Dark chocolate cut out cookies are easy to make for any holiday or special occasion. The chocolate sugar cookie dough won’t spread so it makes perfectly shaped cookies that taste great plain or decorated with icing.
If you have been looking for a chocolate sugar cookie recipe that holds its shape when baked, tastes as good as a brownie, and can be baked until soft or crispy (whichever you prefer), this is the recipe for you!
Some people will refer to these cookies as chocolate sugar cookies while I tend to call them chocolate cutout cookies (or chocolate cut-out cookies or even cut out cookies). I’ve even heard people call them chocolate Christmas cookies even when they are making them for Easter or Valentine’s Day.
No matter what you call them, I know you are going to love using this easy cookie recipe.
The basic chocolate cookie recipe is easy to make but I want to share a few tips with you before you start baking.
You can use either natural cocoa powder or Dutch-Processed cocoa powder in this recipe.
If you want your cookies to have a deep dark color, you need to use dark or black cocoa powder. Cookies made with traditional cocoa powder will be light brown with a reddish hue.
The chocolate sandwich cookies filled with peanut butter fudge pictured on the left in the image above were made with Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder which contains a blend of natural and Dutch-processed cocoa. It’s dark in color and makes deep brown, almost black, cookies.
The lighter brown cookies pictured on the right were made using Callebaut Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder.
Both cookies taste great but I do think the cookies made with dark cocoa have a more robust chocolate flavor. Plus I prefer the darker colored cookies.
Let’s Make Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
The recipe is pretty standard.
- Start by creaming the butter and sugar.
- Then, mix in the egg and vanilla extract.
- Sift the cocoa powder over the flour, salt, and baking soda then stir to combine.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined. Do not overmix or you will develop too much gluten and your cookies will be tough.
- The dough is ready to be rolled out and cut.
Do I have to chill the cookie dough?
- No, this dough is ready to roll out as soon as you finish mixing it.
- You will, however, chill the cutout cookies for about 10 minutes before baking them. This will help them keep their shape and make it easier to transfer them to your baking sheet.
Can I make the dough ahead?
- You can make the dough up to 3 days in advance and keep it stored in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator.
- This dough also freezes really well for up to 3 months.
Tips for Cutting Out Cookies
- If you roll the cookie dough out on a silicone mat, the dough will not stick.
- You can dust the mat lightly with cocoa powder before you roll out the dough if needed but it isn’t typically necessary.
- If you roll the dough out onto your countertop, then you will need to dust the counter with cocoa powder or flour. I like using cocoa power so that cookies don’t end up with a white film on them.
- Roll the dough out between 1/8-inch thickness and 1/4-inch thickness.
- If you like crispier cookies, roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness.
- Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness if you prefer softer cookies.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut out any shape you like.
- It’s best to cut out as many cookies as possible every time you roll out the dough so that you do not have to reroll it too often.
- The more you reroll the dough the tougher it will become.
- It is best to use cutters that are similar in size and to bake similar-sized cookies on the same baking sheet. You’ll notice that I baked a variety of shapes and sizes on one tray. I don’t typically do that but I wanted a nice variety of cookie shapes in my pictures. The smaller cookies did get a bit crispier than the larger cookies.
- Remove the excess dough from around the cookies before trying to move the cutout cookie dough.
- If you rolled your cookies out on a silicone mat, leave them on the mat and place them in the freezer. Chill the cookie cutouts for 10 minutes, just long enough for the dough to firm up. Then peel the cookies off the mat and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- This will help your cookies to maintain their shape. Plus they are just easier to move.
- You can bake the cookies on the silicone mat but the cookies should be spaced out a bit so they bake more evenly. Air can flow around them if they’re spaced about 1 inch apart.
- Plus, your baked cookies will be easier to remove from the pan if you have space to lift them up using a spatula.
- If your rolled your cookies out on the counter, then use a thin metal spatula to lift them up before placing them on a parchment paper-lined (or silicone mat-lined) baking sheet. Then pop them in the freezer or refrigerator for about 10 minutes before baking.
Tips for Baking Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
Knowing when a dark chocolate cookie is baked can be challenging. You won’t see the edges turning golden brown. So, it’s best to touch the edge of a cookie to see if it feels set. In the recipe, I give you a range of 6-12 minutes. If you bake small cookies start checking them at the 6-minute mark. Add a few minutes extra for larger cookies.
- If you like soft cookies bake them just until they look set around the edges. They’ll still look very shiny but not wet on top.
- For crispier cookies, bake until the cookies look dull on top. The longer you bake the cookies the crispier they will get.
- Just be sure you do not burn them!
You can use metal or plastic cookie cutters to make these cookies. Both work fine. Just be sure to cut straight down, then wiggle the cutter slightly to make sure the cookie dough is cut all the way through before lifting the cutter off the dough.
Plunger cutters or cookie stamps also work beautifully with this chocolate cookie dough. You might want to dip them into sifted cocoa powder before using them so they don’t stick to the cookie dough.
First, you cut the cookies out using the cutter, then you press the stamp into the cookie dough and it will imprint the design onto the dough.
Cookie stamps are easy to use but there’s something even easier.
Plunger cutters are even easier to use. You simply press the cutter down onto the cookie dough, press gently on the plunger, then lift the cutter off the dough.
Press the plunger again and the dough will fall right out of the plunger cutter.
You end up with perfectly cut and imprinted cookies that don’t need decorating. They look and taste great without icing.
Holiday Plunger Cutters
Plunger cutters are available for every holiday and lots of special occasions.
The snowflakes are pretty incredible. Look at all that detail. They make decorating your cutout cookies super easy.
If you want, you can use the plunger cutter to cut out modeling chocolate toppers for your cookies. Brush the cookie with icing, chocolate spread, or corn syrup, then set the modeling chocolate decoration on top.
You can find supplies to make your chocolate cookies on Amazon. I earn a small commission when you use the product links in this post at no extra cost to you.