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Made with 2 types of cocoa powder for an intensely deep chocolate flavor, these salted dark chocolate cookies feature crisp edges and soft chewy centers just like chewy brownies. A sprinkle of sea salt is the perfect finishing touch on each fudge-like cookie.

One reader said: “These were easily some of the best cookies I have ever made. I was blown away by the rich chocolate flavor! Instead of chocolate chips I used the new Nestle espresso chips, which I HIGHLY recommend doing.”

salted dark chocolate cookies

These dark chocolate cookies are as beloved as our popular chewy chocolate chip cookies and as rich as these brownie cookies. Is your motto the more chocolate, the better? If so, you’re in the right place today.

Tell Me About these Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies

  • Texture: While the rich and dark chocolate flavor is certainly outstanding, let’s not forget their unbeatable texture. These salted cookies are balanced with ultra soft and fudge-like centers with chewy, crisp edges. 
  • Ease: This is a pretty simple and straightforward cookie recipe. You need 2 main bowls– one for dry ingredients and one for other wet ingredients before combining the two together. Expect a sticky cookie dough. Even if you’ve chilled it, this cookie dough is sticky.
  • Time: Preparing the dough takes a few minutes, but you’ll need to set aside time to chill the cookie dough. This dough needs at least 3 hours in the refrigerator to properly set up before baking. If you shorten or skip this step, the cookies over-spread into thin and greasy chocolate pancakes. No time to chill the cookie dough? Here are our cookie recipes that don’t require chilling, like snickerdoodles and shortbread cookies.
salted dark chocolate cookies on a green plate
two kinds of cocoa powder

Same Dough, Different Cookie

You might recognize the base dough recipe because it’s been a go-to chocolate cookie dough for years. My entire team and I (and many, many readers!) love this chocolate dough because the results are always fantastic! The only change in today’s variation is that we use 2 cocoa powders for a darker, deeper flavor. This is a very sticky cookie dough, so have a paper towel or kitchen towel nearby for your hands as you roll the dough. You could also use a cookie scoop.

Here are more cookie recipes using this base dough:

Note: The chocolate crinkle cookies and peppermint mocha cookies can over-spread as a result of the sugar coating and peppermint extract (respectively), so I leave out the milk in those versions.

hand holding half of a salted dark chocolate cookie

Best Ingredients to Use for Dark Chocolate Cookies

The full detailed recipe is written below, but let’s review the ingredients because each serves an important purpose.

  • Flour: All-purpose flour is the base of these cookies. We don’t use as much as in non-chocolate cookie recipes because the cocoa powder also provides structure.
  • Cocoa Powder: For intense dark chocolate flavor, use 2 types of cocoa powders– natural cocoa powder and Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder. Have you ever used Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder before? It’s deep, dark, and bold. This is actually a cocoa powder that’s a blend of natural cocoa and dutched cocoa (and here is even more information about Dutch-process vs. natural cocoa powder). It really heightens the chocolate flavor in these cookies!
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda helps the cookies rise.
  • Salt & Vanilla Extract: Both add flavor. Try using homemade vanilla extract.
  • Butter: Butter adds delicious flavor and texture.
  • Sugar: We use a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar for sweetness and softness.
  • Egg: 1 egg helps bind everything together.
  • Milk: Milk smooths out the cookie dough.
  • Chocolate Chips & Chunks: Use a handful of chocolate chips and pure chocolate chopped into chunks– the pure chocolate chunks melt down since they do not contain any stabilizers (unlike chocolate chips) and create pools of chocolate inside and outside of the cookies.
  • Sprinkle of Sea Salt: The sea salt offsets the sweetness and brings out even more chocolate flavor. We add a touch to these salty sweet chocolate covered pretzel cookies, too.
dark chocolate cookie dough balls sprinkled with sea salt on a silpat baking mat
salted dark chocolate cookies on a green plate

Today’s dark chocolate cookies would be fantastic for making cookie ice cream sandwiches using your favorite ice cream flavor!

More Cookie Recipes with Chocolate

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hand holding half of a salted dark chocolate cookie

Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2022 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Made with 2 types of cocoa powder for an intensely deep chocolate flavor, these salted dark chocolate cookies feature crisp edges and soft chewy centers just like brownies. A sprinkle of sea salt is the perfect finishing touch on each fudge-like cookie.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/3 cup (27g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder*
  • 1/3 cup (27g) Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
  • 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chunks and/or chips, plus a few more for topping*
  • sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preliminary note: This cookie dough requires at least 3 hours of chilling, but I prefer to chill the dough overnight. The colder the dough, the thicker the cookies.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and then beat on high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, both cocoa powders, baking soda and salt together until combined. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour into the wet ingredients. Beat on low until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Switch to high speed and beat in the milk, then the chocolate chips. The cookie dough will be sticky and tacky. Cover dough tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this sticky cookie dough.
  4. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. If the cookie dough chilled longer than 3 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. This makes the chilled cookie dough easier to scoop and roll.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  6. Scoop and roll dough, a heaping 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each, into balls. To ensure a thicker cookie, make the balls taller than they are wide (almost like a cylinder or column). Arrange 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Sprinkle each with sea salt. The cookie dough is certainly sticky, so wipe your hands clean after every few balls of dough you shape.
  7. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes or until the edges appear set and the centers still look soft. Tip: If they aren’t really spreading by minute 9, remove them from the oven and lightly bang the baking sheet on the counter 2-3x. This helps initiate that spread. Return to the oven to continue baking.
  8. Cool cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. During this time, I like to press a few more chocolate chips into the tops of the warm cookies or sprinkle with more sea salt. (This is optional.) Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. The cookies will slightly deflate as they cool. 
  9. Cover leftover cookies tightly and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 5. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Here is how to freeze cookie dough.
  2. Larger Batch: The recipe is easy to double in 1 mixing bowl without overwhelming your mixer. Simply double all of the cookie dough ingredients. Dough chill time remains the same.
  3. Cocoa Powder: If you can’t get your hands on Hershey’s special dark cocoa, you can use 2/3 cup of natural unsweetened cocoa powder instead. Do not use purely dutched cocoa in this recipe because you need the acid in natural cocoa. However, I’ve gotten some questions from non-USA readers who cannot get their hands on natural cocoa powder. Easy fix! Just bake death by chocolate peanut butter chip cookies instead. You can used dutched cocoa! And add sea salt on top.
  4. Chocolate Chips & Chunks: I used a mix of chocolate chips and chocolate chunks. You can use all chocolate chips, all chocolate chunks, or a mix of both.
  5. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: dark chocolate cookies, salted chocolate cookies

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. taste was great, it turned out with a wetter dough and flatter cookie, would probably add another half to whole cup of flour

  2. Do you literally just leave them in a ball shape on the sheet? Or should I press down in the center, similar to snickerdoodles?

    1. Hi Dana, correct. These usually spread enough on their own, but if you find they’re too puffy closer to the end of the bake time, you can certainly use a spoon to gently flatten. Enjoy!

  3. These are absolutely incredible. The chocolate lovers in my family (including myself) could not stop eating them. I will be making these every year. THANKS!!

  4. One more Q, do you think 90% cocoa chunks would be TOO dark and bitter to add in with the semisweet chips? I also have a bar of 70% with cocoa nibs, so that has a little crunch… I’m out of the last bar I had, and am about to bake another batch for a friend. Which one do you think might work better? Or should I stick with just chips?

  5. If I use dutch processed cocoa powder should I use baking powder instead of baking soda?

    1. Hi Karen! That would require some testing because baking soda is so much stronger than baking powder, so you’d need more baking powder. Here’s a chocolate cookie recipe that uses baking powder (and you can use dutched cocoa) if you prefer.

  6. Hey Sally! I was super excited to try this recipe but when I was looking into the Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, it looks like they’ve changed the formula to 100% Dutch processed. Does that mean this recipe can’t be made anymore? 🙁

  7. Dear Sally–Can I just double all the ingredients and make a larger batch at one time? I seem to remember over the years that you have strong feelings against this but have to ask for final clarification. These cookies are simply the best ever so I’d like to be able to make more at one time so I can give them to more people, etc. The way it stands now–just not enough. If you strongly advise against the doubling idea, I’d love to know why b/c I’m so very tempted to just do this but can’t without at least checking with you, the master expert and last word first. Thanks very much for all you do. My husband and I very much appreciate all your excellent work!

    1. Hi Diane! We always caution against doubling cake and cupcakes recipes as it’s very easy to over mix them causing a dense texture. Cookie recipes are more forgiving and could be doubled, but we still recommend separate batches – this guarantees a uniform texture AND helps avoid overmixing.

  8. Super helpful and so great to know. I really appreciate your thoughts. Will likely give this a go and just be extra careful/aware. Outstanding recipe so if I feel the double batching is compromising it in anyway, I will stop and return to separate batches. THANKS AGAIN!!!

  9. This might be my all-time favorite cookie recipe. I’ve made it with peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and it is always soooo good.

  10. Hi! Could I easily add nuts to this recipe? Would I need to adjust the measurements of anything else? Thanks!

    1. Hi Dana, you sure can! We’d recommend keeping the total amount of add-ins (including the chocolate chips / chunks) to about a cup.

  11. Hello. I’m thinking about making these over the weekend and shipping to my sister and brother-in-law for his birthday. Would these ship well (Texas to New Mexico), if in a air-tight container?

  12. Hi!

    Would I be able to use a cup of regular sized M&Ms instead of chocolate chips with this recipe? I have used your M&M cookie recipe before and it was amazing, I just wanted to make them double chocolate this time!

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Tory, we can’t see why not! You may want to roughly cop the M&Ms before adding them to the dough to disperse them better, but that’s completely optional. Enjoy!

  13. I just tried these yesterday for the 1st time. They came out very well. I only chilled for 3 hours – as I wanted the cookies for after dinner. I can see the value of chilling longer – but they still came out very well. I will be making them again, I am sure. Thank you.

  14. Hi, I have a question — do you think adding a splash of coffee, or even instant coffee would be appropriate? I’ve used it before in other recipes because it can heighten the chocolate flavor, but I haven’t done this for cookies and I’m not sure what adjustments I’d have to make elsewhere in the recipe.

    1. Hi Antonio, absolutely. I recommend instant coffee powder or instant espresso. You can add 1-2 teaspoons of either with the dry ingredients.

  15. Cooking time for a soft set center and just set edges was 14 minutes turning at the halfway mark. I added 2 teaspoons of espresso powder with the vanilla bean paste. Pretty nice… think i will use cooled browned butter next time and up it to 3/4 cup for a flatter crispier version.

  16. I could not find Hersheys special dark cocoa only Hersheys natural cocoa. Will it affect the taste ?

    1. Hi Sue, you can use 2/3 cup of natural unsweetened cocoa powder instead. See recipe notes for more details.

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