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Dottie’s Chocolate Jumbles Cookies

written by Julie Cohn
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!
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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 from by my sister-in-law, Cathy, who got the original recipe from her my mother-in-law, who got it from Dottie, a friend of my mother-in-law’s.  Dottie makes Chocolate Jumbles every year and thoughtfully shares them with family and friends.  It’s not Christmas without a batch of Chocolate Jumbles!  Once you try these, they will become a treasured favorite for your family too.

Chocolate Jumbles Cookies

  • 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.

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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 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 cannot be copyrighted) and have been clear that this is a family friend’s (Dottie) recipe. However, because of this person message to me, I did take the extra step of verifying that this is a well-known recipe in the Schoharie Valley region.  In fact, in searching on the history of Chocolate Jumbles, I discovered that it is an old 17th century recipe from Germany, and 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!

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A chocolate, molasses, and ginger Christmas cookie from Schoharie County, NY!

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7 comments

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!

Sincerely,
Jenny Salley Ruland

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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!

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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.

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

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

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Linda Montroy 12/17/2017 at 8:39 pm

I’m glad I found this recipe too. I had friends in Preston Hollow, NY who used to make these when I was a kid.

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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.

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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!

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