12 Days of Holiday Cookies: Maca Chocolate Crinkles


Chocolate crinkle cookies don’t need much improvement: They’re dark and chewy like a fudgy brownie and covered in beautifully cracked powdered sugar. But to play up the earthy, creamy flavor of the double chocolate in these cookies, pleasantly funky maca root powder works like a dream. Like a less-cloying malted milk powder, maca powder adds a curious umami.

Even though the maca powder you’ll use is beige, the root it’s derived from is dark purple. That inspired the purple sparkling sugar in which these cookies are coated. When blitzed in a food processor with powdered sugar, the color stays intact on the beautifully cracked cookies. And while it may seem like a specialty ingredient, maca powder can be found in the health food section of most grocery stores. One caveat: Don’t be tempted to make the dough ahead of time and chill it overnight or else the maca powder will make the dough rubbery instead of tender.

Our first annual collection of 12 L.A.-inspired holiday cookies.

Maca Chocolate Crinkles

35 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Funky maca root powder lends its malted milk-like flavor to these chewy rich chocolate crinkle cookies, coated in pale purple powdered sugar.
(Leslie Grow / For The Times)


  • ⅓ cup dark purple sparkling sugar, plus more
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted (4 ounces; see Baker’s Note)
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (7 ⅞ ounces; see Baker’s Note)
  • ½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process or black cocoa powder (see Baker’s Note)
  • 2 tablespoons maca powder, preferably black, red or black and red-purple blend
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature


  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Blitz the purple sparkling sugar in a food processor until powdery, then add the powdered sugar and pulse to combine (alternatively, process the purple sugar in a spice grinder to powder, then whisk into the powdered sugar). Transfer the purple powdered sugar to a shallow bowl.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and maca powder in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, combine the chocolate, both sugars, the sour cream, butter, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla and eggs and whisk until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until smooth.
  4. Use a ½-ounce ice cream scoop or one tablespoon to drop a dough ball into the purple sugar and roll to coat. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and purple sugar, arranging the balls 2 inches apart on the sheets.
  5. Bake, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through, until the cookies are firm at the edges but still soft in the middle, 8 to 9 minutes.
  6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle cookies with more purple sugar, if you like, before serving.

Make ahead: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Baker’s note: When measuring flour, powdered sugar or cocoa powder, spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. Scooping compacts the ingredients, resulting in dry baked goods.