Chocolate Cayenne Crinkles

$2.95 recipe / $0.15 cookie
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.63 from 37 votes
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It’s Christmas cookie time! Every year I make at least one type of Christmas cookie. It’s a fun tradition and they make an easy, super inexpensive gift (who doesn’t like cookies?!). This year I made these awesome Chocolate Cayenne Crinkles that have all the spicy cocoa flavor of my favorite Aztec Cocoa in a light, chewy cookie.

Baked Chocolate Cayenne Crinkles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

I saw these Flourless Chocolate Cookies on Cooking Classy and immediately wanted to make them. There are only a few simple ingredients and they looked a lot like the delicate and delicious shell of a macaron. I love how the exterior of a macaron is shiny and thin, but the inside is kind of dense and chewy. That’s exactly how this entire cookie is. YUM!

I wanted to put my own spin on the Flourless Chocolate Cookie, so I decided to add some cayenne pepper. Cayenne and cocoa is an age old duo and one that I can’t get enough of. You can leave the cayenne out and do a plain chocolate cookie, if you desire, or try replacing some of the vanilla extract with peppermint extract for a sort of mint hot cocoa effect. You could even top them with crushed candy canes. Fun, right?

YAY, Christmas cookies!

Close up of Chocolate Cayenne Crinkles on baking sheet lined with parchment paper
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Chocolate Cayenne Crinkles

4.63 from 37 votes
These flourless Chocolate Cayenne Crinkles have a delicate, crispy exterior, rich chewy interior, and a spicy kick of cayenne. 
Author: Adapted from Cooking Classy
Servings 20 cookies
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 45 minutes


  • 3 cups powdered sugar ($0.54)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ($0.48)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch ($0.04)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.05)
  • 2 large egg whites ($0.42)
  • 1 large whole egg ($0.21)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract ($0.28)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips ($0.91)
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  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, salt, and cayenne pepper until evenly combined.
  • Add the egg whites, whole egg, and vanilla extract to the powdered sugar mixture. Carefully stir the mixture until all of the powdered sugar has dissolved into the eggs and a very thick batter forms. It may seem like there is not enough moisture to stir in all the powdered sugar, but keep stirring and it will eventually melt in. The mixture will be very thick and stiff, so use a strong spoon. Add the chocolate chips and stir until incorporated.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the batter, one heaping tablespoon at a time, onto the baking sheets. Be sure to leave a couple inches between each cookie because they will spread. (I suggest ten cookies per sheet.)
  • Bake one cookie sheet at a time for 14 minutes or until the cookies are puffed and cracked over the surface. Allow the cookies to cool before removing from the parchment.

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To make chocolate peppermint cookies, add one teaspoon peppermint extract to the batter and top with crushed candy canes.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 141.26kcalCarbohydrates: 28.4gProtein: 2.12gFat: 3.91gSodium: 33.85mgFiber: 2.01g
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Close up of a stack of Chocolate Cayenne Crinkles on counter top


 How to Make Chocolate Cayenne Crinkles – Step by Step Photos

Dry Ingredients in mixing bowl

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a LARGE bowl, combine 3 cups powdered sugar, 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 Tbsp cornstarch, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper. If you’re scared of the spiciness, start with 1/4 tsp cayenne. Make sure the dry ingredients are very well mixed. Hint: use a bowl with steep sides, or you’ll get powdered sugar everywhere.

Wet Ingredients added to dry ingredients in mixing bowl, whisk on the side

Add two large egg whites, one whole egg, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Begin to carefully stir these into the powdered sugar mixture. You can use a whisk at first, but it will soon get too thick and you’ll need to switch to a spoon.

Stirred Cookie Batter in mixing bowl with fork

As you stir the eggs and vanilla into the powdered sugar it will seem like there’s not enough moisture to make it work (I went back and checked the recipe THREE times to make sure…), but just keep stirring and eventually all of the powdered sugar will melt into it. The batter becomes very thick and stiff.

Chocolate Chips added to cookie dough in mixing bowl with fork

Stir in one cup of chocolate chips. I happened to have some leftover mini-chocolate chips, so I used those.

Cookie sheet lined with parchment paper with unbaked cookie dollops placed on top

Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop the batter onto the sheets in heaping tablespoons, about ten per sheet. Leave a couple of inches between each cookie for them to spread while baking.

Baked Chocolate Crinkles on baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Bake one sheet at a time for 14 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed up and cracked along the top (they deflate upon cooling). Let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the parchment.

Close up of Chocolate Cayenne Crinkles broken in half, with whole cookies in the background

Enjoy the warm chocolatey goodness and the sassy kick of cayenne!

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  1. Trying to use up leftover candy canes from the holidays. Would you sprinkle crushed candy canes on cookies before or just after baking? Or would it not work with this recipe?

  2. I’ve made this recipe many times. They usually come out great, just like the pictures. But the last few times I’ve had the runny batter problem, despite VERY careful measurements. What’s going on? Are large eggs larger than they used to be? I see other people have had this problem as well. (They taste ok but are thinner and they don’t all “crinkle” properly, though some do. They are also quite sticky; I can’t remember if they were that way when they came out correctly too.)

    1. I’m unsure what the problem could be (re: runny batter), as the recipe has been tested many many times and have not had that issue. As far as crinkling goes, make sure your oven is up to temp by using an oven thermometer. XOXO -Monti

    2. I just ran into the same thing! As you note, I followed the exact same recipe, years ago, but the batter was way runnier this time.

      1. That is really, really strange, y’all! Thanks for letting us know. The batter shouldn’t be runny at all. As you’ve said, you made it before, and know that! It could definitely be the eggs…especially if you aren’t buying the same brand you used to buy. (No shame, I’m not either!) Generally, watery eggs are a sign that they are older, haven’t been stored at the correct temperature, or are a lower “grade.” Your favorite brand could also be trying to compensate for the shortage by purchasing eggs from unusual suppliers, too. If you think they might be larger (which would totally change the outcome of the recipe!), you can find the average weight of an egg online and do an experiment with a kitchen scale — if you have one! (While not a necessity for a home baker, they’re often used in professional baking for just this reason — to easily measure out ingredients precisely so the recipes turn out the same way each time, and as a safeguard against slight variations in ingredients.) I’ll also give this recipe a try this weekend and see what I can find out! ~ Marion :)

        In the meantime…here are some of our best egg-free dessert recipes:

  3. My batch did not turn out thin at all! I tripled the batch and included an additional whole egg and egg white since I was using small eggs. Before adding the extra eggs the batter was too hard. In the end the batter was very thick and kind of messy when transferring to the baking sheet. I added a couple of more minutes to the baking time since I made my cookies on the larger size. They turned out great! Crispy outside with a dense, fudgy center. I used cayenne, cinnamon, and dark chocolate morsels. Perfect flavor for Christmas!