How to Make Russian Chocolate "Hedgehogs"

Updated on January 2, 2020
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Janisa loves eating and experimenting in the kitchen. She enjoys creating new recipes and homemade versions of popular store-bought foods.

Since it takes a while to actually make the hedgehogs, I usually roll these into balls.
Since it takes a while to actually make the hedgehogs, I usually roll these into balls.

Why Are They Called Hedgehogs?

This popular Russian dessert actually has several different names, depending on the shapes that are formed with the dough. Originally, this sweet is called the (chocolate) potato because they get shaped into circular rectangles and rolled in cocoa powder prior to serving. A much simpler way to serve this dessert is to roll the dough into a large kolbassa, which is like super thick sausage, and then cut it into slices prior to serving. Hedgehogs are a much more creative way of preparing this dessert, although they take quite a bit of skill and patience to make. Laziness has caused me to make these in the form of dormant hedgehogs—I just roll pieces of dough into balls and stick "needles" into them. A new variation of this dessert that I came up with could be called chocolate snowballs; all that is required to do with the dough is roll pieces into balls and dip them into something white. I hope you enjoy this recipe and regardless of the way you decide to serve the delicacy, the ingredient list and basic preparation method remain the same.

A No-Bake Dessert!

Russian chocolate hedgehogs are perfect for those hot summer days when the last thing that you want to do is turn on the oven! What is required, however, is a chilling time of several hours in order to blend the flavours and make the sweet even more delicious!

Dough prep time: 5 minutes

Time required to form individual pieces: 2–10 minutes, depends on the desired serving method

Chilling time: at least 2 hours, preferably overnight

Serves: 10 or more, but it really depends on how much people like it, because it's possible for one person to eat everything!

Ingredients for the Dough

  • 500 grams cookies – the most simple kind of cookies, those that you can easily break into crumbs. My preferred ones are McVitie's Digestive Cookies, but any similar type of cookie will work just as well.
  • 200 grams butter, softened
  • 300 grams (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

The Best Cookies to Use

McVitie's Digestive Biscuits -400g 3 Pack, Original
McVitie's Digestive Biscuits -400g 3 Pack, Original
McVitie's Digestive biscuits are easy to break apart and give the dessert an authentic taste. Their neutral and somewhat sweet taste makes them the best to use for the recipe as it doesn't block out the other ingredients' flavours. Buy a pack of three so that you can make even more Russian chocolate hedgehogs and have enough to share with all your friends!

Other Ingredients

Whether you need to use any of these ingredients depends on how you choose to serve your pastry when it's done. You can also use other ingredients for decoration if you want to serve it in your own style.

  • cocoa powder: If you're making chocolate potatoes
  • sunflower seeds: If making chocolate hedgehogs
  • shredded coconut and/or powdered sugar: for chocolate snowballs
  • powdered sugar, chocolate sprinkles, or nothing: for chocolate kolbassa

My assorted "chocolate snowballs" with two dormant hedgehogs hiding among them!
My assorted "chocolate snowballs" with two dormant hedgehogs hiding among them!

Making the Dough

It really can't get any simpler!

  1. Break the cookies into crumbs. You can do it manually, especially if you have kids wanting to help. I usually put some of the cookies in a Ziploc bag, close it, but leave a tiny gap for air to escape and then pass a rolling pin on top. It may seem risky—it sure did to me when I first came up with the idea—but it does work. Don't worry if you have some bigger cookie crumbs.
  2. Pour the crumbs into a large mixing bowl, repeat with the remaining cookies until done.
  3. Melt the butter a bit; this step can be skipped, but making the butter liquidy makes it much easier to mix the dough. To melt the butter, pour some boiling water into a saucepan and turn it on medium heat. Place a cup or bowl or smaller saucepan inside it and place the butter into it. This allows the butter to melt without risking it getting burnt.
  4. Add all the remaining dough ingredients to the bowl: condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter and mix well.
  5. The dough is done! Now you need to decide how you want to serve the delicacy and prep it.


Trust me, they're not as scary as the photo makes them appear!
Trust me, they're not as scary as the photo makes them appear!

Making the Hedgehogs

  1. Take some dough, around 2 tbsp, and roll into a ball.
  2. Flatten it out a bit on one side to make the snout.
  3. Decorate with sunflower seeds or slivered almonds.
  4. You can also make eyes and a mouth if you're artistic enough.
  5. Using icing for decoration is an option.

Snowballs and Dormant Hedgehogs

Super simple to make and make it look like you've got different varieties.
Super simple to make and make it look like you've got different varieties.

Making the Snowballs and Dormant Hedgehogs

  1. Take some dough into your hand, it can be as much as you want, depending on the size you want them to be. I use around 1–2 tbsp.
  2. Roll into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  3. For dormant hedgehogs, insert sunflower seeds into the ball, the more you insert, the more realistic it will be, no need to insert sunflower seeds at the bottom part.
  4. For snowballs, put some icing sugar or shredded coconut into a container, roll the balls in it until covered. My trick for doing this is using a plastic container, placing the balls in there one at a time and then shaking it around until they roll themselves.

Make them bite-size or bigger if you want.
Make them bite-size or bigger if you want.

Making the Potatoes

  1. Take some dough, around 3–4 tbsp, but it depends on how big you want them.
  2. Shape into a rectangle. Repeat until the dough runs out.
  3. Roll in cocoa powder.

Making the Kolbassa

  1. Take all the dough and place it on a cutting board or other clean surface.
  2. Roll it into a large pipe, you can determine the thickness yourself.
  3. Roll in icing sugar or sprinkles if desired.
  4. Cut into slices now or after chilling.

Finishing Touches

  1. Place on a baking sheet or a plate and cover. Use aluminum foil or plastic wrap or use a container instead.
  2. Place in the fridge for a few hours.
  3. Serve with tea and enjoy!


Be as creative as you want when serving.
Be as creative as you want when serving.

What do you think?

What's your favourite way to serve this dessert?

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Rate These Sweet Hedgehogs!

5 stars from 1 rating of Russian chocolate hedgehogs

© 2018 Janisa


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