Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Sugar Cookies are a rich and chocolatey take on a classic holiday dessert made with unsweetened cocoa powder and espresso powder. 

This chocolatey take on Classic Sugar Cookies is a great addition to your Holiday Baking. It’s a simple, quick recipe that’s kid-friendly and fun to decorate.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies stacked on cooling rack

When it comes to holiday baking, Sugar Cookies are a definite staple. This Cookie Recipe makes perfectly soft, chewy sugar cookies, but changes them up by adding chocolate. The chocolate gives the cookies a new, richer flavor while still keeping the classic Sugar Cookie texture.

Along with the cocoa powder, there’s espresso powder mixed into the dough. The coffee brings out the best notes in the chocolate flavor and makes them even more delicious. It also makes them perfect not just for dessert, but as a sweet treat to enjoy along with a morning (or afternoon!) cup of coffee.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies make great edible gifts, treats for a holiday party, or cookies to leave out for Santa. They’re perfect to bake around the holidays or in advance. You can make Chocolate Sugar Cookies months ahead of time and store them in the freezer so they’re ready for Christmas. This is an easy way to take some stress out of the holiday season. Include this Chocolate Sugar Cookie recipe in your next cookie exchange or Christmas Cookie Box for a fun twist on a classic favorite cookie.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies collage

How to Make Chocolate Sugar Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add in the egg, vanilla extract, and espresso powder until smooth.
  • Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture on the lowest speed setting until just combined.
  • Add a heaping tablespoon of rolled cookie dough per cookie to the sheet, 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for 8 minutes for soft cookies or 10 minutes for crunchy cookies.
  • Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies dough on baking sheet before baking

More Classic Holiday Cookies

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I soften butter for baking?

It’s absolutely necessary to soften the butter before starting the recipe. Let the butter sit out for a few hours in advance. Don’t put it in the microwave. This will melt parts of the butter without softening it all the way through.

Why did my cookies turn out tough?

When you combine the butter and sugar, mix them long enough that the combination becomes fluffy. This should only take about 2 minutes. Be careful not to overmix the cookie dough when you add in the dry ingredients.

How do I make chewy cookies?

Adjust the baking time depending on if you want the Chocolate Sugar Cookies to be more crunchy or chewy. Leave them in for 10 minutes for crunchy cookies or 8 minutes for soft cookies. If you take the cookies out at 8 minutes they’ll look underdone, but after sitting for 5 minutes on the baking sheet they’ll be perfectly chewy.

How do I keep cookies fresh for gifting?

When giving cookies as a gift, you want to bake them as fresh as possible before wrapping and gifting (see the tips below on preparing the dough in advance). Make sure they are cooled completely, and package them in tissue paper to keep them from cracking. If your gift box or tin is not air tight, wrap the entire box in a clear plastic bag and tie with a decorative ribbon. Then your gift wrap also serves to help keep the cookies fresh!

Chocolate Sugar Cookies on cooling rack

Decorations and Toppings for Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Just like with regular sugar cookies you can make a fun activity out of frosting and decorating these chocolate cookies. It’s a great way to keep your kids busy with something fun over winter break. Here are some of our favorite ways to top Chocolate Sugar Cookies.

  • Frosting: For the frosting, you can either use Traditional Sugar Cookie Frosting, Buttercream, or go for double chocolate with a creamy Chocolate Frosting. If you use sugar cookie or buttercream frosting you can divide it into a few small bowls and put different food colorings in each.
  • Decorations: The obvious way to decorate sugar cookies is with a variety of festive sprinkles. It’s always nice to put out a few different varieties for your kids to choose from. You can also use crushed candy canes, red hots, mini marshmallows, and mini M&Ms.

Can I make Chocolate Sugar Cookies Ahead of Time?

Absolutely! If you want to store baked cookies in advance, simply freeze them sealed in an airtight container with pieces of parchment paper separating layers. Then just defrost at room temperature before serving. You can also store the unbaked cookie dough in the refrigerator or freezer and bake them fresh when you are ready to prepare gifts or serve to your holiday guests. To store unbaked cookie dough, roll the dough balls and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 day before baking. Alternatively, place dough balls in the freezer for 1 hour to harden before transferring to an airtight container and freezing for up to 3 months. 

Chocolate Sugar Cookies close up

Variations on Chocolate Sugar Cookies

  • Cocoa powder: If you want a more mild chocolate taste in these Sugar Cookies use Dutch-processed cocoa powder.
  • Chocolate Chips: To take the chocolate to the next level, add in some melty chocolate chips. Semi-sweet, dark, milk, or white chocolate would all taste amazing.
  • Mix-ins: For some delicious mix-ins try adding in some nuts like pistachios, pecans, walnuts, or almonds. You could also add dried fruit like cranberries or cherries. Some other options are crushed peppermint candies, sprinkles, mini marshmallows, or crushed toffee.
  • Cookie Sandwiches: Use two Chocolate Sugar Cookies to make delicious Ice Cream Sandwiches with delicious Vanilla Ice Cream in the center. Roll the edges in mini chocolate chips or M&Ms for an extra chocolatey crunch. 
  • Flavor Extracts: In addition to the vanilla extract, try a small amount of peppermint extract, butterscotch extract, almond extract, or raspberry extract for yummy flavor combinations that taste great with the bold chocolate flavor of these cookies.

More Delicious Chocolate Cookie Recipes

How to Store Chocolate Sugar Cookies

  • Serve: After baking Chocolate Sugar Cookies, you can keep them at room temperature for 3-4 days. Let them cool then put them in a zip lock bag or other airtight container in the pantry. 
  • Store: To keep the Sugar Cookies in the fridge, let them cool to room temperature then put them in an airtight container. They’ll stay good for 5-7 days. 
  • Freeze: Chocolate Sugar Cookies can also stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months. For best results put them in a zip lock bag and separate the layers of cookies with parchment paper so they don’t freeze together. 
Chocolate Sugar Cookies stacked

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Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Sugar Cookies are a rich and chocolatey take on a classic holiday dessert made with unsweetened cocoa powder and espresso powder.
Yield 24 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add in the egg, vanilla extract, and espresso powder until smooth.
  • Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture on the lowest speed setting until just combined.
  • Add a heaping tablespoon of rolled cookie dough per cookie to the sheet, 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for 8 minutes for soft cookies or 10 minutes for crunchy cookies.
  • Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.

Nutrition

Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 248IU | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Chocolate Sugar Cookies collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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