Simply Perfect Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Sugar Cookies | Baking a Moment

Simply Perfect Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Simply the Perfect Sugar Cookie!  A Soft & Tender Center, Crisp Edges, No Spreading, and CHOCOLATERoll Out, Cut Shapes, and Decorate for happy Holiday memories.

How was your Thanksgiving?

Mine was great!  I worked my heiny off, you guys.  I mean, wow.  Like, 3 straight days on my feet.  One recipe after another, nonstop.  I was a machine!  Everything was made from scratch, right down to the French-fried onions on the green bean casserole.  It was awesome, and there was TONS of food.  I had a great time in the kitchen with my mom and brother-in-law, and it was great to see everyone, especially my brand-new baby niece!

We got home on Friday evening, just in time to have a day and a half with the other side of my family.  So nice.  And Sunday I was all over town looking for the Christmas tree, and then setting it up and decorating it.  I’m so happy we are now officially in the Christmas season!

For a lot of reasons, but mostly because COOKIES.

Cookies are my favorite thing ever to bake, and I wish I posted more cookie recipes than I have been.  I’m going to try to make that up to you guys over the next few weeks.  Starting with these:

Chocolate Sugar Cookies | Baking a Moment

What do you call this kind of cookie?  Is it a sugar cookie?  A butter cookie?  A roll out cookie?  A cut out cookie?  A decorated cookie?  I wasn’t quite sure what to call it but hopefully you get the idea.

Last year at this time I got waaaaaaay into these.  I’m sure you can imagine that it was a perfect outlet for my complete compulsion/neurosis/obsession with pretty food.  They are so much fun, I loved coming up with unique designs and perfecting my decorating skills.  You can waste all sorts of time playing with icing and toothpicks and sugars and sprinkles.  But today I’m keeping it simple and sharing my favorite recipe for the cookie part.

And this is more than just a recipe, friends.  While in the throes of my cookie obsession, I did a lot of research and experimentation with different techniques, because I’m sure you can imagine, I wanted the most perfect result.  So here’s everything I learned.  There’s no one I’d rather share it with than you ;)

How to Make Chocolate Sugar Cookies | Baking a Moment

The flavor of the cookie is very chocolatey.  I am not one to shy away from bold chocolate flavor.  If you’ve read my Simply Perfect Chocolate Cupcake post, or my Simply Perfect Brownie post, then you already know this about me.  This cookie has a deep, dark, chocolate flavor from all the cocoa (almost like an Oreo).  It’s a little less sweet.  I do enjoy eating this cookie plain, but I think it’s even more important not to overdo the sugar when you’re dealing with a cookie that’s going to be iced and/or sprinkled with sugar.  It’s all about balance, yo.  Also, the texture of the cookie is tender, yet sturdy.  They come out of the oven with a little softness in the center, and a little more crunch around the edges.  After a few days, they tend to lose the soft quality, so if you prefer a crunchy cookie, you will like that.  They make a great gift, because of how sturdy they are.  You can pack them up and ship them, and rest assured that they will arrive in one piece.

How to Make Chocolate Sugar Cookies | Baking a Moment

The dough is great to work with.  It holds together so nicely, so you don’t have crumbly crumbs all over your kitchen floor.  You don’t need to sprinkle your work surface with flour (hallelujah!).  Not only does this cut down on the cleanup, but it allows you to re-roll the scraps without them getting tough.  And they bake up so beautifully, without spreading, AT ALL.  This is the whole key, people.  The edges are PERFECT.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies | Baking a Moment

Simply Perfect Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Simply Perfect Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Simply the Perfect Sugar Cookie! A Soft & Tender Center, Crisp Edges, No Spreading, and CHOCOLATE! Roll Out, Cut Shapes, and Decorate for happy Holiday memories.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon oil (light/neutral flavor such as canola, grapeseed, or light olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour


  1. Cream the butter, oil, sugar, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, just until the mixture is smooth. Do not over beat, as this will incorporate air into the dough, which may lead to spreading.
  2. Add the egg and mix just until incorporated.
  3. Add the cornstarch, cocoa powder and flour. If you will be rolling/cutting the cookies right away, you may need a little more flour. The dough becomes drier as it sits, so if you are planning to chill and roll/cut later, be sure to use less flour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Roll the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch, between two sheets of parchment paper. Rolling pin rings will help you to achieve an even thickness.
  6. Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets for 9 to 12 minutes, depending upon the size of the cookie. The cookie should look dry on the surface, and be firm around the edges and soft in the middle.
  7. Cool completely before decorating.


Chocolate Sugar Cookies | Baking a Moment

You may notice that this recipe looks a little different from a lot of other cookie recipes out there.  Without getting too long-winded, here’s a quick rundown of why I do what I do:

  • Cold butter: Chilling the dough helps prevent spreading.  Using cold butter and working quickly eliminates the added step of chilling.  Cutting it in small cubes helps it to incorporate more easily.
  • Oil: Oil keeps the cookies moist/soft.  If you prefer a crunchier cookie, you can replace the oil with an additional 1/4 cup of unsalted butter.
  • Mix on low speed for the minimum time required to incorporate the ingredients.  Make sure the mixture is smooth (no lumps of butter), but don’t cream until fluffy.  Whipping in a lot of air will contribute to spreading.
  • Leave out the leavening: there is no need for baking powder and/or baking soda.  Leaveners make baked goods rise, puff, and spread.  Omitting the leavening allows the edges to remain neat and clean, and the cookie lays flatter.  The texture is still tender because of the ratio of fats to sugar and flour, but the cookie is sturdier.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch lends tenderness and a softer texture, and helps the cookies to hold their shape during baking.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Gives a deep, chocolatey flavor.  Use the best quality you can get your hands on.  I prefer natural cocoa powder to an alkalized/Dutch process, such as Hershey’s Special Dark.  This brand will yield a darker color, but a less intense chocolate flavor.
  • Flour quantity may vary.  The longer the dough sits, the more it will dry out, so use more flour if you’re rolling/cutting right away; less if you plan to keep the dough in the fridge for a while before baking.  I usually roll and cut right away, so I put in a cup and a half to start, then add more by the tablespoon until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Rolling the dough between two layers of parchment is cleaner and prevents toughness.  Bench flour is not necessary with this method, and scraps can be re-rolled and utilized.
  • Baking at a higher temperature “sets” the edges, allowing the cookie to hold it’s shape better.

And just a few words about bake times and yield:

  • Baking times will vary based upon the size and thickness of your cookies.  For this post, I rolled the dough to a thickness of 1/4-inch (using rolling pin rings) and cut 2-inch diameter cookies.  They baked for 9 minutes.  Larger or thicker cookies may require a longer bake time.  The cookies are done when the tops take on a dry appearance, and the edges are firm.  The centers may still be slightly soft.
  • Yield will vary based upon the size of your cookies.  For this post, I rolled the dough to a thickness of 1/4-inch (using rolling pin rings) and  cut 2-inch diameter fluted circles, and the batch yielded 46 cookies.

If you want to read more about how to make the most perfect roll out, cut out, butter/sugar cookies for decorating, check out this post I wrote last year.  Also there’s a really great vanilla cookie recipe there.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies | Baking a Moment

I hope you enjoy making these cookies with your loved ones!  I was intimidated by roll out/cut out/butter/sugar/decorated cookies, for the longest time, until I figured out this method for making it all much more manageable.

PS- If you are looking to stock your recipe box with some really stellar basic recipes, you came to the right place! I’ve been baking for, ahem, 20-some odd years, cough-cough, so I’ve played with lots of recipes. Check out these other recipes from my “Simply Perfect” series:

Simply Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies
Simply Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes
Simply Perfect Vanilla Buttercream
Simply Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes
Simply Perfect Chocolate Buttercream
Simply Perfect Pizza Dough
Simply Perfect Brownies from Scratch
Simply Perfect Pie Crust
Simply Perfect Apple Pie

Update:  This recipe has been getting mixed reviews from my readers.  I apologize if you’ve made this recipe and been less than thrilled with the result. 

I just want to reiterate- these cookies are LESS SWEET.  This is intentional, to balance the sugariness from royal icing. 

Also, please note that the texture is NOT soft and chewy!  As stated in the head notes, they are more tender in the middle and crunchier around the edges.  The longer they hang around, the less soft they become.  They are a STURDY cookie, suitable for decorating and giving as a gift or favor. 

Finally, please follow the instructions and start with the minimum amount of flour.  You can always add more, if needed, but it’s more difficult to moisten up a too-dry dough. 

*This post was featured on the Moonlight & Mason Jars Link Party*

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About Allie {Baking A Moment}

Hi! I'm Allie, and when I find myself with a few free moments, I head straight for my kitchen! I love to bake, and I especially love pastry and desserts.

You can also follow me via: RSS | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | G+ | BlogLovin'


  1. I made your recipe for these cookies when you featured it on yingmomyangmom, and they were superb! I made star shapes for my sons pre-k class, then iced them. I also added a few drops of peppermint oil to the batter for that extra Christmassy kick. Awesome recipe, thanks B.O.P.! Xoxo

  2. Simply gorgeous, simply superb my friend. I have to try it this holiday season. I love baking sugar cookies but always get stuck with dry bad batches. So glad you shared this with us. And your pictures are stunning as always.
    Zainab @ Blahnik Baker recently posted…Cranberry Ribbon Eggnog Bundt Cake {PAM + Le Creuset Giveaway}My Profile

  3. I officially love your Simply Perfect series, because everything is so… perfect! These are no exception. I typically hate roll out cookies (the work! the mess!) but I think I am going to give these a try if I have time. They look doable and sound utterly delicious – you had me at “deep, dark chocolate flavor”.
    Nora (Buttercream Fanatic) recently posted…Brown Butter Hazelnut Double Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

    • Thanks, Nora! I think you will have fun making these, they are about as easy as cut-out cookies get! I like to get through the baking part as quickly and painlessly as I can, so I can get on to the fun part~ DECORATING! :D :D :D

  4. I’m so glad to hear you had a great Thanksgiving Allie :) These sugar cookies look so gorgeous and super tasty! I love how perfect and pretty they came out :) Pinning – thanks so much for sharing this great recipe and all these wonderful tips :)

  5. Whew, what a tiring yet incredible Thanksgiving you had, Allie! It sounds wonderful. All I want to do during the holidays is spend time with friends and family, cook/bake and most importantly, EAT ;) Girl, I love Christmas so much, I can’t even. And I totally agree with you – the best part is the plethora of cookies coming our way. I’m definitely going to try these cookies – they look PERFECT. I love your description of them: not too sweet and super chocolatey. I’ll bake them with a mug of hot chocolate nearby and Christmas songs blasting on the stereo.
    Nancy @ gottagetbaked recently posted…Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars and What Am I Going To Do With My LifeMy Profile

  6. Can’t wait to try these! I’m always looking for a new chocolate roll-out recipe!
    Gorgeous photos too!
    lizy b recently posted…Elf on the Shelf Cookies!My Profile

  7. Allie!
    I’ve been meaning to email you to see how your holidays went! Sounds like you had a fabulous time and wow, on your feet for 3 days?! Awesome. I cheated and bought store bought pies because I was making everything else. Never again. Pies weren’t great. Blah.
    OK, oh my gawd, these cookies are perfection. Pinned and totally going to bake these. . like I was telling Nancy, my “must bake ASAP” list is ever growing. . I’m going to gain like 10 lbs. . but I’m with you. . I love baking over the holidays. . with Christmas music on in the kitchen! :) happy holidays!
    Alice // Hip Foodie Mom recently posted…Clean Up After The Holidays with OXO! #CleanUpThanksgivingMy Profile

  8. I love this recipe. I’m not a big fan of sugar cookies, but when they are chocolate then I can be interested. I love that these are extra chocolaty (I might try special dark cocoa powder). I bet they would make great sandwich cookies too.
    Joybee recently posted…12 Bloggy Days of Christmas: Day 3 – Honeyed Avocado Ice Cream from Anyonita NibblesMy Profile

  9. These beauties look amazing!!! I’m totally in a cookie-make-mood (just made my first batch on sunday :) and I will definitely add this recipe to my to-do-cookie-list! :) Have an amazing day dear Allie!
    xox Amy
    Amy @ swiss miss in the kitchen recently posted…Linzer CookiesMy Profile

  10. These look delicious Allie! I am making these for sure to enjoy over the holidays!
    Liz recently posted…Icebox CookiesMy Profile

  11. Allie Allie Allie!!!!!!! I am going crazyyyyy over these cookies!!!! Seriously, these look S-C-R-U-M-P-T-I-O-U-S!!!!!!!! I love how this is simple but still has this elegance to it that just makes it soooo perfect for the Holidays and plus this makes for such an excellent gifting idea! Absolutely love the tips that you’ve provided in the bottom half of the post! *-* *-* *-* <3 ^.^
    Samina | The Cupcake Confession recently posted…Christmas Special #1: Zig-Zag Mince RollsMy Profile

  12. I’ve been looking for the perfect sugar cookie recipe for months and I think I’ve got the perfect one one! Seriously, these look so perfect! Lovely edges, I adore that they don’t spread, mine always do :—(
    Can’t wait to try these this season! The more cookies, the merrier ;D
    Consuelo @ Honey & Figs recently posted…Starbucks Copycat Double Chocolate MuffinsMy Profile

  13. These look indeed like perfect cookies !
    I bet they taste absolutely delicious
    The Sketched Chef recently posted…Simple Fried Onion RingsMy Profile

  14. Your Thanksgiving sounds wonderful!

    And I LOOOVE these cookies! So pretty and chocolatey!
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) recently posted…FINALLY!My Profile

  15. they do look absolutely perfect
    Heather @ French Press recently posted…Chocolate Red Wine Loaf cakeMy Profile

  16. Wow! I have to try these for Christmas! Hope to convince Santa to be more generous! :) :)
    Ana-Maria recently posted…Rosemary bean soup and thoughts for autumn daysMy Profile

  17. These cookies are gorgeous ! I just recently decided I wanted to learn how to make pretty cookies and this recipe is fantastic! I love that you made them extra chocolately and I totally agree to cut back on the sugar when you are covering the cookie with more sugar…totally about balance :) I can’t wait to try this recipe! Totally pinning it!
    Liz @ Life Made Sweet recently posted…How to Decorate Snowflake CookiesMy Profile

  18. Definitely saving, I need a good chocolate decorating cookie recipe, the last ones I made were a disaster! Sounds like your excited for Christmas, me too!
    Laura@baking in pyjamas recently posted…Bountiful Choc Chip Loaf with a Hint of BananaMy Profile

  19. Sounds like you had so much over there with your family. I was the same way …3 days in the kitchen. But, it’s always worth it. Always have to have everything …everything from scratch! I’m loving these cookies and pinning them …and printing out the recipe so I can make them very soon! I’ll let you know how they turn out!
    Gloria // Simply Gloria recently posted…Top Ten Secret Cookie Baking TipsMy Profile

  20. Oh yum! I can snack on these all day. Your photos are beautiful! Pinned.
    Anne ~ Uni Homemaker recently posted…Eggnog Kahlua Chocolate Chunk Crumb MuffinsMy Profile

  21. I am so happy I found your blog in the www! This recipe is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I am so going to try those cookies (both the vanilla and chocolate one) next week. Let’s ditch the baking soda ;)

    Happy friday, K. zueri¦¦bliss

  22. Exactly what I was looking for! I knew I could count on you, Allie! <3
    Erika recently posted…Scottish potato sconesMy Profile

  23. I’m so glad you had such a wonderful Thanksgiving Allie! I, too, am happy that Christmas season is here and these cookies are making me even happier. Such gorgeous, perfect cookies! I can’t wait to share this recipe with my sister because I know these will make it to our cookie decorating party this year. Pinned!
    Trish – Mom On Timeout recently posted…Peppermint Magic BarsMy Profile

  24. The perfect little cookies…I have got to try these! Found you on Simply Gloria linky party!
    Cynthia Banessa recently posted…Homemade Banana Bread RecipeMy Profile

  25. Emma-Kate says:

    I know this is a treachery, but we just ran out of cocoa powder! These cookies look so amazing, is there a way to make a plain, non-chocolate version?

  26. They do look simply perfect!!!
    Lyuba@willcookforsmiles recently posted…Pairing Wine and CheeseMy Profile

  27. These are really PERFECT chocolate cookies
    Winnie recently posted…עוגת טורט עם ג’לי ותותיםMy Profile

  28. I just used this recipe to make my Xmas cookie trees! I can’t thank you enough! The edges are perfect, my trees will be as pretty as I wanted them to be <3

  29. What do you suggest if you do not have a paddle attachment?

  30. I cannot wait to try these out on my biscuit machine. I suppose it must be a little bit more moist to be able to spread out a little on the baking tray?

    • Hey Herman! I don’t know… I’m not familiar with the biscuit machine thing. I typically roll these out with a rolling pin and cut them with cookie cutters. Cookies that spread are kinda my pet peeve, I prefer neat and clean edges, so this recipe is really great for that. Good luck and thanks for reading!

  31. I was excited to find a recipe that did not require refrigeration. It was tough to incorporate the cold butter, and the dough was very crumbly (I had to squish it together by hand), but they definitely did not spread when baking which was amazing! I’ve never baked cookies that did not spread. They don’t have much flavour to them, unfortunately. I think if I were to make them again I would add more sugar, but I think they will be ok with icing. That’s my next step!

    • I’m so happy you were pleased with them, Laura! If they were that crumbly though, maybe next time you could do with a little less flour so they are easier to work with. I often find the quantity of flour can vary based on the weather that day. Also, if you use a really good quality cocoa powder, such as Valrhona, Scharffen-Berger, or Ghirardelli, it makes them super chocolatey! The flavor is on the less-sweet side, and that is intentional to balance the sweetness of the icing. Thanks so much for reading and for the comment!

  32. These cookies are simple and perfect. And are delicious too.

  33. Thanks for the recipe! I was looking for a cutout cookie to make with my four year old, but no one except him in our house likes plain sugar cookies so I was very excited to find a chocolate one. Like the previous commenter, the dough turned out way too dry and wouldn’t roll or hold together without crumbling and falling apart (I only added 1.5 cups flour). I ended up adding another 1/4 cup of melted butter to get it to stay together, chilled it again, and then it was fine. I also agree that they could use more sugar if you like a traditionally sweet cookie – these are just barely sweet but I find regular cookies way too sweet, so for me these are perfect – chocolaty and buttery, not cloying. They stayed perfectly crisp-edged with no spreading!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the flavor, Kate! I too prefer a less sweet cookie. I’m sorry for your crumbly dough, though! You were very smart to add more fat to balance it. Sometimes it can be tricky to get the right amount of flour- so many factors can play a part.

  34. I made these cookies and they were the worst things I have ever tasted. I followed the directions exactly and they were so dry and they actually tasted like chocolate flavored cardboard. They weren’t even sweet. I tried icing it in hopes it would taste better and that didn’t do anything. I was so disappointed. They are definitely not simply perfect chocolate sugar cookies.

    • I’m so sorry to have disappointed you, Mama. Truly. This recipe is a favorite for my family, my kids love them especially with my homemade oreo filling, or decorated with sugary royal icing, or even just plain with a glass of milk. I guess everyone has their own idea of a perfect cookie, and I’m sorry that these just weren’t it for you.

  35. I just found you yesterday..and made your cookies today..
    And guess what?
    You’re right..
    They are..simply perfect..for thepurposes I intended the cookie ..s to have:)
    Thank you..
    Monique recently posted…New Baguettes..and a new Ricardo Soup~My Profile

  36. These are indeed perfect. I’d love one right now :)
    The Hungry Mum recently posted…How to make yogurt and berry fruit popsMy Profile

  37. This is the first time i baked sugar cookies and its perfect…i like your recipe because its not so sweet, just perfect for my taste and the texture. Love it!!!

    • I’m so pleased you think so, Anna! I too prefer them less sweet, especially since I often decorate them with royal icing, and that is so sugary. I’m sure you saw I got some negative comments on this one because of the decreased sugar. I’m glad to know that they worked so well for you though! Thanks for the positive feedback, and I hope you have a great weekend!

  38. These cookies look amazing. Any ideas on how to make them eggless?

  39. Hello, I just had to tell I had great success with your recipe. I used ‘Fred’ brand mustache cookie cutters for a fun party event and it worked brilliantly. Thank you for writing such an in depth post too.

    • So glad to hear it, Loz! Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know. I love that recipe so much, it’s so great with royal icing! I’m so glad you agree and the mustache shapes must have been totally adorable!

  40. I needed to thank you for this great read!!
    I definitely loved every bit of it. I have got you bookmarked
    to check out new things you post…

  41. Pamela Shull says:

    Wow, love these cookies! I used them to make a cookie basket and it looks wonderful! Oh, loved how they were super easy to make and you gave info on to refrig or not. I will be making them again and put them on my go to recipe when I am short on time.Thanks!

  42. hilda fernandez says:

    just made these for my sons first for this weekend. delicious and bakes perfectly!!


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