Simple chocolate cutout cookies with a wonderful texture
We may be in love with with cookie cutters. Our love may border on an obsession. We each have baskets full of cookie cutters that we have collected over the years and every holiday, and every theme, seems to be covered. We’ve got Halloween themed cookie cutters in the shape of skulls and skeletons. We have a collection of music instrument cookie cutters purchased in order to gift our daughter’s music teachers something sweet.
In that bowl you will find cookie cutters from Disney World, Doctor Who and a set of stars that when piled on top of one another make a large cookie cutout tree. Then there are the maple leafs, hearts, circles and penguins (doesn’t everyone have a penguin cookie cutter?). The most frequently used cookie cutters however are those that represent Christmas. Our gingerbread people, candy canes, bells and snowflakes are well worn, as our our Christmas tree cookie cutters, used to make these chocolate cutout cookies.
Making these chocolate cutout cookies, or any cutout cookies for that matter, requires a bit of planning. You almost always need to chill the dough, and making cookie cutouts takes more time than simply dolloping dough on a cookie sheet, the way you would for example when making our white chocolate and cranberry cookies. Still, they are most definitely worth the effort! These cookies are sweet to look at, have a great chocolate flavour, and are the perfect cookie to dunk into some hot chocolate or Greek coffee! They would also be amazing with a mug of warmed milk, prepare the way our parents always did for us when we were little.
Here are a few helpful hints to make sure that you have success in making these chocolate cutout cookies:
How long do I have to chill the dough for these chocolate cutout cookies?
The dough, once shaped into a ball, needs to be wrapped really well in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for at least an hour. We like to flatten our ball of dough a little bit before placing it into the fridge, making a disc that is an inch or so thick. This helps with the chilling process. You can also chill your dough for longer, which is a great idea if you are planning ahead. We have made these cookies with dough we have chilled for up to two days, but it should be fine for up to three days as well.
An easy way to roll out dough for cutout cookies:
Most recipes suggest that you roll portions of dough on a lightly floured surface, with a lightly floured rolling pin. This works, but we prefer another method. We place a portion of dough on a flat, clean piece of plastic wrap. We then cover that with another clean piece of plastic wrap and roll the dough that way. When it has reached the desired thickness, we remove the top plastic wrap and cutout our cookies. Then, we gather the remaining dough, and repeat. This way is less messy and ensures that you don’t end up adding too much extra flour.
What are the best cookie cutters for these chocolate cutout cookies?
Anything you like! If you are baking these for Christmas, then Christmas themed cookie cutters make sense. We like to use a variety of cookie cutters and try to maximize the number of cookies we can make each time we roll out the dough. That often means using cookie cutters of various shapes.
How to bake chocolate cutout cookies
We bake these cookies on parchment lined baking sheets in the middle rack of our oven for 9 – 11 minutes. You want to bake them until the edges and bottoms are slightly browned. The center of the cookes may still appear soft – that’s fine. They will firm up as they cool. The final cookies should not be rock hard as will be the case if you over bake them.
How to keep them fresh
You can keep them in a well sealed container at room temperature for up to a week. Otherwise, keep your cookies fresh by keeping them in the refrigerator, or even freezing them.
Can I decorate my chocolate cutout cookies?
Of course you can. You will see that we have not – we like the simple flavour of the plain cookies (also, we had no time!). You can choose to dust your cookies with icing sugar (simple and pretty) or you can use icing to decorate your cookies. You can also add sprinkles or small candies. Anything you like would work – the cookie is your canvas!
If you love these cookies, check out these recipes too:
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Chocolate cutout cookies
- 1 Stand mixer or hand-held mixer with paddle attachment
- Cookie cutters
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- In a medium size bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients and set aside.3 cups all purpose flour, ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars for about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, extracts and continue to beat for another 5 minutes at medium speed.1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature, ¾ cup packed brown sugar, ¾ cup white sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, ½ tsp almond extract
- With the mixer speed set to low, add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
- Transfer your dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap and knead it until it forms a ball. Flatten your ball to a disc that is about 1 inch thick. Cover the dough entirely with plastic wrap and then place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 °F
- Roll out your dough between two sheets of plastic wrap or on a lightly floured surface until it is ¼ inch thick. This is easier to do if you portion out your dough so that you are only dealing with a little at a time. Use your cookie cutters to create shapes and transfer the cookies to a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until the edges are firm. You will notice that the centers of the cookies still appear soft; this is normal.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.