Skip to content

Cocoa Snowflakes

January 31, 2012

Penzeys Spices is a terrific spice company-with-heart based in Wisconsin. Their tag line says it all: Love to Cook – Cook to Love. Good, huh? They have a wonderful catalog that features spices from all over the world and both folksy recipes and solid information. Did you know some of the world’s best vanilla hails from Madagascar? The door to the world of spices awaits you at Penzeys.

Especially now that Penzeys Spice Shops are located in selected parts of the US. My novio and I took a field trip to the little shop in Santa Monica last month where we picked up a few gift boxes – The Baker’s Assortment Gift Box (started it yet, kb?) and The Some Like It Hot Gift Box. For myself, I was tempted by a lot (will need to return), but on that trip I picked up some oregano and the  Garam Masala I included in my Indian-Inspired Cauliflower of a previous post.

It was there that my novio picked up a few recipe cards that he thought I would enjoy. The man has learned well. One of them was for these little Cocoa Snowflakes that I share with you here.

Snowflake Crew

To begin…

Level your tablespoon

eye on cocoa

Batter up

This recipe appealed to me immediately.

Playing in snow

Wipe your feet before you come inside

Invasion of the Cocoa Snowflakes

But I didn’t quite get why they were called snowflakes. OK, those of you on the East Coast or in any four-season climate, you will relate… the rest, simply nod politely until you pick up the thread of the conversation… Remember when you were little and there was a big snowfall but it wasn’t too too cold and the snowflakes that fell  seemed like the largest you’d ever seen and you’d catch one on your mitten  in the split second before it glistened  and melted into a tiny little pool? You could see the intricate little pattern that reminded you of your Spirograph designs (or did your Spirograph designs remind you of snowflakes?).  And, in just the same way that no two snowflakes are alike, just like fingerprints, each one special and unique, no two Cocoa Snowflakes are alike.

Therefore (I like that word and I don’t use it enough), in honor of winter, we’re making Cocoa Snowflakes… even though bb is blowing in from Southern California.

These little snowflakes look great on a dessert table (top of tiered cookie tray in upper left corner).

Looking so innocent

Cocoa Snowflakes

(ever-so-slightly adapted from Penzeys)


1 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. sea salt
5 T. unsalted butter
6 T. cocoa
1 scant c. sugar
2 t. pure vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 c. powdered sugar, scant (for rolling cookies in)

Optional: add 1 c. finely chopped nuts and stir into mix at the end, together with flour.


In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a small, heavy saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add cocoa and blend well with a fork or small whisk until smooth.

Remove pan from heat and stir in sugar until combined. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Mix well, then add flour (if using nuts, now’s the time to add them).

Divide soft dough into 2 bowls, cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours so that dough is workable. You can use one bowl but using 2 bowls helps keep dough well-chilled. It’s very tricky to work with the dough as it warms up.

Preheat oven to 400°. Put powdered sugar in pie plate. Pull off small bits of dough, about 3/4″ in diameter, to roll in powdered sugar. That’s about the length of an average thumbnail (unless you’re a giant or a peewee). You can coat your hands in powdered sugar and then roll the balls OR make little ball-type shapes, drop into sugar, pick up and gently roll with a light hand until coated. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets about 2″ apart (we fit about 20 on one large baking pan).

Bake cookies for 8 minutes, let cool one minute, then remove from pan onto rack (if you keep cookies in oven for even one minute longer, they harden and get crispier – keeping them in the pan once removed from the oven will cause them to harden as well). We love them with a slight crisp on the outside and a chewy middle.

Store cooled cookies in airtight container to maintain chewy texture (can be frozen).

Makes 40-60 little cookies.

bb note:

A scant cup of sugar is close to 7 oz.on a liquid measuring cup. (Not to be confused with 7 oz. on a kitchen scale… a solid cup weighs less than that… around 6 oz. – having to do with volume & density -but I’m getting overcomplicated here. If you know what I mean, wonderful… if not, carry on. We’ll save this other stuff for another time.)

I generally bring the amount of sugar in a dessert down by anywhere from 1/4, to 1/3, all the way down to 1/2. But this recipe wasn’t that sweet so I just tweaked it a bit. The challenge is sharing these little gems and not standing there, eating one after another.

Cocoa Snowflakes


From → Desserts

  1. You’re going to laugh when you see my Bliss Balls!

  2. I meant you are going to laugh when you see my Bliss Balls post…coming tomorrow morning. Sometimes I type with my eyes half closed and you get strange comments like the one above. Feel free to edit!

    • I got it Holly, and I could tell you were sleepy! Looking forward to seeing the post – we appear to have very similar inspirations-

  3. Jean permalink

    Judy, this looks delicious. I will try it the next time I bake.
    Love, Jean

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: