Chocolate Sugar Cookies

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There is something special about making cut-out cookies, like these Chocolate Sugar Cookies. I think it’s because they take a little more effort – you aren’t just plopping down scoops of dough and shoving pans in the oven. You have to chill the dough, and roll it and cut it and carefully place each cookie just so on the pan. And then – the best part of all – you get to decorate them somehow!

I remember when my girls were small, how thrilled they were to come home from school and find that I had been making cookies, and that I waited to share the fun parts with them. Even now, we enjoy baking together – maybe even more so, since there are grandchildren to join in.

These are absolutely wonderful cookies. The dough comes together easily, and it’s nicely sturdy, so they are easy to cut out. It may seem odd that chocolate sugar cookies taste so much better with plenty of vanilla in them, but it’s true – pure vanilla extract brings out the flavor of chocolate perfectly.

1 cup soft butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure Vanilla Extract 3X
3/4 cup unsweetened Natural cocoa powder
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Beat the butter until uniformly creamed. Beat in sugar, then the eggs, one at a time, until nicely fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then the cocoa powder, and finally the salt, baking powder and flour, making sure that everything is completely incorporated. Divide the dough into two pieces and flatten each one into a flat disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and chill at least an hour. I think the final flavor and texture are both improved by being refrigerated overnight – the chocolate flavor gets more intense and the flour gets hydrated, but if you don’t have time to let them sit that long, it is not of utmost importance. If you leave them overnight, let the dough sit on the counter for 30 minutes or so, but if you chill just an hour, they will be ready to roll out.
Preheat your oven to 350º while you roll out the cookies. I like to use parchment lined baking sheets, but you can also used greased baking sheets if you prefer. Make sure your table or counter is well dusted with flour, and roll from the center, out to the edge, turning the dough after each roll with the pin. How thick to roll it is up to you – thin and the cookies will be crisper, thick and they will be softer. I like 1/8 of an inch – the edges get crisp, but the centers stay on the soft side. Cut out cookies with star cutters, re-rolling scraps to form more cookies. Place the cut cookies on the prepared baking sheets, and bake for 9 to 12 minutes, depending on how thick your cookies are. At 1/8 of an inch, they will take 12 minutes. Cool on a rack. If you plan to freeze them, wait to decorate until you thaw them back out.

I like to use a glaze – once it dries, it stays looking nice for at least several days, and it holds the decorations and sugars really well.
2 cups confectionery sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract 3X
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3-4 tablespoons cream or half and half
I really like the 3X vanilla extract for this because it imparts tons of vanilla flavor without making the glaze too thin. Stir all of the ingredients together, adding additional cream, if needed, for a consistency that is liquid enough to allow dipping. Dip the tops of each cookie, shake off excess and place, glaze side up, on a rack. If using sprinkles, crushed candy canes, sparkling sugars, etc, sprinkle on immediately. Allow to sit until glaze is completely set – a couple hours at least.

Enjoy your chocolate sugar cookies, store in an air tight container.


Donalyn is a long time food blogger - this is what she has to say about blogging for us: "My husband and I are blissful empty-nesters, enjoying the good life in rural Upstate NY. We grow a huge garden and are always looking for new challenges, the latest of which is brewing beer from our own home grown hops. My take on food is to use the freshest, most local food you can find and give it plenty of flavor. That is where The Great American Spice Company comes in. I've used their products for years, and I'm thrilled to be sharing some of our favorite recipes on their blog."
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