Heather Fraser Brainerd’s #recipe for Chocolate Crinkles – plus my favourite Private Detective, Josie Cates

Heather Fraser Brainerd writes brilliant and funny mystery novels with her brother, David Fraser, as well as a variety of other genres under her own steam. Brainerd and Fraser’s adorable heroine, José Picada, P.I. (aka Josie Cates) is one of my favourite Private Detectives ever. A couple of years ago I interviewed Heather and her brother here on my blog (if you missed it, you can catch up with them here) and I’m delighted to say Heather is back again, this time bringing a plateful of chocolate biscuits. (That’s my sort of guest!)

Welcome back, Heather!

heather fraser brainerd, helena fairfax* * *

My Beloved Chocolate Crinkles

By Heather Fraser Brainerd

Oh, how I love chocolate crinkles! Not only are they delicious, they make the whole house smell like chocolate. Although this simple-yet-decadent cookie can be made any time of year, my family has always made them at Christmastime. My grandmother taught me how to make chocolate crinkles when I was a little girl. When I grew up and had a home of my own, she passed along not just the one recipe, but her 1979 copy of Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book. It has a place of honor on my cookbook shelf. Here’s the recipe, straight from Betty Crocker:

Chocolate Crinklesbetty crocker chocolate crinkles


½ cup (125 ml) vegetable oil

4 ounces (110gsm) unsweetened chocolate, melted

2 cups (450gsm) granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups (250gsm) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (125gsm) confectioners’ (icing) sugar

Mix oil, chocolate, and granulated sugar. Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed. Add vanilla. Stir flour, baking powder, and salt into oil mixture. Chill several hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C / gas mark 4). Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into confectioners’ sugar. Roll in sugar; shape into balls. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly in center. Makes 6 dozen cookies.

heather fraser brainerd, helena fairfax, recipe

Now, I’ve changed it up a little over the years. I use slightly less flour than called for in the recipe. My oven seems to run a bit hot, so I never leave my chocolate crinkles in for more than 10 minutes (sometimes less). Also, I use parchment paper rather than greasing the baking sheet. If you like your cookies a little on the gooey side, follow these tips and don’t overbake them!

Last year, for the first time in my life, I didn’t bake Christmas cookies. My son had been newly diagnosed with celiac disease, and we were trying our hardest to keep his gluten exposure to a minimum. This year, as the holidays approach, I’ll have to see if I can modify my chocolate crinkle recipe into a gluten-free version. Wish me luck!


brainerd and fraser, act of abductionAct of Abduction

Josie P. Cates, P.I., springs back into action when an old colleague calls in desperate need of a detective. Josie embarks on the case while simultaneously juggling friends and relationships. With another foray into the dark and mystical looming before her, will Josie find the strength for one more supernatural battle? Or will she just go for a pizza with her new boyfriend?


Act of Abduction buy links: Amazon US/ Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

MuseItUp Publishing


Heather’s social media links: Facebook


Thanks for inviting me to visit, Helena!

* * *

 Wow, they look fabulous, Heather! I’m so glad you sent a photo, as they look really decorative, and not at all how I would have imagined from the recipe. They do have a 70s look to them, and that vintage feel is massively fashionable here in the UK now. (Last year I made prawn cocktails for our Christmas dinner – a typical British 70s starter :) )

I’m sorry to hear you couldn’t enjoy them last Christmas. (If anyone reading this has any suggests for how to adapt the recipe for a gluten-free diet, please do let us know.)

If you’ve enjoyed hearing Heather’s recipe as much as I have, or have any comments at all, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

13 thoughts on “Heather Fraser Brainerd’s #recipe for Chocolate Crinkles – plus my favourite Private Detective, Josie Cates

  1. Hi Heather, I think I will have no problems finding volunteers to help me
    make this cookie. I had to look up the usage of ‘cooky’ as written in the title of the Betty Crocker book. The history is a little confused. Some say that cooky was the singular and cookies was the plural. Others say that cookie has been in usage for at least two centuries with cooky as the variant. Looks kooky to me. Or is it kookie?


    1. Thanks for looking up the usage of “cooky”, Ken. It would never have occurred to me! that this was a variation on cookie. Doh! I thought it was just a jokey way of saying “cookbook”, like a play on words with “kooky”.
      I love cookbooks that are passed down through the family. I have a couple of cake tins that used to belong to my aunt. She gave them to my mum when she married my dad. I’ve used them for every birthday cake I’ve baked, and also the cake I baked for my mum and dad’s Diamond wedding. They must be a hundred years old, and still going strong.
      And I can see Heather’s chocolate crinkles becoming another family tradition!
      Thanks for dropping in, and for your great comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Heather, I’ve never made Chocolate Crinkles, but I had them once at a friends and have wanted to try making them myself. Now I have the recipe. Thank you.

    I love your Josie P. Cates, P.I. mysteries. Rosgemmell, you should definitely give the mysteries a try. You’ll be hooked. I am looking forward to the next mystery in the series.

    Helena, this is such a great idea for Christmas posts. I always look forward to who you will have on and to discovering the next recipe. Thank you. :)


    1. Thanks so much, Susan. I’ve really enjoyed these posts so far, too. Such a variety of recipes, and always an interesting story behind them.
      I’d never heard of Chocolate Crinkles before, but I love the sound of them and they look ace.
      Thanks very much for dropping in!


  3. Helena, thank you so much for having me visit. It’s always fun to travel all the way to Yorkshire! By the way, I experimented with a gluten free version of the recipe yesterday and met with great success! It was much easier than I anticipated. All I had to do was substitute “Cup 4 Cup” gluten free flour for regular flour. The dough was quite a bit sticker than the glutenous version, but the cookies taste fantastic, and that’s what counts! The whole family enjoyed them, even us non-celiacs. Oh, and your prawn cocktails sound delicious. Have a happy holiday season!


    1. I’m so glad the gluten-free version worked out. I know several people who are gluten-intolerant. Often recipes don’t work out as well with gluten-free flour, so that’s really handy to know this one still tasted delicious. I’m going to give these a go as Christmas presents!
      Thanks so much for coming all the way to Yorkshire. I’ve really enjoyed learning this cooky recipe!

      Liked by 1 person

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