Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies

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.

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.

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 our go-to chocolate cookie dough for years. Simply our favorite 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: Some readers have had trouble with the peppermint mocha cookies and chocolate crinkle cookies over-spreading as a result of the peppermint extract and sugar coating on top, so we don’t include the milk in those cookie doughs. We reduced the milk down to 1 Tablespoon for this dough, instead of the original 2 Tablespoons. This reduces spread.

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.

dark chocolate cookie dough balls sprinkled with sea salt on a silpat baking mat

salted dark chocolate cookies on a green plate

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, 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16 cookies
  • 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

  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/3 cup (27g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder*
  • 1/3 cup (26g) Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 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
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) 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. Whisk the flour, cocoa powders, baking soda and salt together until combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held 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 brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg and vanilla on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  3. On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be thick. Switch to high speed and beat in the milk, then the chocolate chips. The cookie dough will be sticky. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I always chill mine overnight.
  4. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes– if the cookie dough chilled longer than 3 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  6. Scoop and roll balls of dough, about 2 Tablespoons of dough each, into balls. Place on the baking sheets and sprinkle with a little sea salt.
  7. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. My oven has hot spots and yours may too- so be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time. The baked cookies will look extremely soft in the centers when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. During this time, you can press a few more chocolate chips/chunks into the top of the warm cookies– this is just for looks. You can also sprinkle with a little more sea salt as well. The cookies will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

59 Comments

  1. Sally, thanks for another great recipe. I am making the dough now so I can bake them in the morning. These will be a great way to start the day. They look amazing.

  2. Sally… Sally… Sally. I made these yesterday afternoon, and they are just… [deep breath]… loss for words wonderful. Haha! I actually used all Dutched cocoa in place of the special dark (risky I know, but I had to try!!!) and I didn’t experience any issues! Yay! Also mixed some white chocolate chips in with the semi-sweet, and they are absolutely heavenly! I may have eaten four for breakfast this morning… maybe… (Sooooo good with coffee, lol!) Thank you as always!!! <3

  3. These cookies are HEAVENLY Sally!! I didn’t change a thing. Thank you for another amazing recipe! 🙂

  4. Wow, these are good! I left off the extra salt (sorry). They are so soft! I microwave them 5 seconds to melt the chocolate inside or 10 seconds to achieve fall apart softness and melty goodness. I made them small and have been eating 3 a day! Worth indulging as I bake whole grain low sugar 75% of the time. These will be my go to chocolate cookie recipe for years to come.

  5. These are so yummy! I made them last week and they were soft and not super sweet. I added peanut butter flavored chips instead chocolate because I adore that combo. Just pure dark chocolate peanut buttery goodness! I am making them again today as a matter of fact. Thanks once again Sally!

  6. These were fabulous, and I think that they are my new chocolate cookie favorite!

  7. Tried these tonight-mmm. They’re like a deep, dark, melting chocolate massage for your taste buds. I only had Special Dark cocoa, so I used about 1/2 cup and adjusted to only 1 tablespoon of milk so the dough wouldn’t be too wet. I made smaller, tablespoon-sized cookies; baked them for 8 minutes with 5 minutes cooling on sheet. LOVED them! 

  8. This cookie recipe is excellent. I used 1 cup of Guittard mint chips, chilled the batter overnight, and baked the next morning. When they came out of the oven, I pressed a few extra chips on top. I omitted the sea salt sprinkling, too. Result: dark chocolate, minty heaven!

  9. Sally, I’ve read your blog enough to absorb the principles of baking enough to whip up a delicious batch of chocolate cookies in no time without a recipe, like my “emergency cookies” I baked last night. Like little oatmeal brownies. They just disappeared. Can’t thank you enough.

  10. Just made these and they are fantastic!!  The sea salt pushes them over the edge into glorious chocolate delirium.  Question… what is the reason for chilling the dough?  I did not pre-read the recipe and had planned to make them to take to an event, so I was dismayed when I got to that step because I definitely did not have time to chill them.  I just decided I had no other choice, so I put them straight in the oven after making the dough and I thought they turned out absolutely perfect!  So what did I miss with the chilling?

  11. Hi Sally,

    Just made these and they taste amazing. Mine however turned out very thin and flat. Wondering if you know why. The only change I had to make was that instead of the Hershey’s special dark cocoa I could only find “black cocoa.” I read your post on the differences between natural and dutched cocoas and used 1.5 cups natural cocoa and 0.5 cups of the black instead of 1 and 1, since you had said the special dark is half of each. Would this be why they became so thin? Thanks very much. 

    1. That may have something to due with the excess spread, but maybe the dough could’ve used more time in the refrigerator chilling. I like to chill my dough overnight! That’s a great way to save time later. Also, how about that butter– was it melted at all? Make sure it’s soft, but still quite solid.

  12. Hi, these cookies were so delicious! I experimented two  other substitutes for the chocolate chips. Hershey’s salted caramel chips in one batch and heath bar toffee peices in another. The toffee ones were soooooo delicious, but turned out really shiny. Any idea how I could fix this? The salted caramel chips looked exactly as oictured and texture wise were perfect. Thanks!

  13. I just made these cookies for a outing with my family. I had my coworkers be my guinea pigs and the look on their faces as the bite into them was amazing. These were a smash hit. I doubled the recipe and instead of the chunks I used dark chocolate chips. I used a table spoon sized dough ball and made around 50 cookies. I didnt read the directions thoroughly when I did it not realizing you needed to chill it, so I covered it and threw it in the freezer for an hour and they were amazing.

  14. Hi Sally. Big fan of your soft batch cookies and I want to try these next. It’s hard to find special dark cocoa here and I know you said use 2/3 cup natural if it’s not available, but I was wondering, could I just do the “3/4 natural and 1/4 dutched” you mentioned?

    1. Hi Jillian! This is a great question. Yes, you can still do 3/4 natural and 1/4 dutched– so mostly natural with a little dutched 🙂

  15. I made these yesterday, chilled the dough overnight and baked them today. They were one of the best cookies I’ve ever had!! But, they didn’t spread much. I rolled them into balls, but didn’t spread like yours.

  16. Just made these, and they are easy and delicious! I added some peppermint extract to make them festive. Thanks for a great recipe, as always!

  17. Malini Chandra says:

    These are so good! I’ve made them twice now, and using Hershey’s Special Dark + Hershey’s regular cocoa powder gives them that perfect, deep, rich chocolate flavor. I squashed them down a bit to flatten before I baked and they came out the perfect size. Will be adding to my tried and true recipes board on pinterest!

  18. I can only find Hershey’s 100% cacao not cocoa (I found the Special Dark no problem). Can I substitute the cacao for the unsweetened cocoa powder without making any adjustments to the liquid measurements?

    1. Hi Kelly, using 100% cacao shouldn’t be a problem. Make sure you chill the cookie dough. The cookies will have a wonderfully dark flavor.

  19. Hello! Do you think I’d have a problem trippling this recipe? Or honestly, is it ok to triple any of your cookie recipes? I need to make large quantities for a grad party. Thanks!

    1. Hi Andrea! For best taste and texture, especially if you’re serving for an event, I strongly recommend making separate batches of the cookies.

  20. OUTSTANDING!!! Sally, these cookies are absolutely fantastic! Wow!!! I followed your recipe exactly, read all your “tips” on cooking making…amazing results!! Everyone RAVED. I’m 51 years old and have been making cookies my entire life and I think this is the best batch I ever made. What a thrill to find your site. I could not be more appreciative for all your hard work and dedication. Just excellent in every regard. Thank you so much. Can’t wait to keep learning from you and keep trying your recipes.

  21. These worked great! I haven’t tried one yet but everyone loved them and came back for seconds I only chilled them for an hour and then stuck them in the freezer for 30 minutes and they spread perfectly! I also didn’t have a mixer (haha) so I just used a wooden spoon and it worked fine I used half dark chocolate chips and half semi sweet chunks and they are melty and wonderful!

  22. 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. Thank you Sally– I love your blog!!

  23. JUST finished making these, they came out fantastic. So glad I found your blog!

  24. Rachelle Hijazi says:

    How easily could I get them to stay the shape of a cookie mold? Thoughts? I’ll trying to make an awesome dark chocolate cookie to look like a penguin. I was gonna drizzle w white chocolate for the belly after.

    1. Hi Rachelle, this cookie isn’t idea for molding/shaping. You can try my chocolate sugar cookies instead.

  25. CAROLYN WALDEN says:

    Thoughts on adding espresso powder to these? How much?

    1. You can definitely add espresso powder. I recommend 2 teaspoons to really have that flavor stand out.

  26. These are outta bounds incredible. as a dark chocolate nut – a DREAM. Up the anty – make them ice cream sandwhiches (using Peanut Butter ice cream). Mom had to send Hersheys special dark in a care package (current situation wiped the NYC stores of baking supplies). Easy to make in a small NYC apartment and easy to freeze for just one!

    Thanks!

  27. This recipe is my new favorite!

  28. Not sure if I misread that if I don’t have Hershey’s special dark cocoa, I need to replace it with natural unsweetened cocoa powder by 1/3 cup dark cocoa = 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder so I ended up with 1 full cup of unsweetened cocoa powder in total! However, thankfully my cookie turned out ok!! :)) Though it didn’t spread probably because too much dry ingredients content.. not sure if I understood it correctly.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Daisy, You want 2/3 of a cup total of cocoa powder. So either 1/3 cup of each – or simply use 2/3 cup of natural cocoa powder. We are so glad you still enjoyed them, and if you decide to try them again they should be even softer with this correction!

  29. Hello.. is it possible to replace milk with soy milk?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      That should be fine, Sherlyn!

  30. Can I substitute black cocoa for the dark cocoa?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lisa, We haven’t tested it but it should work to replace the 1/3 cup of special dark cocoa powder. Let us know if you try it!

      1. It worked as written, the black cocoa gave them a rich, complex flavour. I loved that these cookies are not overly sweet. I used smoked Maldon salt as a topping, which worked really well.

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