These chocolate sugar cookies may just be my favourite cookie right now. Soft, melt-in-the-mouth cookie with a rich chocolate flavour, these are perfect for decorating but are just as addictive straight up. While these are decorated for Valentine’s day, the options are endless for shapes and frosting. They’d be perfect for Christmas too and actually made my list of the 25 best Christmas cookie recipes.
Why you’ll love them
Where are my chocolate lovers at? These chocolate sugar cookies are a delicious chocolatey spin on the classic vanilla sugar cookie.
- Such an easy recipe to make and great for beginner cooks too.
- Only 7 ingredients in the cookie base
- Thick, soft cookie with slightly crisp edges
- Taste almost like chocolate brownie.
- Wonderful base for your favourite topping – royal icing, buttercream frosting or just dip in chocolate.
- Add flavours like peppermint, orange or coconut.
- Use for all your favourite holidays – Halloween, Fall, Christmas, Valentines, Easter.
You can turn these cookies into thin mints by adding peppermint extract and coating in chocolate. You can even use these as the base to my homemade Oreo cookies.
For these photos, I decorated them for Valentine’s day using my favourite simple marble icing method. They’re flecked with edible gold paint right at the end for a really special look.
Ingredients you’ll need
These sugar cookies only need a handful of ingredients. This list doesn’t include the icing.
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Flour: Use plain flour / all-purpose flour for these cookies.
- Cocoa: I use dutched process cocoa here for a darker colour and less bitter chocolate flavour but you can use regular unsweetened cocoa powder too. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s a good quality one as you’re really going to taste it.
- Sugar: You only need white granulated sugar.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter for these cookies. It will need to be softened before you start.
- Egg: Just one large egg is all you need here.
- Baking powder: There is just a little baking powder to give these a little lift but not so much that they start spreading.
- Vanilla: I use pure vanilla extract in these cookies as it actually intensifies the chocolate flavour. You can technically skip it or you could swap it for a little peppermint extract of even orange extract.
Tools you’ll need
- Stand mixer or handheld electric mixer
- Mixing bowls
- Silicone spatula
- Rolling pin
- Cookie cutters
- Baking sheet x2
How to make chocolate sugar cookies
The dough for these chocolate sugar cookies is very easy to make. You will need to chill it so factor in that time. I’ve specifically created these cookies to have a chilling time for a few reasons.
- First, rolled cookies can become a bit dense or tough since they’re handled so much (with rolling and pulling the dough together) and resting the dough counteracts this.
- Second, to make this dough firm enough not to require chilling would mean you’d have a tough dry cookie and we definitely want a soft and tender cookie.
Detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
- Make the dough: Start by whisking together the dry flour, cocoa and baking powder in a bowl. In a large bowl with a handheld electric beater or in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla (photo 1) and beat through. Now gently mix in the dry ingredients (photo 2).
- Roll the dough: Pull the dough together, then split into 3 pieces. Roll each piece out between two sheets of baking paper (photo 3) until about 5mm (1/5th of an inch) thick. Chill the dough until quite firm. Cut out shapes 7.5cm (3 inches) and place them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper (photo 4) at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Decorating the cookies: You can use a number of toppings to decorate the cookies from just dipping them in melted chocolate to frosting with buttercream, piping with royal icing or just dipping in marbled icing like I have here (photos 5&6).
- Adding gold splatter: I went one step further and added a gold splatter to these. You do this by dipping a small, flat paint brush into edible gold paint then, holding it over the iced cookie, drag back on the bristles with your fingertip to create a splatter effect.
Tips and tricks
- Please weigh your ingredients as it makes a big difference. If you just scoop with your cup measure, you will likely end up with too much flour or cocoa as it will be more compact. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, use the spoon and level method – spoon the ingredient into the cup, then level off with the back of a knife.
- Creaming the butter will take around 3-4 minutes but can depend on how soft your butter is and the method you use. You want it to be looking pale and creamy, almost whipped.
- Don’t overmix the dough. Once you add the dry ingredients, just mix on very low and only until the ingredients are just incorporated. This will prevent your cookies from becoming tough.
- Rolling between sheets of baking or parchment paper is a great no-mess trick. It means you don’t have to dust your work surface with cocoa which gets messy and in fact don’t need any extra cocoa which may dry out your cookies. Just make sure to release the paper (both top and bottom) from time to time as it may otherwise leave creases in your cookies.
- Don’t skip chilling. Chilling time is necessary to rest the dough and helps the cookies to hold their shape. There is only one chilling period with these cookies. As you split the dough into 3 portions, only take one out of the fridge at a time.
- You can re-roll the dough. This dough can be re-rolled. Gather up the scraps. Pull it gently into a flat disk then roll out again. Make sure to chill as it will be very soft after this.
- All ovens vary. These cookies are perfect for me around the 12 minute mark in my oven but all ovens are different and thermostats are rarely perfect. Check them at 10 minutes – they should look dry all over and the edges will be set but the cookie as a whole will still be soft.
- Baking time will also vary according to the size of your cookie. Smaller cookies will bake quicker than larger ones. Don’t overbake or you’ll end up with harder or crunchy cookies (unless that’s what you’re after).
- If adding the gold splatter, this can get messy so lay out sheets of paper around a large cleared workspace and wear gloves unless you want to end up with a gold finger.
- I recommend metal cookie cutters for the cleanest cuts.
Take your chocolate cookies in a new direction with one of these variations.
- Thin mints: Add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract to the dough and leave out the vanilla. Taste to see if it’s strong enough. Coat them in melted dark (50%) chocolate.
- Orange: Add a little orange extract to the dough.
- Coconut: You can add both coconut extract and / or shredded coconut to the dough.
- Nuts: Feel free to add finely chopped nuts to the dough for a bit of crunch.
- Crunchy cookies: If you prefer crunchy cookies to soft ones, bake them for 14-15 minutes.
Storing chocolate sugar cookies
Before baking, the chocolate sugar cookie dough can be frozen. It’s best if you roll it out, ready to use, then you can use it almost immediately from the freezer. Keep the rolled out dough in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
After baking, the cookies can be stored in an airtight container in a cool place (like the pantry) for a week or more or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you try this chocolate sugar cookies recipe, please take a moment to leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you, and it helps other readers too!
More recipes you’ll love
- Dark chocolate shortbread cookies
- Nutella chocolate sandwich cookies
- Chocolate peppermint cookies
- Chocolate pistachio cookies
- Dark double chocolate fudge cookies
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- 85 g dutch process cocoa (¾ cup / 3oz)
- 195 g plain (all purp) flour (1 ½ cups / 6.9oz)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 170 g unsalted butter, softened (¾ cup / 1 ½ sticks / 6oz)
- 1 cup white sugar (200g / 7oz)
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Royal icing from this recipe
- Red and pink food colouring
- Edible gold paint for the splatters notes
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- FOR THE CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES: In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa and baking powder.
- Add the egg and vanilla. Beat well, scraping down the bowl a couple of times until well mixed.
- Add flour mixture in 3 parts mixing on low until it just comes together as a dough.
- Shape the dough into a rectangle and cut into 3 equal pieces.
- Between two sheets of baking paper, roll the first piece of dough out to about 4-5mm thick (1/5th of an inch). Make sure to stop and release the baking paper from each side every few rolls so that it doesn't leave creases in your dough.
- Roll the other two pieces out the same way and sit them, still in their baking paper, on top of each other on a plate. Chill for 45 minutes until quite firm.
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced and line 2-3 large cookie sheets with baking paper.
- Use a roughly 3 inch cookie cutter of choice to cut shapes in the dough. Place them at least 1 inch apart on the prepared baking trays. You can re-roll the dough to get as many cookies as possible, but if you notice the dough getting very soft, chill again before continuing or you risk having misshapen cookies.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until they look dry and the edges are firm. Remove from oven. If the edges are rough on some of them, you can run a knife gently along the edge to tidy them up. You can let them cool on the trays or transfer them to a wire rack after 5 minutes.
- DECORTATING THE COOKIES: To decorate them with royal icing, use this recipe.
- This part can get messy so make sure you wash your hands often. When doing the gold, using gloves is helpful or you’ll have it under your nails by the end. Also the gold will splatter everywhere so make sure to line your workspace with baking paper.
- Dip the tops of the cookies into the icing, then use a light dragging action to pull them out allowing excess to drip off, before transferring to the wire rack, icing side up. Let them dry. If you notice icing running down the sides, use a toothpick to scrape it away before the icing sets.
- When the colours aren’t looking marbled anymore, just add another spoonful of white and drizzle over more red and pink. You can be very random about it -just do what you think looks nice.
- Let the marbled icing set for at least 20 minutes before adding the gold flecks. You do this by dipping a flat sided small paint brush into the gold paint then use your finger to drag back on the bristles while pointing it toward the cookie and it will splatter.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment and rating below. It helps me keep creating more new recipes.
- All ovens vary – always test for doneness 3-5 minutes before the recipe suggests
- For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
- The butter should be just softened enough that your finger will make a slight dent when you press on it – not so soft that your finger goes through or that it’s greasy.
- Edible gold paint is available from cake decorating shops. You could also use gold lustre dust mixed with a few drops of vodka or white rum – the alcohol will evaporate allowing the gold to dry onto the cookies.
- Calories shown does not include icing as you can choose what you’d like to ice them with.
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