These soft, pillowy chocolate sugar cookies from the Vanilla Bean Baking Book are the second recipe of Sarah’s I’ve posted here, following the resounding success of her orange-cranberry Bundt cake. I’ve now baked seven of the recipes from VBBB; the orange-cranberry Bundt, pumpkin pound cake, chocolate oat bars, coffee blondies, blackberry-white chocolate cake, olive oil sugar cookies with pistachios and lemon glaze, and these chocolate sugar cookies. My pants might not fit as well as I’d like them too, but it’s a small price to pay for all this deliciousness.
My entire office smelled like rich hot cocoa the day I brought these chocolate sugar cookies into work. They’re an intense, dark chocolate-y cookie, sure to please even the pickiest chocolate lover. Even though cocoa powder is the sole source of chocolate flavor, they don’t have any hint of a cocoa powder taste. Given the amount of butter in these and the impact of the cocoa powder, the flavors of each matter a lot for the final cookie. I didn’t spring for luxury butter, simply Land of Lakes or a butter of similar caliber will work here. (This is not a sponsored post (obviously), they just make a good butter…unlike Shoprite). Similarly, I used a random European cocoa powder, not Hershey’s.
Sarah’s chocolate sugar cookies are incredibly simple to make: whisk together your dry ingredients, cream your butter, then butter+sugar, add the egg+vanilla, then the flour-cocoa mix. In under 20 minutes, you’ll be the proud parent of a stiff chocolate sugar cookie dough. At this point, you decide whether you’d prefer larger cookies or moderately sized cookies. I made both, and I confess as much as I love giant cookies, the 3-ounce serving was a little much for me. However, several of the guys ate multiple large cookies in one sitting. So…you be the judge of you.
The dough balls can be formed, rolled in sugar and immediately baked or formed, refrigerated for 3 days or frozen in a single layer, and kept in an air-tight container in the freezer up to 3 months. If you want to speed up the sugar dusting process, instead of rolling each dough ball separately in a ball of sugar, add dough balls to a Ziploc, seal and shake. I found this to be especially effective since I did freeze my dough balls, it was simple to add sugar to my bag of dough and I didn’t have to dirty an extra dish. If you freeze your dough before baking, let it warm up towards room temperature as you preheat your oven.
From my testing, 13 minutes was about perfect for the 3-ounce cookies and 9 1/2 minutes was optimal for the 1.5-ounce cookies. Let the cookies cool 5-10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire-cooling rack to cool completely. Or eat them warm. Possibly with ice cream. They go really well with Baked’s peppermint ice cream.
- 1¾ cups (249 g) flour
- ½ cup (50 g) cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1¾ cups (347 g) sugar, plus 1 cup (200g) for rolling
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- With the oven rack placed in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients until well-combined.
- Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter on medium until smooth.
- Add the 1¾ cups sugar, continue beating on medium until fluffy and lighter in color, about 3 minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla, beat until incorporated.
- Add the mixture of dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined.
- Using a ⅓ cup measure, form the cookies into 3 ounce (85 g) balls of dough. For smaller cookies, use a small ice cream scoop or cut dough balls in half with a dough scraper. Place the remaining 1 cup sugar in a bowl and roll each dough ball in the sugar. (Alternatively, place the sugar in a gallon size Ziploc, place 8-10 dough balls in the bag, seal and shake to quickly coat the cookies).
- If baking 3-ounce cookies, place only 6 balls of dough on a sheet. Any more and your cookies will bake unevenly (some will spread out and some will puff up). Bake one sheet at a time for 11-14 minutes, until the edges are set and the centers begin to crackle.
- If baking 1.5-ounce cookies, place 12 balls of dough on a sheet and bake 9-10 minutes, until edges are set and centers begin to crackle.