Transform your sugar cookie experience with these chocolate sugar cookies – a rich and indulgent twist on the classic. Perfect for cut-outs, these cookies boast an incredible chocolate flavor, making them a delightful treat for any occasion. Whether you’re a chocolate lover or a sugar cookie aficionado, this recipe will offer the best of both worlds!

There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about baking sugar cookies, and adding a chocolatey twist only makes the experience more delightful. As a dessert enthusiast, I find the versatility and rich flavor of these chocolate sugar cookies truly exciting. They’re perfect for holiday baking, special occasions, or just because you need a chocolate fix!

Chocolate sugar cookies shaped like jack-o-lanterns

The chemistry in chocolate sugar cookies

The chemistry in baking these cookies is all about balance and precision. The creaming of sugar and butter introduces air into the dough, contributing to a light texture. Eggs bind the ingredients and add moisture, while vanilla enhances the chocolate flavor. The cocoa powder not only imparts a rich chocolate taste but also affects the texture, making the cookies slightly denser than their vanilla counterparts. The key is not not over mix the dough to maintain a tender crumb.

How to cream your butter & sugar

First, combine your butter & sugar in a standing mixer. Then, turn the mixer on high for 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl every 30 seconds. When the mixture is creamed it will be lighter in color and texture. Here is a visual example of how the ingredients look when just combined vs. creamed:

Butter and sugar just combined
Butter and sugar creamed

Can you use melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder in cookies?

Yes, melted chocolate is a great way to infuse chocolate flavor into cookies. It gives a rich taste without altering the dough’s consistency like cocoa powder does.

How do you ensure chocolate sugar cookies don’t turn out dry?

To prevent dryness, avoid over mixing the dough and over baking the cookies. Keep an eye on them in the oven and remove them while they still look a bit soft – they’ll firm up as they cool. If you are watching closely, you will see visual cues that your cookies are done. As soon as your cookie changes from shiny to slightly dull and the edges look set, they are done! Remove immediately and let sit on the pan for 5-10 minutes to firm up before removing.

What is the best way to store chocolate sugar cookies?

Store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll stay fresh for up to a week. You can also freeze your cookies for up to 1 month. Just make sure to let them completely thaw out before eating.

Can you freeze chocolate sugar cookie dough?

Absolutely! Freeze the dough, rolled into a log or as pre-cut shapes. When ready to bake, you can bake them straight from the freezer, although, you may need to add a minute or two to the baking time. You can freeze the dough for up to 3 months.

Rolling out chocolate sugar cookie dough

What is in a chocolate sugar cookie?

Granulated Sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter. It helps add moisture to your treat and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Unsalted Butter

It is always important to use unsalted butter when baking. If you use salted butter, you have no way of knowing how much salt you are adding to your dough or batter and it will result in an overly salted treat.

Butter adds fats to your dough or batter which helps with moistness, flavor and texture. Butter melts at body temperature, which creates a ‘melt in your mouth’ sensation.

When baking with butter the temperature is important. If the butter is too warm your treat will melt down too fast and overspread in the oven, leaving you with a greasy, flat mess. If your butter is too cold it will have the opposite problem and not melt down enough, leaving your treat too thick.

Eggs

Adds both a protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because, when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the egg white mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking, which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick treats. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters and doughs together and help them from collapsing. Unless otherwise specified, always use large eggs.

Vanilla Extract

When using pure vanilla extract, as opposed to imitation flavoring, it will add the deep rich flavor that everybody wants in a treat.

All-purpose Flour

Builds structure as it absorbs liquids and expands. All-purpose flour falls in the middle of bread flour (high in gluten) and cake flour (low in gluten). It’s exactly what it is named, all-purpose, the most universal flour that can be used in most baked goods.

Cocoa Powder

Provides a rich, sweet chocolate flavor. Creates a dark brown color in your treat. Absorbs water in your batter or dough at the same rate as flour. That means, if you add too much, you could end up with a dried, crumbly finished product.

Fine Sea Salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt, it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your treat, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

Cutting out chocolate sugar cookie dough to look like a jack-o-lantern

Can you make these in advance?

You can make the dough up to 3 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Letting it rest in the fridge longer also enhances the flavor as the ingredients meld together over time.

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Chocolate Sugar Cookie

Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Servings: 24 cookies
A rich twist on sugar cookies, make them chocolate! Still a fun cut out cookie that can be shaped but with an amazing, rich, chocolate flavor.

Ingredients 

  • 2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  • In a standing mixer, add sugar & butter, stir until combined. Turn mixer on high and whip for 2-3 minutes until lighter in color & texture.
  • Add eggs & vanilla, stir until just combined
  • In a separate bowl add flour, cocoa powder & salt
  • Turn the standing mixer on low and slowly pour the dry ingredients on top of the wet sugar mixture
  • Mix until the dough comes together and then stop, be sure to not over mix
  • Roll the dough out between parchment paper & plastic wrap, then while stilled covered with plastic wrap, chill in the fridge for 1 -3 hours
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cut desired shapes out of the dough and place on a light metal cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookie no longer looks shiny
  • Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring off of the pan
  • Eat as is or frost with cream cheese or buttercream frosting

Nutrition

Calories: 275kcal Carbohydrates: 32g Protein: 3g Fat: 17g Saturated Fat: 10g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 54mg Sodium: 106mg Potassium: 109mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 17g Vitamin A: 493IU Calcium: 16mg Iron: 2mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.