Chocolate sugar cookies are soft and deliciously chocolatey. Create fun shapes using your favorite cookie cutters and decorate with royal icing for some fun and festive cookies.
Before having children, I use to decorate royal iced cookies for all kinds of occasions: baby showers, weddings, birthday celebrations, anniversaries, engagements. I loved collecting cookie cutters and experimenting with designs and colors. I became so mesmerized with all the cookie decorators on Instagram. Now, I decorate cookies for limited occasions (mainly family events). I've always made basic sugar cookies for all my decorated cookies, but I thought it would be fun to come up with a recipe for chocolate lovers.
These chocolate sugar cookies are soft and have a pleasing, bold chocolate flavor. It's fun to get the kids involved with rolling out the dough and cutting out fun shapes to decorate with royal icing and sprinkles. This versatile dough is perfect for any occasion.
What you need to make chocolate sugar cookies
Digital scale (or measuring cups and spoons)
2 large baking sheet pans
Flour. All-purpose flour provides the structure to your cookies.
Cocoa powder. The cocoa will give the rich chocolate flavor to your cookies. Always select an unsweetened cocoa powder.
Baking powder. The baking powder is used in this recipe to help the cookies puff up ever so slightly and prevent them from deflating after baking.
Salt. Salt acts as a flavor enhancer in baking.
Butter. Always use unsalted butter that is at room temperature.
Sugar. Granulated sugar not only adds sweetness to your chocolate sugar cookies, but it also contributes to the texture of your cookies.
Brown sugar. Using brown sugar will complement the flavors in these cookies. It will add a slight molasses flavor, which pairs well with the chocolate.
Eggs. Always begin with room temperature eggs.
Vanilla. Using pure vanilla extract will give you the best flavor compared to imitation. It does make a difference.
How to make chocolate sugar cookies
- Dry ingredients. Begin by sifting together the dry ingredients and set aside.
- Cream butter. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and mix on medium speed until well combined. Carefully not to whip the mixture, or else you will add to much air into your dough.
- Add wet ingredients. Mix in one egg at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and continue to mix until incorporated. On low speed, add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and becomes one mass.
- Chill dough. Divide the dough into two pieces, form into round discs, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
- Roll dough. Between two sheets of parchment paper, roll one piece of dough at a time to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out desired shapes and place on prepared baking pans.
- Bake. Bake in a preheated oven for 7-9 minutes. Allow to cool 2 minutes on the hot sheet pan and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Sifting your dry ingredients
Usually, when I make sugar cookies, I whisk my dry ingredients together. However, when using cocoa powder, it's essential to take the extra step and sift together all your dry ingredients. Cocoa powder tends to come lumpy in its package, and if it is not sifted, it can create undesirable lumps in your cookie dough that won't melt in the oven.
Natural Cocoa powder vs. dutch-process cocoa powder
First of all, what is cocoa powder? In short, it's what chocolate tastes like without any extra fat, sugar, or milk added to it. More specifically, it's the powder created by grinding cocoa beans once the cocoa butter has been removed from them.
In this recipe, you can use natural unsweetened or dutch-processed cocoa powder. Typically natural cocoa powder is used in recipes that call for baking soda as its leavening agent (and no other acidic ingredients are present). Baking soda relies on acidic ingredients for their reactions. Because chocolate is naturally acidic, natural cocoa powder is as well and will create this reaction (Dutch-process cocoa powder, on the other hand, is not acidic). However, this recipe calls for a small amount of baking powder, which reacts with heat and therefore does not rely on acidity for its leavening powers.
In general, natural cocoa powder has a bolder flavor, whereas dutch-process cocoa powder is more mellow. Flavors of cocoa powders will vary based on cocoa beans and how they are processed.
Tips and takeaways
- To roll out chocolate sugar cookies, I always use a rolling pin with removable thickness rings. Using this allows me to get a consistent layer of cookie dough that will bake evenly in the oven.
- If your cookie dough becomes warm while you are working with it, it will make it more difficult to transfer your cut cookies from your work surface to your baking sheet pans. If you try and transfer warm cookie dough, it will lose its shape that you have cut out. I recommend placing your rolled out cookie dough in the freezer for a couple of minutes before cutting the dough with your cookie cutters.
- You can easily make this chocolate sugar cookie recipe ahead of time. Refrigerate for up to three days before rolling out and baking.
More cookie recipes
- Candy bar cookies
- Funfetti cookies
- Chocolate chunk cookies
- White chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies
Make sure to tag me @thesweetoccasion on Instagram and leave me a review below if you make these Chocolate Sugar Cookies. I’d love to see your creations and read your feedback. And if you would like to make this recipe later, be sure to pin this recipe using the button on any of these images. Let’s make every occasion, a sweet occasion!Print