Vegan chocolate crinkle cookies

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Let’s make chocolate crinkle cookies! These double chocolate crinkle cookies are packed with chocolate chips to give them an extra dose of chocolate flavor. This recipe for chocolate crinkle cookies is relatively forgiving so it is perfect for people who are new to making crinkle cookies. It is also gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and vegan. That means it is great for anyone with a range of dietary preferences or allergies in the family.  

These vegan crinkle cookies are made with gluten free all purpose flour so that they are 100% gluten free. If you do not have a gluten intolerance you can also make these crinkle cookies with regular all purpose flour.

Five cooked gluten free & vegan chocolate crinkle cookies on a baking sheet

What are crinkle cookies?

What are crinkle cookies? Crinkle cookies are known for the characteristic crevices or ‘crinkles’ that form on the surface of the cookies as they bake. Crinkle cookies are generally coated in a layer of powdered sugar prior to being baked. This layer of sugar helps to highlight the crevices, which do not have powdered sugar on them. 

Traditional crinkle cookies are light and crumby and sometimes criticized for not having enough flavor. Most modern day crinkle cookie recipes are modified to be a little extra dense and fudgy. In this recipe we provide options for people who prefer more traditional crinkle cookies as well as people who prefer more fudgy crinkle cookies. 

What causes cookies to crack?

What causes cookies to crack? Cookies crack when the inner part of the cookie dough continues to rise after the surface of the cookie dough has already cooked through and dried out. The inner part of the cookie eventually pushes through the exterior surface of the cookie, resulting in the characteristic crinkle. 

Coating crinkle cookies in sugar prior to baking them does more than just enhance the look of the cookie and highlight the crinkles. The sugar actually helps to ensure that the characteristic crinkles are formed. The sugar on the surface of the cookie draws water out of the cookie dough and helps the outer surface of the cookie dry out faster.

Five cooked gluten free & vegan chocolate crinkle cookies on a baking sheet

How do you know when crinkles are done

How do you know when crinkles are done? Crinkle cookies generally need to cook for 10 – 12 minutes at 350 degrees. If your cookies have the characteristic crevices of crinkle cookies and the cookie dough does not look wet then your cookies are likely done. 

Crinkle cookies will feel very soft when you take them out of the oven. It is okay if your cookies are still tender when they are warm. They will stiffen up as they chill. You are better off under cooking these vegan crinkle cookies a little than overcooking them. The worst that will happen is that your cookies will have an extra gooey center. 

What do chocolate crinkle cookies taste like?

What do crinkle cookies taste like? That depends on whether you make light and crumby chocolate crinkle cookies or dense and fudgy chocolate crinkle cookies. Light and crumby chocolate crinkle cookies taste similar to chocolate cake. Fudgy chocolate crinkle cookies, on the other hand, taste more like brownies. 

Why are my cookies smooth on the top?

Are your crinkle cookies smooth on the top? If your cookies are smooth on the top that means one of two things. Either the outer surface of your cookie did not dry out fast enough or the inner part of your cookie dough did not have enough force to push through the dried outer surface. 

If your crinkle cookies are smooth on top you should make sure that your baking powder is not expired. Baking powder is the main ingredient that gives crinkle cookies their rise and if your baking powder is old it will be hard for the inner part of the cookie to push through the dried outer surface. You should also make sure to use baking soda and brown sugar. Brown sugar is acidic and reacts with baking soda to help the crinkle cookies rise.

If your crinkle cookies are smooth on the top and you only coated your crinkle cookies in powdered sugar then you should try coating your cookies in both granulated sugar and powdered sugar. Coating your crinkle cookies in two layers of sugar will help dry out the surface of your cookies faster.

Uncooked gluten free & vegan chocolate crinkle cookies on a baking sheet

Why are my crinkle cookies flat?

Why are your crinkle cookies flat? Here are a few reasons you crinkle cookies might be flat. If you want more suggestions, check out our article on how to make cookies spread more. This article discusses the most common factors that contribute  to cookies spreading and flattening out. 

  • Fats not solidified. Your crinkle cookies are more likely to flatten if you have not refrigerated your cookies for long enough before cooking them. You need to refrigerate your cookies so that the fats in your cookies solidify before cooking them. The solidified fats will help hold the cookies in place as the outer surface of the cookies start to cook through. 
  • Fats that don’t solidify in the refrigerator. Your crinkle cookies are more likely to flatten out if you are following a recipe that uses fats like vegetable oil that do not solidify when refrigerated. You should look for a recipe that uses fats that solidify such as butter or coconut oil.
  • Too much fat. Some crinkle cookie recipes use a lot of fat to make the cookies taste more rich and fudgy. Cookies with a lot of fat are more likely to flatten out than cookies with more moderate amounts of fat. 

Can you use vegetable oil in crinkle cookies?

Can you use vegetable oil in crinkle cookies? You should avoid using vegetable oil as the only fat in your crinkle cookies. It is important to use a fat that solidifies in the refrigerator such as butter or coconut oil. Crinkle cookie dough is wet and needs a little extra help to maintain its shape. Solidified fats in chilled cookie dough will do just that. If you do use vegetable oil or another oil that does not solidify in the refrigerator your cookies are more likely to flatten out and lose the characteristic puffy shape. 

If you prefer crinkle cookies that are made with vegetable oil you should feel free to swap some of the coconut oil out with vegetable oil. If you use, for example, 1/4 cup coconut oil and 2 tbsp vegetable oil your cookies should turn out okay. 

Vegan chocolate crinkle cookies

These easy chocolate crinkle cookies are gluten free, egg free, dairy free, and vegan friendly!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Resting time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Lactose, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: dairy free, egg free, gluten free, nut free, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 15 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (plus up to 2 tbsp extra)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar (garnish)
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar (garnish)

Instructions

  • Put the coconut oil in a small microwave safe bowl or cup and microwave it for 30 - 60 seconds until it melts.
    You can adjust the amount of coconut oil you use depending on how fudgy you like your crinkle cookies. If you prefer more traditional crinkle cookies that are light and crumby you should stick with 1/4 cup of coconut oil. If you prefer crinkle cookies that are more fudgy you should add up 2 tbsp of extra coconut oil. We recommend adding the extra 2 tbsp.
  • Combine all of the wet ingredients in one large mixing bowl and mix well. Combine all of the dry ingredients in another bowl and mix well. Then mix the wet ingredients and dry ingredients together.
  • Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. If your baking sheet is small then you might need two baking sheets.
    Lay a sheet of parchment paper or tin foil out on your working surface and pour the white granulated sugar and confectioners sugar into 2 separate piles. Keep the piles far away from each other so that they do not mix.
  • Make balls of dough that are 1 inch - 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll each dough ball in granulated white sugar. After the dough is covered in granulated sugar, roll the dough ball in confectioners sugar then place it on the cookie sheet.
    You should leave at least 1 1/2 inch - 2 inches of space between the cookies.
  • Cover the dough balls with a sheet of saran wrap. Put the dough balls in the freezer for 30 minutes then move them to the refrigerator. Refrigerate the dough balls for 30 minutes.
    If you do not have room in your freezer you can refrigerate the dough balls for 4 hours. Putting them in the freezer just speeds things up a little and reduces the total amount of chilling time required.
  • When the cookies have 20 - 30 minutes left to chill you should preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake the cookies 350 for 10-12 minutes

Notes

Xanthan gum. If your gluten free all purpose flour blend does not contain xanthan gum or a similar replacement for gluten then you should add around 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum per cup of flour.
Extra fudgy crinkle cookies. You should add at least 1/4 cup of coconut oil to your crinkle cookies. If you like your crinkle cookies extra fudgy you can add up to 2 tbsp of additional coconut oil to the dough. Cookies with more fat are more likely to flatten out so make sure you follow all of the steps closely and chill the dough thoroughly if you add extra coconut oil.
Measuring the coconut oil. You should measure the coconut oil when it is still in solid form then melting it in the microwave before using it. 
Tips for measuring flour. We recommend measuring flour by spooning the flour into a measuring cup then leveling off the flour with a butter knife. This is the most consistent way to measure flour. If you dip your measuring cup into the bag of flour, it will compress the flour and you will end up with extra flour. 

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  • Almond milk. Any plant based milk will work here. I sometimes use coconut milk to give my cookies a little bit of a coconut undertone.
  • Gluten free all purpose flour. If you do not have a gluten intolerance you can use regular all purpose flour in this recipe. You can substitute regular all purpose flour for gluten free all purpose flour at a 1:1 ratio. 
  • Coconut oil. You can replace the coconut oil with other fats that solidify in the refrigerator such as vegan butter or margarine. This should be a 1:1 replacement. Do not replace the coconut oil with liquid fats like vegetable oil .

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