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Crinkle cookies bring out smiles

Thursday, April 25, 2002

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

A quote from the late cookbook author and chef James Beard says it all: "I am still convinced that a good, simple, homemade cookie is preferable to all the store-bought cookies one can find."


We agree, though we wouldn't turn down a few Oreos and a cold glass of milk, either. But baking cookies is our preference and so we were eager to test Chocolate Crinkles.

Chocolate Crinkles are beyond delicious. They are moist mounds of luscious chocolate with a powdered sugar coating. And you won't find an easier cookie to make because Chocolate Crinkles are drop cookies. Drop cookies are made by dropping spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet. We made the dough the night before and popped the cookies in the oven the next day.

Our second featured recipe is rice pudding, which has always been one of our favorite desserts. That's why we were sure we would love Chocolate Rice Pudding. You won't find a box of instant pudding listed in the ingredients because Chocolate Rice Pudding is made from scratch. This simple creamy pudding is made with just a few ingredients: cooked rice, milk, sugar and chocolate (the recipe calls for milk chocolate; we used semisweet) and vanilla extract.

We followed the directions and simmered the pudding until it thickened but that took a while. But anything this good is worth the wait.

Kathy Mahony of Cranberry was looking for a cookie recipe called Wagon Wheels. Kathy Lonchar of Johnstown is sure this recipe is the recipe Kathy described.

Chocolate Crinkles

7 ounces semisweet chopped chocolate (see note)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar for coating

Melt chocolate and butter until smooth (we used the microwave). While the chocolate mixture is still hot, stir in the sugar until it is dissolved. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir dry mixture into the chocolate mixture until well blended. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough holds its shape and is cold (about 30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease baking sheets. Place the powdered sugar in a small deep bowl. Scoop out dough with a small ice cream scoop or a teaspoon (we used a teaspoon), forming dough into 1 1/-inch balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar until completely coated. Bake 10 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies 2 to 3 minutes before placing on cookie racks.

Yields about 40 cookies.

Note: We used a food scale to weigh the chocolate.

Ray Shope of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., sent in this recipe for Sandra S. Heller of Knoxville.

Chocolate Rice Pudding

2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, mix milk, cooked rice, sugar and chocolate chips. Bring this to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Simmer gently for 20 minutes or until thick and creamy. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Spoon into dishes and serve warm or cold. Makes 6 servings


Pam Schaffer of West Mifflin is trying to find a recipe for a dessert called Lemon Bisque, made with lemon juice and orange juice concentrate and some sort of canned milk and nondairy whipped topping. Here's Pam's description of the dessert: "It had a bottom crust of crushed vanilla wafers and crushed wafers were sprinkled on top for garnish. My mother made this dessert a good 25 years ago, and now we are going crazy trying to find this recipe again."

Lisa M Taylor of Hiawassee, Ga., wonders if any reader would have the recipe for Richard Nixon's favorite Peanut Butter Pie.

Jennie Wolfe of Warren, Pa., writes: "I am looking for a recipe for bear claws with a cream cheese filling. A local bakery used to have these tasty delights, but [it] moved and I have been searching ever since. Can you help please?"

Doris Swerkle of South Fayette is looking for a recipe for Cloud Cake. Cloud Cake is a jelly roll cake made with margarine and pudding.


"I agree with Carlie McGinty's letter [April 11] regarding the Emeril Lagasse book-signing at the Waterfront Barnes & Noble. We waited until after school and drove to Homestead, getting there at 4 o'clock. By that time, it appeared there were nearly a thousand people in line outside of the store.

"These people had already purchased their cookbooks. We went into the store and there were lines [of people] stretching completely through the store waiting to purchase their cookbooks.

"The cookies that had been advertised (made from Emeril's cookbook recipes) were nowhere to be seen. I was told they were by the checkout counters. So in order to sample them, you had to force your way through the lines of people.

"We did manage to see Emeril from the distance, but left the store disgusted. I had fully intended to purchase a book, but we decided it just wasn't worth it.

"It was a poorly planned event. Instead of being fun for the kids (and it was a kid's event), it was just orchestrated for you to buy and then stand in line for at least 3 hours.

"This is the first and last time we will attend a Barnes & Noble book-signing."

Janice Manuel, Ross

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com Please include a name, neighborhood/city/borough/township and state and a daytime phone number on all correspondence.

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