Chocolate Jumbles4

Dottie’s Chocolate Jumbles Cookies

written by Julie Cohn

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Chocolate Jumbles cookies are a treasured favorite in the Schoharie Valley area of upstate New York, where my husband grew up. (Shout out to our extended family in Cobleskill.)  In fact, if you ask people from this area what Chocolate Jumbles are, most people would immediately know, although I recently found out that they are also known as Chocolate Jumbos.
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Chocolate Jumbles cookies are an incredibly moist, flavorful cookie with ginger, molasses, and cocoa in them, topped with a sweet kiss of royal or cream cheese icing.  This particular recipe was given to me years ago by my sister-in-law, Cathy, who got the original recipe from her mother, my mother-in-law, who got it from Dottie, a friend of my mother-in-law’s.  Dottie made Chocolate Jumbles every year and thoughtfully shared them with family and friends.  Whether you call them Chocolate Jumbles or Chocolate Jumbos, it would not be Christmas without a batch of these yummy cookies. Once you try them, they will become a treasured favorite for your family too!

Chocolate Jumbles

  • 1 c. Shortening
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 c. Molasses
  • 1/2 c. Hot Water or Coffee
  • 1 c. Cocoa
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Ground Clove
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 4 1/2 c. Flour

Mix shortening, sugar, and eggs together.  Mix in molasses until blended.  Add hot water, cocoa, and vanilla and stir until combined.  Mix the remaining dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, and slowly add to the molasses mixture.  The dough will become stiff, but make certain all the dry ingredients are thoroughly blended together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a few hours.  Separate the dough into four balls, and set three of the balls back in the bowl and in the refrigerator.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the first ball until it is about 3/4 inch thick.

Makes about 24-30 cookies

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Using a biscuit cutter, cut the dough into rounds.  Using a smaller biscuit cutter or apple corer, cut out the center of each round, so the cookie dough resembles a donut.  Place the cookie rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Cool on a cooling rack.

Royal Icing

  • 3 c. Confectioners Sugar
  • 1/2 c. Butter, softened
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 3-4 Tbsp. Milk

Mix the sugar and butter together.  Add the salt and vanilla and blend.  Add the milk, starting with 2-3 Tbsp, and add more as needed to thin out the icing.  Be careful you do not thin it too much, but if you do, add a pinch more confectioners sugar.    Spread the icing over each cookie and allow to harden before eating.

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Note:  I received a message from someone stating that this Chocolate Jumbles recipe was a “secret family recipe” and did not want me to share it.  I am sorry that this person/family does not wish to share this recipe with others, as cookies by their very nature are meant to be shared. I have violated no copyright laws in sharing this recipe with you (because recipes themselves are not subject to copyright) but also because I made it clear that this is a recipe from a family friend, who got the recipe from her grandmother. Also, this is a well-known cookie and recipe in the Schoharie County area, with several recipe variations available. However, because of the message I received, I did take the extra step of verifying that this is a well-known recipe in the Schoharie Valley region.  In fact, in researching the history of Chocolate Jumbles, I discovered that it is an old 17th-century recipe from Germany and upstate New York families have been making this cookie for over 200 years in the Schoharie Valley.  While it may be a family recipe for this person, there is no way to claim ownership for such an old and beloved recipe, and I am sure many families have this as a “family recipe.”  In keeping with Dottie’s kind and generous spirit of giving, I will continue to share this recipe with the hope that others can enjoy this wonderful little cookie with their family too.

Looking for another upstate New York favorite?  This Brooks BBQ recipe is the best BBQ chicken you will ever eat!






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Jenny Salley Ruland 06/29/2017 at 4:40 pm

Thank you! Thank you Julie! What a delight to discover your post and recipe!

21 years ago I married Kenny Ruland of Cobleskill, NY. One my first memories of those early days was the magic of those Schoharie Chocolate Jumbles!

Unfortunately, as you revealed, getting the recipe pried out of the hands of the natives was a challenge. Your generosity and thoughtfulness brought a smile to my face!

As I write this note, I am baking them right up for my daughter Rose’s graduation party tomorrow. 2 daughters down, 2 more daughters to go! We now live in Corning NY but the Schoharie County clan are headed this way. Boy are they in for a surprise!

PS – I read your post to my husband and he smiled. He immediately knew your name and started naming off all your relatives. He sends a special Hello and Thank you!

Jenny Salley Ruland

Julie Cohn 06/29/2017 at 7:27 pm

Thank you so much Jenny! We live in AZ now but are heading back to NY next week! I will mention your husband to mine and see if he knows his family! Your husband probably knows Dottie too! 🙂 I hope you enjoy them! We also the cookies from the Carrot Barn!

Jenn L. S. 12/15/2017 at 10:53 am

OMG I’ve been craving these cookies for years. As a Coby native I had NO idea these were regional until I transplanted first to AZ and then to Philly. I’m actually using them as one of my cookie swap contributions this year. No lie, I now can go Christmas shopping and finally decorate with 10 days to spare.

Jenn L. S.

Julie Cohn 12/15/2017 at 9:23 pm

I’m so glad Jenn, thank you! Maybe you know my husband?

Melissa 02/20/2018 at 6:18 am

Thank you for posting this recipe! We used to buy the Chocolate Jumbles or the Half and Half cookies in Sammonsville at Wemple and Edick’s. Gosh I miss that place, their homemade jumbles and their homemade ice cream.

Julie Cohn 02/20/2018 at 7:05 am

Thank you Melissa! I love half and half cookies, and there is no place to get them out here in AZ!

Sheila Khachadoorian 10/30/2018 at 10:37 pm

These cookies are demanded by my adult children and 20 something grand-kids at Christmas (although I make them prior to T’giving and dole them out tthen) the recipe was given to me by my great grandmother in law Leona Lawton, Gloversville NY(Fulton county). She led me to believe it was a secret family recipe too! I have since entered it in many club and church cookbooks for all to share. The difference in the recipe I make from the one here is I use bakers chocolate squares and I cut with a donut cutter, making them uniform. This is the best thing I make (according to my kids) and will probably be the one big think they remember me for! Oh,……NO ginger is in this recipe (as noted in the blurb, but not in the ingredients list). The main ingredients that make this an outstanding cookie is the molasses, the cinnamon and clove.

Julie Cohn 10/30/2018 at 11:46 pm

Thanks Sheila!

Hannah 11/16/2018 at 11:01 pm

Thanks For Sharing this recipe!! My family has made these every year when I was growing up, and then my aunt lost her recipe. I grew up in Middleburgh and these are such a tradition. I looked for years for the actual recipe (being away from the area didn’t make things easy either) but had to come up with my own version which was actual pretty similar. This year I am gonna try this version though and see if my family notices the difference.

Julie Cohn 11/17/2018 at 5:51 am

Thank Hannah! Hope the recipe is like what you grew up with!

Joni Mars 12/07/2018 at 7:36 pm

Thank you so much for this recipe! I too had no idea these were a regional recipe. I grew up in Cobleskill/Berne NY and they were such a staple of my childhood that I assumed everyone had them! Sadly my grandmother passed away 10 years ago and the recipe was lost…or so I thought. I have lived in Arizona for awhile now and am so ecstatic to have this recipe again (just as a side note, our family ALWAYS made ours with strong black coffee instead of hot water). Thank you again!

Julie Cohn 12/07/2018 at 7:44 pm

Joni: Thank you for your kind words and for the recommendation on using coffee, I will try that! My husband grew up in Cobleskill too!

Laura Sakshaug 12/15/2018 at 5:09 pm

I was very excited to stumble on this recipe. It is very similar to mine. It was the cookie in the cookie jar when my grandfather was growing up in the early 1900’s. He was from Schoharie county NY. They became christmas cookies as I was growing up and would make them for my grandfather as a christmas present. We cut the traditional cookie with a donut cutter which gave the round circle with the hole in the middle. I always make plenty of them as well as other shapes at christmas. My daughter and I make them every year and ship them to relatives and friends around the country. I am a transplanted New Yorker living in AZ. Definitely my favorite!!!

Julie Cohn 12/15/2018 at 6:13 pm

Thank you Laura, happy holidays!

Debbie P. 12/17/2018 at 4:48 pm

As a Schoharie resident since day one, these have always been a part of my life. The recipe varies from one person to another. For instance i use my grandmother’s recipe which doesn’t call for coffee. Also the taste will vary depending on what kind of molasses you use. I did two batches this year using two different molasses. One is very dark and has a stronger taste. Both are very good. The other difference in recipes is that mine says add flour with no given amount (gives an idea how old the recipe is) but after 40 plus years of making them I’ve figured that out. I have passed grandma’s recipe to my daughter and hopefully my grandkids will also make them someday.

Connie Spohn 12/18/2018 at 2:46 pm

Could not believe it when I saw “Dottie’s” recipe. What was best about it was that she did not share the recipe, she made the cookies and shared them at many events and occasions. Dottie shared them at the last ladies golf dinner at the Cobleskill Country Club. She made boxes full of them. If you grew up in Schoharie County it was likely that your grandmother or mother made them for many occasions. My father and brothers really loved (love) jumbles. Although I have always made lots of cookies at Christmas, once I was married I did not make them. My brothers are the ones that do now. Fond memories of Dottie, my mother and my dad with this post. Dad was known for falling asleep in his chair or on the house and we have a picture of a chocolate jumble wreathing his nose!

Julie Cohn 12/18/2018 at 4:11 pm

Thank you for sharing your memories, Connie! I met Dottie once when she came to deliver a box of her wonderful Jumbles to my mother-in-law before getting her hair done. Dottie was a lovely lady.

Sheryl 12/30/2018 at 4:13 am

i I grew up not far from Schoharie, from Saint Johnsville, NY, and these were a staple in our house, especially during the holidays. My great aunt taught me to make these. Thank you for sharing with everyone. They all need to enjoy these wonderful cookies.

Julie Cohn 12/30/2018 at 9:49 pm

Thank you Sheryl! I need to make another batch for my husband! 🙂

Sandie 01/04/2019 at 9:34 am

Thank you for sharing. My Gram made them for our family reunions! I have the recipe but mine cone out hard. What am I doing wrong!

Julie Cohn 01/04/2019 at 9:02 pm

If they are coming out too hard, perhaps your oven runs hot and you need to take them out of the oven 2-3 minutes earlier than recommended in the recipe? The only other thing I can think of is if you work the dough too much, it can break down the molecules in the dough, making the cookie dough tough. The other thing you could try is pastry flour instead of all purpose flour. It has less protein, so the cookies will come out fluffier. Let me know if you make a new batch, how they turn out.

Natasha Wall 01/25/2019 at 3:41 pm

Just tried this recipe and Dottie would be proud, i think ( from my husband’s mouth he used to work at Cobleskill Country club 😉 ) these were great! Thank you so much for posting this recipe ! I also used coffee ( wasnt anything different then what we drink though – but it does “punch ” the flavor of the cocoa )

Julie Cohn 01/25/2019 at 4:15 pm

Thank you Natasha! My husband used to work there when he was in high school too!

chris 01/27/2019 at 8:12 am

thank you for recipe and they look much do they make as far as dozen (s)?ty again

Julie Cohn 01/28/2019 at 8:43 pm

I make them big so only get about 24-30 out of one batch! Thanks for asking.


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