Crinkle cookies are a delicious holiday favorite, with their crisp sugary edges and soft, chewy centers. But sometimes these cookies don’t turn out quite as expected, baking up flat instead of delightfully crinkled. If your crinkle cookies aren’t living up to their name, don’t despair! Here are some tips to help get your crinkle cookies crinkling again.
Common Causes of Flat Crinkle Cookies
There are a few key things that can lead to flat, non-crinkling crinkle cookies:
- Not enough sugar – The signature crinkles come from the sugar melting and spreading as the cookies bake. Without enough granulated white sugar, the melted sugar can’t spread and crinkle properly.
- Too much flour – Too much flour leads to dense, cakey cookies that don’t crinkle. Reducing the flour a bit can help.
- Overmixed dough – Overmixing develops gluten, leading to tougher cookies. For crinkle cookies, the dough should be mixed just until combined.
- Not chilled dough – The dough needs to chill for at least 2 hours for the eggs and sugar to properly emulsify. This helps the cookies hold their shape and crinkle as they bake.
- Baked too long – If the cookies bake too long, the edges set before crinkling and the centers dry out. Pull them from the oven when lightly golden brown.
Tips for Perfectly Crinkled Crinkle Cookies
Luckily, it’s easy to tweak your recipe and techniques to get picture-perfect crinkle cookies that live up to their name. Here are some tips:
Use Enough Sugar
The defining crinkles require a good amount of sugar. A typical crinkle cookie recipe calls for around 1 cup granulated white sugar. Don’t skimp on the amount or substitute brown sugar, which won’t melt and spread in the same way.
Cut Back on Flour Slightly
Too much flour leads to dense cookies. Try reducing the flour by 1-2 tablespoons from what your recipe calls for. This allows the cookies to spread more for better crinkling.
Don’t Overmix the Dough
Vigorously beating the cookie dough develops gluten strands, leading to tough cookies. Mix just until the dough comes together, then chill as directed.
Chill the Dough Thoroughly
Chilling is vital for allowing the eggs, sugar, and flour to properly hydrate. Let the dough chill for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight. Well-chilled dough keeps its shape better while baking.
Roll Cookies into Perfect Balls
For even baking and crinkling, roll tablespoon-sized balls of dough between your palms to form perfect spheres before rolling in sugar.
Use an Egg Wash and Sugar Coating
Brush the shaped dough balls with an egg wash (lightly beaten egg), then roll in granulated or decorative sugar. This helps the crinkle effect.
Bake at 350°F for 11-13 minutes, just until lightly golden brown at the edges. The centers will look soft. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for crinkling to set.
Allow Cookies to Cool Completely
Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. This allows crinkles to become crisp as they cool.
Troubleshooting Flat Crinkle Cookies
If your crinkle cookies are still coming out flat, look at each step of your recipe and method:
Check the Sugar
Make sure you are using the full 1 cup of granulated white sugar called for. Measure accurately, don’t use brown sugar, and don’t forget to roll balls in sugar before baking.
Evaluate the Flour Amount
Try using 2 tablespoons less flour than the recipe states to allow for better spreading. Don’t over-mix once the flour is added.
Ensure Adequate Chilling Time
Give the dough at least 2 hours to chill, ideally overnight. Well-chilled dough keeps its shape better for crinkling up attractively around the edges.
Watch Cookie Size and Shape
Carefully roll dough into 1 tablespoon-sized balls. Place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Don’t flatten cookies before baking.
Monitor Baking Time Closely
Start checking cookies around 10 minutes. Pull them out once lightly browned around the edges. They should still look a bit underdone in the centers.
Let Cookies Cool on Sheet
If needed, slide baking sheet on and off the cooling rack a few times to enhance crinkling. Allow to cool completely before removing.
Use an Oven Thermometer
Make sure your oven temperature is accurate. Bake at 350°F for best results. Higher temperatures can inhibit spreading and crinkling.
Example Recipe and Step-by-Step Method
Follow this recipe and technique for perfectly crinkled crinkle cookies:
Crinkle Cookie Recipe
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 cup granulated or decorative sugar for coating
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix just until combined. Do not overmix.
- Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll tablespoon-sized balls of chilled dough between your palms into perfect spheres.
- Brush dough balls with lightly beaten egg, then roll in granulated or decorative sugar to coat.
- Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Do not flatten.
- Bake until lightly browned around the edges, 11-13 minutes.
- Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are my crinkle cookies flat and not crinkling?
The most common reasons crinkle cookies turn out flat rather than delightfully crinkled are not enough granulated sugar, too much flour, overmixed dough, under-chilled dough, and overbaked cookies.
Should crinkle cookie dough be refrigerated?
Yes, chilling the crinkle cookie dough is essential. The dough needs to chill for at least 2 hours, but ideally overnight, for the eggs and sugar to properly emulsify and hydrate the flour. This helps the cookies hold their shape and crinkle attractively.
How long do you bake crinkle cookies?
Bake crinkle cookies at 350°F for 11-13 minutes, just until lightly browned at the edges. The centers will still look soft when done. Don’t overbake or the cookies won’t crinkle properly.
Why is sugar coating important for crinkle cookies?
Rolling the shaped dough balls in granulated white sugar or decorative sugar helps form the signature crinkled look. The melted sugar spreads out and crisps around the edges as the cookies bake.
Should crinkle cookies be crispy?
Perfect crinkle cookies have crispy, crinkled edges with soft, chewy centers. If your cookies are baking up hard and crunchy throughout, they are overbaked.
Tips for Storing and Freezing Crinkle Cookies
– Store completely cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
– For longer storage, freeze cookies up to 3 months.
– Place cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze solid before transferring to an airtight container or freezer bag.
– Separate layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking if freezing baked cookies.
– Allow frozen cookies to come to room temperature before serving for best texture.
Unbaked Cookie Dough Storage
– The cookie dough can be prepared ahead and refrigerated for up to 5 days before baking.
– For longer storage, scoop dough into balls and place in an airtight container or freezer bag, separating layers with parchment.
– Freeze for up to 3 months, then bake frozen cookie dough by adding 1-2 minutes to the bake time.
More Tips for Perfect Crinkle Cookies
- Use an oven thermometer to ensure your oven temperature is accurate.
- Use fresh baking powder for optimal leavening.
- Make sure your baking sheets are level to prevent uneven baking and spreading.
- Silicone baking mats can prevent too much browning on the cookie bottoms.
- Gently reshape any melted cookies on the baking sheet after 5 minutes.
- Bang baking sheets on the counter a few times to prevent flat bottoms.
- Reduce oven temperature 25°F if cookies are spreading too much.
- Add 1-2 Tbsp milk if dough seems too dry and isn’t crinkling.
Perfecting Your Crinkle Cookie Recipe
It can take some trial and error to get your personal crinkle cookie recipe just right. Here are some tips if tweaking is needed:
If cookies are too flat:
- Add a bit more granulated sugar, up to 1/4 cup more
- Reduce flour by 1-2 Tbsp
- Make sure dough is thoroughly chilled before baking
- Don’t overbake; err on the side of underdone
If cookies are too puffy and cake-like:
- Use less baking powder, maybe 1/2 tsp less
- Add a tablespoon or two more flour
- Make sure dough isn’t overmixed once flour is added
If cookies are too crispy and crunchy:
- Bake for less time, checking at 10 minutes
- Add a teaspoon or two more brown sugar for softness
- Use part bread flour or whole wheat flour to soften texture
If cookies are greasy or oily:
- Use less butter, maybe 1/4 cup less
- Chill dough thoroughly before baking
- Use parchment paper to prevent pan greasing
With a little experimentation, you’ll have the perfect crinkle cookie recipe in no time! The enjoyment of baking and sharing delicious crinkled cookies is well worth the effort.
Crinkle cookies are a nostalgic, decadent holiday treat. With their crackled tops and chewy centers, they can be the hit of any cookie tray when they turn out right. But flat, non-crinkling cookies lead only to disappointment. By following the tips in this article, you can unravel the mystery of why your crinkle cookies aren’t crinkling and solve the problem once and for all. With the right ingredients, proper dough chilling, perfect cookie shaping, and careful baking, you’ll have picture-perfect crinkle cookies to enjoy all season long. So get out your mixing bowls and don your aprons – it’s time to put those coveted crinkles back into your crinkle cookies!