mom/grandma/aunt/brother-in-law’s cousin that was better than the relationship itself?

Well, here’s mine. Many years ago, when I was in high school, I first tasted these crinkle cookies by my then-boyfriend’s grandma and she was kind of enough to pass along the recipe. And while that relationship was abandoned in 2013, the recipe was not. Now, they’re one of my Christmas cookie staples along with cardamom gingerbread cookies and chewy molasses crinkle cookies!

Recipe details

Over the 12+ years of making these cookies, I’ve tweaked and adjusted them into the recipe they are today. First of all, I added coffee because, well, it’s kind of my thing. I’ve also tested the recipe with all kinds of chocolate for the fudgiest, crinkliest cookie I could muster. They are absolutely amazing. Like, I probably won’t even share these with Santa (unless he brings me a ten-piece Staub set, of course). 🤷‍♀️

  • The cookie dough is easy and comes together in minutes.
  • They’re chewy, fudgy, and perfect on their own or as cookie sandwiches.
  • Make them for cookie boxes, cookie exchanges, or holiday parties!
  • Freeze some for later and enjoy crinkle cookies year-round.

The ingredients

White and brown bowls of flour, powdered sugar, sugar, oil, vanilla, espresso powder, chocolate chips, and Nutella on a white counter next to eggs.
  • Chocolate – feel free to use either chocolate chips or chopped chocolate! Go with semi-sweet or dark chocolate so the cookies aren’t too sweet.
  • Flour – just a bit of all-purpose flour will give the dough stability (while making sure the cookies stay nice and fudgy!).
  • Baking powder – a lot of cookie recipes use baking soda, but in this recipe we’ll use powder to help the cookies puff up and thicken.
  • Salt – I like Morton’s Kosher salt. Just a pinch to offset the sweetness a bit!
  • Espresso powderusing instant espresso will add lots of coffee flavor without adding too much liquid. Make sure to pick something high-quality for the best flavor. I like this one!
  • Sugar – regular white sugar will add sweetness and keep the cookies soft and chewy.
  • Neutral oil – I like using oil in these cookies because it makes them super moist and fudgy. I usually go with canola oil.
  • Eggs – a couple of eggs will bind the dough and help the cookies puff up and spread.
  • Vanilla extract – just for a pop of extra flavor! Make sure it’s 100% pure vanilla.
  • Powdered sugar – for rolling and creating those beautiful crackles.
  • Chocolate hazelnut spread – if you want to make cookie sandwiches! Totally optional but delicious. Nutella or any similar spread will work.

Ingredient variations

  • Chocolate – feel free to use milk chocolate for a sweeter cookie.
  • Coffee – you can also use instant coffee. Depending on the brand, it might not be as strong as the espresso so add more, to taste!
  • Gluten-free – replace the flour with a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour replacement like Cup4Cup.
  • Filling – sandwich the cookies with coffee buttercream or marshmallow buttercream instead.

How to make this recipe

To make the cookies

Six steps to making mocha crinkle cookies. In photo 1, a white bowl of flour and espresso powder is on a white counter. In photo 2, the mixture is whisked. In photo 3, a white bowl of chocolate chips is on a white counter. In photo 4, the chocolate is melted. In photo 5, the bowl has sugar and oil in it. In photo 6, the mixture is mixed and has an egg in it.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and instant espresso powder. Set aside.
  2. Next, melt the chocolate in a large mixing bowl and let it cool for a few minutes.
  3. Then, add the sugar and oil. Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract.
Six steps to making espresso chocolate cookies. In photo 1, a white bowl of chocolate cookie batter is topped with flour. In photo 2, the dough is mixed. In photo 3, the bowl is covered with a bowl cover. In photo 4, the dough is being scooped. In photo 5, a ball of dough is being rolled in a white plate of granulated sugar. In photo 6, the dough ball is being rolled in a brown bowl of powdered sugar.
  1. Add the flour mixture and stir just until the dough forms. It will be a thick, loose dough.
  2. Then, cover the bowl and chill the dough for at least 2 hours.
  3. Once the dough is chilled, scoop the dough into balls.
  4. Roll the balls in granulated sugar followed by powdered sugar.
  5. Lastly, bake the cookies until they’re nice and crackly. Cool and enjoy!

Pro tip!

The cookies are ready when the edges are set but the centers still look a bit underdone. That’s the key to cookies that are chewy and fudgy! Avoid over-baking the cookies or they’ll come out dry and crumbly.

To make crinkle cookie sandwiches

Two photos of making crinkle cookie sandwiches. In photo 1, a hand spreads Nutella on a crinkle cookie over a rack of crinkle cookies. In photo 2, the hand sandwiches another cookie on top.

Not that these cookies really needed any more decadence, but since I can’t leave a good thing alone, of course I had to try a sandwich version! They’re extra but they’re also ridiculously delicious.

  1. Once the cookies are cooled, spread about 2 teaspoons of chocolate hazelnut spread on the bottoms of half of the cookies.
  2. Top the bottom cookies with the other half of the crinkle cookies.
  3. Gently press the cookies to sandwich them together. Enjoy!

What makes the cookies crinkle?

There’s a lot of science that goes into those gorgeous crinkly tops! But long story short, it’s the powdered sugar that helps the tops crinkle. The mix of granulated and powdered sugar dries out the surface of the cookies which makes the outside crinkle and the centers stay soft and moist.

Serving ideas

This recipe is one of my go-tos for holiday baking, cookie exchange parties, and Christmas get-togethers. But honestly, they’re good any time of the year! Here are a few of my favorite ways to eat these mocha chocolate cookies:

  • Serve them with hot coffee, tea, or milk.
  • Put them in cookie boxes.
  • Make them for Christmas movie nights.
  • Share them with Santa (if you have to).
A wire rack of espresso chocolate cookies on a wood table next to a red plaid linen, pine cones, and white cups of coffee.

Storing & make-ahead

To store leftover cookies, place them in an airtight container and let them sit at room temperature for up to 3 days. After a few days, they will start to lose their chew.

If you want to make the cookies in advance, you can bake them up to 2-3 days before serving. Or, refrigerate the dough for up to 24 hours and bake the cookies when you’re ready to enjoy!

Freezing the cookies

You can either freeze the baked cookies or the cookie dough! Here’s how:

  • To freeze the baked cookies – first, let them cool completely. Then, stack them in an airtight container or freezer bag in-between layers of parchment paper. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To freeze the cookie dough – after the dough is chilled, scoop it into balls and freeze them on a parchment-lined sheet pan until they’re solid, 1-2 hours. Once they’re frozen, pop the frozen cookie dough balls in a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Baking the frozen cookie dough – start by thawing the cookie dough balls for about 30-60 minutes at room temperature. Then, roll the cookie dough in granulated sugar and powdered sugar and bake according to the recipe directions.

Helpful tools

Quick tip

I always recommend measuring the ingredients with a scale for the best, most accurate cookies every time! But, if you are using cups, make sure you’re measuring the flour correctly. Start by fluffing the flour with a whisk and spoon the fluffed flour into the measuring cup. Then, level the flour off without packing it in.

Mocha crinkle cookie sandwiches on a wire rack next to white mugs of coffee, a white bowl of Nutella, and a red linen with a wood background.

Tips & tricks

  • The quality of the ingredients is important here! Choose high-quality chocolate and instant coffee, because it will make a big difference in the flavor of these mocha chocolate cookies.
  • Make sure to chill the dough for at least 2 hours or overnight. It’s the key to cookies that are fudgy and thick!
  • If the cookies aren’t spreading, just warm up the dough for about 30 minutes. Sometimes, I’ve found that the cookies don’t spread if the dough has been chilling for more 2-3 hours.
  • Avoid over-baking the cookies or they’ll come out dry and crumbly. The cookies are done when they’re set on the edges and look a bit underdone in the centers!

Recipe FAQs

Do I have to chill the dough?

Yes. This dough is very loose and chilling the dough is key to helping it thicken and develop the flavors. You can chill the dough for anywhere between 2-24 hours!

What is espresso powder?

Espresso powder (or instant espresso) is basically just brewed coffee that has been dehydrated into dissolvable granules. It’s great for baking because it dissolves into doughs (without leaving grittiness like coffee grounds do) and it’s concentrated for lots of flavor! Find it in the coffee or baking aisle.

Why are my crinkle cookies not crackling?

There are a few reasons the tops might not be crinkling. First off, the dough might be too cold. If the dough is super chilled, just let it warm for about 30 minutes. Or, it might be that you’re not using enough powdered sugar. You want the cookie dough balls to have a thick layer of powdered sugar so it dries out the surface of the dough and creates those pretty crackles!

Why are my cookies dry?

These cookies are super moist and fudgy. If your cookies are dry, it’s most likely because you used too much flour. I highly recommend using a kitchen scale for the most accurate measuring! If you used the right amount of flour, it can also be that you’re over-baking the cookies. Bake them just until they’re set on the edges and a bit underdone in the centers.

Why is the powdered sugar turning yellow?

Sometimes, the powdered sugar melts in the oven a bit and mixes with the chocolate dough which gives it a yellow-ish tint. This can also happen if you live in a humid place! To keep that powdered sugar bright white, we’ll use a little trick I learned in pastry school.

First, coat the cookie dough balls in a thin layer of granulated sugar and then roll the balls in a thick layer of powdered sugar. The granulated sugar will soak up any extra moisture and keep the powdered sugar from melting!

A wire rack of mocha crinkle cookies on a wood table next to a red plaid linen, pinecones, a white bowl of Nutella, and white mugs of coffee.

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Fudgy Mocha Crinkle Cookies

Yield: 28 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
These mocha crinkle cookies are chewy, fudgy, and have a toasty pop of espresso! 100% decadent. Even better, they're amazing with chocolate hazelnut spread or buttercream for crinkle cookie sandwiches. Make sure to add gorgeous cookies to your baking list for holiday parties, cookie exchanges, and Christmas get-togethers!

Ingredients

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

  • 1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (172 grams)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted (120 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup sugar (200 grams), plus more for rolling
  • 1/3 cup neutral oil (72 grams)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted (30 grams)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (148 grams), for making cookie sandwiches, optional

Equipment

Instructions 

Mocha Crinkle Cookies

  • Pour the chocolate chips in a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl. Microwave the chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring in-between, until it's melted. Let the chocolate cool to room temperature for a few minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and instant espresso powder. Set aside.
  • Then, add the sugar and oil to the melted chocolate. Using a hand mixer (or stand mixer), beat the chocolate, sugar, and oil for about 1 minute. Then, add the eggs one at a time until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Add the flour mixture and beat the dough just until it's combined. Cover the bowl with a reusable bowl cover or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  • Once the dough is completely chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C), and line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Using a #60 (1 Tablespoon) cookie scoop, scoop the dough and roll it into balls. Roll the cookie dough balls in a light layer of granulated sugar. Then, roll the cookie dough balls in a thick layer of powdered sugar.
  • Place the cookie dough balls about 2-3 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake the cookies, checking for doneness around 8-10 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on top and set on the edges, but the middles will look a bit underdone. Let the cookies cool on the sheet pan for about 5 minutes. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookie Sandwiches

  • To make cookie sandwiches, place half of your cookies upside down on a cooling rack. Spread about 2 teaspoons of chocolate hazelnut spread on the bottom of each cookie.
  • Sandwich the remaining cookies on top of each frosted cookie. Press gently to help them stick together. Enjoy!

Notes

I always recommend measuring the ingredients with a scale for the best, most accurate cookies every time! But, if you are using cups, make sure you’re measuring the flour correctly. Start by fluffing the flour with a whisk and spoon the whisked flour into the cup. Then, level the flour off without packing it in.
The quality of the ingredients is important in these cookies! Choose high-quality chocolate and instant coffee, because it will make a big difference in the flavor.
Make sure to chill the dough for at least 2 hours or overnight. It’s the key to cookies that are fudgy and thick!
Sometimes, the powdered sugar melts in the oven a bit and mixes with the chocolate dough which gives it a yellow-ish tint. This can also happen if you live in a humid place! To keep that powdered sugar bright white, make sure you roll the cookie dough balls in a thin layer of granulated sugar followed by a thick layer of powdered sugar. The granulated sugar will soak up any extra moisture and keep the powdered sugar from melting!
If the cookies aren’t crackling around the 6-7 minute mark, carefully remove them from the oven. Using oven mitts, grip the sides of the pan and gently “bang” them against a counter or hard surface. They should crackle on top. Then, return them to the oven to finish baking.
If the cookies aren’t spreading, just warm up the dough for about 30 minutes. Sometimes, I’ve found that the cookies don’t spread if the dough has been chilling for more 2-3 hours.
Avoid over-baking the cookies or they’ll come out dry and crumbly. The cookies are done when they’re set on the edges and look a bit underdone in the centers!
Cuisine: American
Course: Cookies
Serving: 1cookie (without chocolate hazelnut spread), Calories: 107kcal, Carbohydrates: 15.3g, Protein: 1.3g, Fat: 4.7g, Saturated Fat: 1.6g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 29mg, Potassium: 50mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 11.4g, Calcium: 22mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @sundaytable.co on Instagram!

xo Sara Lynn

Song of the day – I Wish It Was Christmas Today by Julian Casablancas 

Originally posted on December 19, 2018.