Chocolate Sugar Cookies
My go-to recipe for chocolate sugar cookies!
I don’t even know what to say about this.
I mean, it’s been exactly 4 years 2 months and 24 days since I started this baking blog and there’s no chocolate sugar cookie recipe to be found. We’re talking 1547 days– thank you, calculator– without a classic chocolate sugar cookie recipe. I’m fully aware that its absence this far into my baking career is appalling and most definitely obscure.
But, my baking buds, it’s taken me awhile to perfect such a classic treasure. And I will only bring you the best when it comes to sugar cookies. I swear on sprinkles.
These chocolate sugar cookies are fantastic! I’m completely addicted to making them because not only are the cookies the perfect balance of chocolate and buttery goodness, they’re incredibly simple. They’re crisp on the edges, soft in the center, and the royal icing sets within a couple hours so you can stack them, gift them, wrap them, eat them all immediately because they will call out your name as you walk by.
Chocolate temptresses, they are.
You’ll be happy to know that this is a completely basic recipe. There’s nothing strange or complicated and I can guarantee you have most of the ingredients in your kitchen this very second. The recipe is adapted from my vanilla version, only I added a lot of cocoa powder for chocolate flavor. We’ll be using baking powder to give the cookies lift and if you remember my huge spiel about cocoa powders, you’ll know that dutch-process cocoa powder is typically paired with baking powder. But you can actually use either dutch-process or natural cocoa powder in this cookie recipe because things are only tricky when baking soda is involved– that’s when you most likely need to use the acidic natural cocoa powder.
Anyway, so yes– easy ingredients in this chocolate sugar cookie recipe and you can use whatever cocoa powder you like best! I suggest a high quality, incredibly tasty cocoa powder. Two I love are Hershey’s special dark and Ghirardelli 100% unsweetened cocoa.
Tip: sifting the flour and cocoa powder together is imperative. This ensures the two are perfectly blended and aerated. Rids any lumps, too.
Here’s the sifter I own and love.
Another tip! Instead of flour, sprinkle cocoa powder on your work surface for rolling out the cookie dough. I roll the dough out on parchment paper, but if you’re using your counter– dust with cocoa powder. Flour is completely tasteless, so might as well use cocoa powder for extra chocolate flavor, right?
Like my regular soft cut-out sugar cookies, we’re going to roll the dough out before chilling it in the refrigerator. With all of my recipe testing, I learned that this method is a lot easier than chilling the cookie dough as a whole and then trying to roll out a cold chunk of dough. You got me? Remember, chilling the cookie dough is KEY. Your cookies will spread all over the place if the dough is not cold and firm.
After 1 hour in the refrigerator, the chocolate dough is ready to shape.
The chocolate sugar cookies bake up to be soft in the centers and wonderfully crisp on the edges. They’ll take only about 10 minutes in the oven. Super quick!
For the icing, there are so many options! For the pictured cookies, I used this royal icing with meringue powder. (I like Wilton brand meringue powder.) I love this royal icing. It sets after only a couple hours, is super smooth, and is perfectly sweet. It’s easy to work with, too. If meringue powder isn’t your thing– you can use my super easy icing instead. With either, you can decorate using an empty squeeze bottle or a piping tip/bag situation. I use Ateco icing tip #3. For lots of helpful cookie decorating tips, check out this helpful read from King Arthur Flour. I use it as a resource all the time.
Invite some friends over, round up the kids, and have fun decorating these classic chocolate sugar cookies. And jazz them up with sprinkles!
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
These are the best soft chocolate sugar cookies you will ever make! It's an easy recipe and they are so fun to decorate. Chilling is the most important step, so don't skip it.
- 3/4 cup (172g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 3/4 cup (63g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder (or dutch process)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the baking powder and salt until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment to about 1/4″ thickness. Stack the pieces (with parchment paper between) onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Chilling is mandatory. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper. You can chill up to 2 days.
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. The amount of batches will depend on how large/small you cut your cookies. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a cookie cutter, cut in shapes. Transfer the cut cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used.
- Bake for 10 minutes-- the cookies will still appear soft. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
- Make the icing and decorate the cooled cookies however you'd like. I did not color the icing, as you can see. Add sprinkles on top of the icing if desired. Once the icing has set, these cookies are perfect for gifts, sending, or munching on right away. I find they stay soft for about 5 days at room temperature.
- Make ahead tip: Unfrosted cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Frosted cookies do not freeze well at all. You can chill the cookie dough for up to 2 days (step 3). You can also freeze the cookie dough before rolling for up to 3 months. Then allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then allow to come to room temperature for about 1 hour. Then roll and continue with the recipe as directed.
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Here’s my vanilla version. You can’t go wrong with them!
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