Chocolate Sugar Cookies

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I didn’t think sugar cookies could get any better, until I added chocolate to them. These chocolate sugar cookies literally have it all. They’re buttery, sweet, chewy, crispy, AND most importantly, chocolatey!

Chocolate cookies stacked up on a white platter with a small bowl of sugar.

A new & improved sugar cookie

Are you a sugar cookie lover? What about a chocolate lover? How about a chocolate sugar cookie lover? Never tried one? Well friends, I’m about to make your day.

I’ve been crazy busy trying to get Hannah graduated from high school and all set up to head off to college in a few months, but I’ve also been brainstorming cookies and playing around with some new and fun recipes.

I was so excited about these chocolate sugar cookies; I couldn’t wait to get them posted for you. Honestly, they’re that good.

Cookies stacked upon a baking rack with a bite out of the top cookie.

The details about these chocolate sugar cookies

One of my favorite qualities in a sugar cookie is softness – not necessarily gooey, but a soft center with a perfectly crispy edge. These chocolate sugar cookies have both.

They’re substantial when you bite into them, but ultimately they’re a very soft, chewy cookie. The texture is ah-mazing!

A note about cocoa powder

You can use any unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder you prefer. For this recipe, I used the Dutch Processed Organic Baking Cocoa from Costco. I really like the rich brown color and deep flavor it has.

But, what is Dutch processed you ask? Well, to briefly summarize, Dutch-process cocoa is treated to reduce the acidity, since natural cocoa powder is very acidic. The result is a smooth, rich cocoa that is darker in color, less bitter, and not as sharp tasting.

Dutch processed cocoa powder is usually found in recipes using baking powder and natural cocoa powder is usually found in recipes using baking soda. For more information about cocoa powders, read this article, it’s very helpful.

Cookies laying on a wire baking rack with a small bowl of sugar.

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, until it’s smooth and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract and continue mixing for another minute.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and sea salt.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix with an electric mixer for just a minute. Then, using a rubber spatula, finish mixing the flour until just combined. Avoid over-mixing the dough.
  5. Using a 3 TBS cookie scoop, scoop the dough and drop it onto lined baking sheets.
  6. Generously sprinkle the tops of each cookie with sugar.
  7. Bake for 10-ish minutes, cool, and devour!
TOOLS YOU’LL NEED

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Chocolate cookies laying on a white scalloped edge platter.

Things to remember when baking these cookies

  • The type of cocoa powder you use matters. If you don’t have Dutch processed cocoa powder on hand and want to substitute a natural cocoa powder, you’ll need to use 1/2 tsp baking soda instead of the 1 tsp baking powder.
  • Using a cookie scoop will really help with getting the correct portion. You can find my favorite one here.
  • These are drop cookies, so you don’t have roll them into a ball with your hands or anything, just scoop, sprinkle with sugar, and bake. So easy.
  • Oddly, this recipe makes 13 (3 TBS scoop size) cookies, but since I usually eat the equivalent of at least one cookie, I like to say it makes a nice round 12 cookies. šŸ˜
  • It’s easy to over-bake these cookies because of their dark brown color, so keep a close eye on them at the end of baking. They will crack open and puff up slightly when they’re done.
  • Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes prior to transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. The tops of the cookies will fall during the cooling process.
A stack of cookies with a bite out of the top cookie, showing the texture.

New, Christmas edition!

If you’re looking for a chocolate and peppermint sugar cookie for the holidays, I have two very easy suggestions to make this recipe festive.

  1. In addition to the vanilla extract, add 1/2 tsp peppermint extract to the dough before baking. Then, immediately when the cookies come out of the oven, sprinkle finely crushed candy canes (about 3 regular size candy canes) or crushed peppermint candies on top of the cookies. Let the cookies cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store as directed below.
Cookies dusted with crushed peppermint laying on parchment paper with a candy cane next to them.
  1. Instead of sprinkling the cookies with sugar, use this frosting recipe and prepare as directed, but instead of the almond extract, add 1/2 tsp peppermint extract. Frost cookies as usual and then sprinkle with crushed candy canes or crushed peppermint candies. Let frosting harden for a few hours, carefully store in an airtight container or freeze cookies.

Questions about this recipe

You can substitute regular (or natural) cocoa powder for this recipe, but instead of 1 tsp baking powder, use 1/2 tsp baking soda. This will help the cookies rise properly.

Yes, you’ll just want to use a smaller scoop. Smaller cookies tend to bake faster too, so set the timer for 8-9 minutes and keep an eye on them towards the end of baking so they don’t get too done/dark.

Umm yes! Fold in 1/2 cup of chopped baking chocolate or chocolate chips last, just before scooping the cookies.

It does. After preparing the dough as described above, pop it in the refrigerator to harden up a little bit, then put it in an airtight container and freeze it for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to use the dough. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then let it come up to room temperature before scooping and baking the cookies.

*Note – you can also freeze the baked and cooled cookies. Place them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

There are a lot of variables in baking. It could be that your butter was too warm or you used the wrong leavening agent for the type of cocoa powder.

Dutch processed cocoa powder cookies need baking powder to rise, whereas natural cocoa powder reacts with baking soda, creating a chemical reaction to lift the cookies. If you mix them up, the cookies won’t rise properly and may spread out way too much.

For more baking troubleshooting check out our baking resource page.

A chocolate cookie with a bite out of it leaning on a small bowl of sugar.

I think you’ll find that these chocolate sugar cookies are completely scrumptious and I’m pretty sure that after you try these cookies for yourself, you’ll add them to your usual cookie baking repertoire just like I did.

It’s really nice to have another easy sugar cookie recipe to whip up, especially a chocolate one. Enjoy, my friends.

Cookies stacked up with a bite out of the top cookie.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

As if a sugar cookie wasn't good enough, these chocolate sugar cookies literally have it all. They're thick, chewy, and chocolatey.
4.37 from 30 votes
Print Pin
Course: Sweets & Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 13 cookies
Calories: 170kcal
Author: Kristine

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, unsweetened (see notes for substituting regular cocoa powder instead of Dutch processed)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Extra sugar for sprinkling
See above for the Christmas chocolate and peppermint edition!

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
    • In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until smooth and light colored.
      1/2 cup butter, unsalted, 1 cup sugar
    • Add egg and vanilla extract and continue mixing for another minute.
      1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and sea salt.
      1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, unsweetened, 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • Add flour mixture, half at a time and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined.
    • Using a 3 TBS cookie scoop, scoop dough and place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
    • Sprinkle the tops of each cookie with sugar.
    • Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
    • Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
    • Store cookies in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months.
    Notes
    If you don’t have Dutch processed cocoa powder and want to substitute natural cocoa powder, use 1/2 tsp baking soda in place of the 1 tsp baking powder.Ā 
    Make sure to read the cookie baking tips to get answers to common questions about baking cookies.
    Nutrition
    Serving: 1 cookie | Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 184mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 237IU | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg
    Did you make this recipe? We want to see!Mention @kristineinbetween or tag #kristineinbetween!

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    Kristine Underwood standing in her kitchen with her dog.

    About Kristine

    Kristine is a self-taught cookie baker and photographer. She's passionate about finding time for everything and making baking, crafting and homemaking simple. More...

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    24 Comments

    1. These are amazing! Why have I never thought to add cocoa powder to sugar cookies until now?

      1. Haha, thanks so much Matt! I know, right? SO easy and yet SO not a thing…until now! ?

    2. This was such a unique twist to a classic cookie! I think I will have to make my sugar cookies with chocolate from now on! They were so yummy!

      1. Thank you so much Sara! Absolutely, it’s a fun way to change things up, especially if you’re a chocoholic! ?

    3. SO good! Literal perfection with a tall glass of milk. And that sugar sparkle on top is the finishing touch I didn’t know I needed! I’ll be making these again, really soon!

      1. Thank you so much Monica! I couldn’t agree with you more. These cookies are perfection. They lasted oh-about-one-day in this house!

    4. I am a terrible baker, but you convinced me that I could do it! And I did! They aren’t quite a beautiful as yours, but they taste incredible!

      1. LOL, Ashley – this made me laugh! Well, I will say these are super easy, like for real easy. I believe in you! Let me know if you give them a try, I’d love to hear about it. ?

    5. What a brilliant idea. I’ve never made a chocolate sugar cookie. My youngest daughter is a chocolate fiend, so I knew I had to make these. We all loved them!

      1. Thank you so much Diana! You definitely should, they are amazing! ?

    6. Those are some delicious cookies! So much so, they are g-o-n-e! Everything’s better in its chocolate version, in my opinion. Haha!

      1. Thank you so much Raia! I’m glad they were loved at your house too! And I totally agree with you, chocolate always wins!

    7. These cookies are delicious! Adding chocolate is a great switch from the everyday sugar cookie and they are so easy to make!

      1. So glad you enjoyed them Sally! I couldn’t agree with you more, and that’s really saying something because I love me plain ol’ sugar cookie! These chocolate ones are a nice change!

    8. Such a hit with my family! I will be making these again for sure.

      1. Woohoo Krissy, I am so glad! Thanks for trying them out. Happy baking!

    9. Alexandra says:

      One bowl for chocolate cookies? Count me in! These cookies were so delicious. Loved this recipe so much! šŸ™‚

      1. Thank you so much Alexandra! I love that you love them! And I know, everything about these cookies is so great!

    10. Oh my god a chocolate cookie sugar cookie love child – perfection. I LOVE it. These were incredible. Thank you!

      1. LOL Tracy, yes that’s exactly what these are! Funny! So glad you enjoyed them!

    11. Hi I made the chocolate sugar cookies yesterday and did not have sea salt so used table salt…I can taste the salt so next time will not use the full 1/2 teaspoon. Also I thought they don’t taste very chocolate to me…should I have used white sugar in place of the light brown that I did use? Maybe some orange zest to wake that cocoa up?

    12. hi there, mine didnt look anything like yours. No crinkles at all. šŸ™

      1. Hey Betty! I’m sorry to hear that, there are a lot of factors that could cause that. I hope they still tasted yummy!

      2. What about doubling the recipe? Any less or more of any ingredient? The first 12 didn’t last a day!