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We took our best sugar cookie recipe and added chocolate! These chocolate cut out sugar cookies hold their shape perfectly. Decorate for any holiday!
This past Christmas season you all LOVED our cut out cookie recipe. That recipe was viewed a quarter of a million times just during the holiday season. It gets rave reviews!
We decided to take those popular sugar cookies and turn them into a chocolate sugar cookie. A cookie that will keep its shape beautifully, just like the other cookies you know and love. If you’re looking for a different type of chocolate sugar cookies, try our chocolate chip cut out cookies.
If you have a recipe with no cocoa powder and want to make a chocolate version of that same thing, it can get tricky. Cocoa powder can absorb more liquid than traditional flour, which can leave you with a dry cookie if you aren’t careful.
When developing recipe, you just have to test, test, test. Sometimes over and over again. We found that 3 ¼ cups of all purpose flour and 2/3 cup cocoa powder gave us the perfect texture. A cookie that was still soft but had great flavor.
It can be tricky to know exactly what type of cocoa powder to buy. Dutch process cocoa powder tends to be darker than natural processed cocoa powder. It leaves your cookies darker, but also generally has a lower starch content which means your cookies and other baked goods will be fudgier. Which is a good thing!
We tested this recipe with The Cocoa Trader black cocoa powder, Hershey natural processed cocoa powder and a mixture of the two.
The winner? We loved mixing the black and natural cocoa powder together. They had a great chocolate flavor plus a beautiful dark chocolate appearance.
The lighter cookies in the picture are natural processed cocoa powder, the darker cookies are a mixture of black (dutch processed) and natural cocoa powder.
Although these cookies only have a a few ingredients and are easy to make, they do take time to chill the dough, roll out and cut out. You’ll want to plan ahead if you want to make these so you have enough time to give them.
It is best to use a stand mixer to make this dough. With cut out cookies, you want to make sure the butter and sugar are completely creamed. If there are clumps of butter, the cookies will spread. The stand mixer allows you to easily do this!
The most important step in making cut out cookies is to refrigerate the dough. We do this twice: once before we roll the dough and once after we cut out the cookies. If you want your cookies to hold shape, refrigerate the dough!
If you only want to do one refrigeration, do it after you roll out and cut out the cookie dough. Refrigerate for at least an hour after you have the shapes.
It’s just a matter of preference. Find out which works best for you!
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 3/8″ thick. Use cookie cutters and cut as many shapes as possible, re-rolling the dough scraps and cutting again.
Try to roll out your dough as evenly as possible. This will help your cookies bake evenly.
Note: The more you reroll your dough, the more little bits of flour you’ll add to the dough, so we try to do this as little as possible so that our cookies aren’t dry.
There are a few things you can do to prevent your cookie dough from sticking:
As we mentioned above, we roll out sugar cookie dough to about 3/8″ thick. For thicker, soft cookies, roll up to 1/4″ thick. If you are looking for crisper cookies, roll them thinner. Just make sure you roll them evenly so they bake evenly.
We often get asked, “Why do my cut out cookies spread?”. For many cut out cookies, the baking soda and/or baking powder can make your cookies spread. This cookie recipe doesn’t have those leavening agents. But some are still having problems.This can happen for several reasons. We’d love to be in the kitchen with you to help you troubleshoot, but since we can’t be, consider these:
Sugar cookies should be completely cool before you frost them. If they aren’t, the frosting will not be smooth because the cookie will shift and tighten as it cools. The frosting will also run off a warm cookie!
Allow the cookies to cool for at least 2 hours. But they should be totally cooled before frosting.
Sugar cookies keep really well! Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week. If you are going to have them longer than that, freeze them.
Yes! Sugar cookies freeze well. Because they take awhile to make, we often make the cookies before we want to decorate them. Layer them in an airtight container with parchment paper between the layers. Cover and freeze for up to 2 months.
You can freeze cookies either way. If you are using frosting that hardens to the touch (royal icing), then you can freeze the cookies by stacking with parchment paper between layers. If the frosting is softer, you might find the frosting sticking when you defrost the cookies.
Remove the cookies from the freezer. Allow them to sit at room temperature (or in the refrigerator) until they are completely defrosted. This will help prevent the cookies from drying out, and it will also help condensation from forming inside the container which could lead to soggy cookies or the frosting getting ruined.