Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Chocolate sugar cookies are a unique take on the classic cookie. They’re soft, delicious, and can be decorated to suit any holiday!
Chocolate sugar cookies aren’t your typical sugar cookies, but they’re just as delicious! So delicious that I even included this recipe in my cookie cookbook back in 2020.
These cookies are chewy around the edges, yet soft in the center. Cocoa powder also infuses the cookie dough with chocolate-y flavor without altering the overall texture.
This chocolate sugar cookie base pairs well with just about any icing or frosting, be it plain or flavored. Change up the sprinkles on top to suit any occasion or holiday, and prepare to see your plate of cookies disappear!
The ingredients list for this recipe is almost identical to traditional sugar cookies, but with the addition of cocoa powder. I won’t go into detail about every ingredient that’s needed, but I’ll quickly review the main ones.
- All-Purpose Flour: It’s important to spoon and level your flour or you will end up with dry cookie dough.
- Cocoa Powder: I used natural unsweetened cocoa powder, but it would be fine to use Dutch-processed as well. I explain more about the difference between both kinds of cocoa powder in this post. Nestle, Hershey’s, or even Rodelle are great options when it comes to cocoa powder!
- Butter: I recommend using unsalted butter to prevent your sugar cookies from being too salty. If you only have salted butter on hand, just omit the salt from the recipe.
- Granulated Sugar: This wouldn’t be a sugar cookie recipe without sugar! I used 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of sugar in this recipe, which I found to be the perfect amount to offset the bitter cocoa powder.
- Icing: You can use any icing or frosting you like on these cookies, but my top choices are either sugar cooking icing or royal icing. However, chocolate frosting, strawberry frosting, or peanut butter frosting would all work as well!
How To Make Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Make The Cookie Dough
- Beat the softened butter and sugar until well combined. You may use either a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer to do this.
- Add the egg and vanilla, then mix to combine.
- Sift your flour and cocoa powder together to remove any lumps, then whisk in the baking powder and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Once the cookie dough comes together, divide it in half. Place one half of the dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough, then roll it out until it’s 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with the remaining half of cookie dough.
- Refrigerate both sheets of cookie dough (still rolled out between the pieces of parchment paper) for 1 hour. This will give the butter time to firm back up and ensure that your cookies hold their shape.
Cut Out Shapes & Bake
- Once the dough has had time to chill, remove it from the fridge and cut into your desired shapes.
- Place the cut-out chocolate sugar cookies onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Once all of the dough has been used, bake the cookies at 350ºF just until the tops are set.
- Let the cookies cool completely before decorating. I prefer using sugar cooking icing or royal icing to decorate the cookies, but you may use any frosting or icing that you like.
Storage & Freezing Instructions
You can store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. They stay soft for days, so they’re perfect for prepping ahead of a holiday gathering or cookie exchange.
You can also freeze the cookies for up to three months. If you use royal icing or sugar cookie icing as I recommended, you can freeze the cookies after the icing has hardened.
If you use regular buttercream frosting, you can still freeze the cookies after being frosted but you’ll want to flash freeze them for an hour on a baking sheet to harden the frosting before sealing them in a zip-top bag. If you skip this step, the cookies will all stick together.
- Make sure your butter is softened and your egg is at room temperature before getting started. This will ensure that the cookie dough mixes together properly! If you need to bring your egg to room temperature quickly, place it in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.
- Don’t skip chilling the cookie dough or your cookies won’t hold their shape very well. If needed, you can make the cookie dough the day before and refrigerate it overnight.
- If using smaller cookie cutters, you will need to reduce the baking time slightly. For larger cookie cutters, make sure to increase the baking time.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened (230 grams; 2 sticks)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (225 grams)
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour spooned and leveled (280 grams)
- ½ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (45 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 batch sugar cookie icing or royal icing
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar together for 1 to 2 minutes or until well combined.
- Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until fully combined, making sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder together, then whisk in the baking powder and salt until well combined.
- Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Divide the dough in half. Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper, add half of the dough, top with another piece of parchment paper, and roll the dough to ¼-inch thick between the pieces of parchment paper. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Leaving the dough between the parchment paper, place them on a baking sheet, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two to three large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
- Remove one sheet of the cookie dough from the refrigerator and peel off the top layer of parchment paper. Using 2.5-inch to 3-inch cookie cutters, cut the cookie dough into shapes and place them onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave a little room between each one.
- Re-roll any scrap pieces of dough between the two pieces of parchment paper and continue cutting out shapes. Repeat with the other sheet of chilled cookie dough.
- Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until the tops of the cookies are set. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Top with your favorite sugar cookie icing or royal icing. Allow the icing to dry completely before serving.