These crisp-chewy cookies are a chocolatey alternative to traditional roll-and-cut sugar cookies, and great for decorating. If you prefer slightly thinner, crisper cookies, roll the dough 1/8-inch thick, and bake the cookies for about 8 minutes. .
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted
Royal Icing, recipe follows
Your favorite sprinkles and nonpareils, for decorating
Two 1-pound boxes confectioners’ sugar (about 7 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons meringue powder
Food coloring , such as gel coloring, if desired
- 1. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
- 2. Put the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer) and beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl and paddle as needed, about 4 minutes more. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat until smooth.
- 3. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and add the flour mixture in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl and paddle as needed. Mix until incorporated.
- 4. Divide the dough in half and shape into two flattened disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. Remove the dough from the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before rolling, to soften.
- 5. Position oven racks to the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Now flour parchment for rolling: Dust a piece of parchment with flour, place a disk of dough on it, dust the disk with flour, then cover it with a second piece of parchment. Roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes with 11/2- to 2-inch cookie cutters. Gather up the scraps, re-roll and cut out. (Chill the scraps if the dough becomes too soft.) Roll and cut out the remaining disk of dough. Working in batches, arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- 6. Bake the cookies until the tops look dry and no indentation is left when pressed with your finger, 10 to 12 minutes. 7. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then use a metal spatula to transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
- 8. Decorate with royal icing as desired. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Combine the confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder and 3/4 cup water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer). Mix on medium-low speed until pure white and stiff enough to form peaks.
- Add up to 1 tablespoon food coloring if using and mix with a rubber spatula until the color is uniform. Store at room temperature, covered, with plastic wrap on the surface for up to 2 days. Re-whip until smooth before using.
Gel colorings work best with royal icing because they do not thin out the icing as liquid colorings do.