I LOVE buttery, homemade, rolled sugar cookies.
I just rarely make them, because I can’t ever seem to carve out enough time to do the decorating necessary to make them presentable.
Fortunately, I also love chocolate. And anything made with rich, delicious, dutch processed cocoa is automatically notched up the prettiness scale purely because of the deep color of the cocoa powder.
So yay! This means that I can make thick, soft, decadent dark chocolate sugar cookies, without having to set aside hours to decorate them. A definite plus during this busy season. And, without having to worry about frosting, these cookies package and freeze beautifully too.
1 1/4 c unsalted butter, softened (2 1/2 sticks)
1/2 c dutch processed cocoa powder*
1 tsp espresso powder
1 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
*There are several high-end versions of dutch processed cocoa that you can find online and in specialty stores, but I have found that Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder is the easiest to come by, as it is carried in most stores. And though I’m sure Callebaut is amazing, with the amount of cocoa powder I go through I just can’t justify spending so much. And of course, you can use regular unsweetened cocoa powder; the color just wont be quite as dark, and the flavor wont be quite as rich.
In a medium saucepan, melt 4 Tbs butter over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and espresso powder and stir until a smooth paste is formed. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine remaining butter, sugar, and salt, and mix with the paddle attachment until combined. Add the cooled cocoa mixture and beat on high-speed until light and fluffy (about a minute), making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
With the mixer on medium speed add in egg yolks and vanilla, and mix until combined. Scrape sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low, and add the flour approx. a half cup at a time. After each addition of flour, yep…scrape the bowl. You just want to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated so the texture and color of the dough is very smooth and cohesive. Once all the flour has been added, continue mixing a few more seconds until the dough forms a ball.
Turn dough out onto your counter or a pastry mat, and divide into thirds. Form each third in to a 4-inch disk and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until the dough is firm, approx. 40-60 minutes.
When the dough is chilled, preheat oven to 375, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Unwrap one disk and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll out to an even 1/4″ thickness. If dough becomes too sticky to work with, return to the fridge and chill for a few more minutes. Peel the parchment from the top of the dough and begin cutting your desired shapes with a cookie cutter. Collect all the dough scraps and rechill. Place cut shapes on the prepared pan, leaving at least an inch between cookies. Sprinkle with turbinado or sparkling sugar if desired.
Bake for 8-10 minutes for softer cookies, or 10-12 minutes for crisper cookies. Cool on pan for 2-3 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
These may very well be one of my favorite types of cookies. Unadorned, yet incredibly tasty; soft yet delightfully dense; rich, but amazingly not-too-sweet. Fabulous.
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated