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!
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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:
½ cup (125 ml) vegetable oil
4 ounces (110gsm) unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups (450gsm) granulated sugar
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.
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!
Act 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?
Heather’s social media links: Facebook
Thanks for inviting me to visit, Helena!
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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!