I’m typing this post as I sit with the (electric) fireplace blazing and tea steaming next to me, trying not to become distracted by the light snow gently falling outside my front window. A perfect winter day, in my book.
Well, almost perfect.
One of my favorite things to do on a frigid, cold day, is get in the warm kitchen and bake! I love the feeling of the heat emanating from the oven, sweet smells wafting through the house, and – of course – devouring the final product!
Today I wanted to share with you a new winter recipe I’ve been enjoying: Chewy Chocolate Cookies! This no-spread recipe is actually quite simple and is great for cut-out shapes and designs. (You know what that means – get ready for everyone to exclaim, “Wait, you made these?! They look professional!”)
So peruse my baking and decorating tips below as I walk you through the process, and then head towards the bottom for the printable, condensed recipe!
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Ingredients Needed For Your Chocolate Cookies:
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup room temperature butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- Large egg
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- .5 cup pasteurized liquid egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- food coloring gels (these are my favorite, high-quality gels)
- Silver edible-glitter spray (this is the kind that I use)
Other Necessary Materials:
- Wax or parchment paper (find some here if you need it)
- Rolling pin
- Cookie cutters. Here and here are some sets to make different sizes of snowflakes. I also made a few regular circles to add variation to the mix! You could also add some other winter shapes, like this adorable mitten and hat!
- Disposable or silicone piping bag (and coupler)
- Wilton decorating tip #3, which can be found in this starter set.
- Food-safe paint brushes (you can find a nice variety pack here)
Chocolate Cookie Baking Method:
Begin by sifting together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set this aside.
Next, cream the softened butter with the sugar until it is fully combined and fluffy – this may take three or four minutes. Add the egg and oil in, and continue beating until combined.
Then, with the mixer turned to medium-low, add the dry ingredients to the wet, combining until a dough forms, or the mixture begins pulling away from the edge of the bowl.
Dump the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and lightly form it into a somewhat flattened brick shape. Cover the top with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Chilling the dough gives the fat (butter) time to solidify again so that your chocolate cookies will hold their shape better. It also helps to work in a cooler kitchen, which is why, with this type of recipe, I always wait to preheat my oven.
After the dough has sufficiently chilled, use a rolling pin to flatten the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. You want the final thickness of the dough to be around 3/8 to 1/2 of an inch.
Carefully, peel off the top layer of parchment paper, placing it flat on another area of your work surface, sticky side up. Flip the dough over, back onto this parchment paper, and peel off what used to be the bottom (but is now on top) layer of paper. This process of unsticking the paper helps the dough remove easier, later, when we are stamping out the cookie shapes.
Next, using the paper around the edges as “handles”, place the entire flattened piece of dough in your freezer to chill again, quickly, for about five minutes. This will once again firm up the dough in case the butter began to melt during the rolling-out process.
While waiting, cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. After a few minutes have passed, bring the dough out of your freezer and onto the work surface. Remove and discard the top layer of parchment paper.
Use your cookie cutters to stamp out the dough, and carefully lay each one on the prepared baking sheet. Try to keep the cut-outs close together so as to use as much dough as possible. Once you fill a baking sheet, place it in the refrigerator until time to bake.
Quickly and gently form a lump with the excess dough and roll it out again. You want to work carefully and deliberately, as overworking the dough causes the cookies to be tough. Chill this layer of dough in the freezer for five minutes again, and cut out more shapes.
Once you have used all the dough, you can preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Keep your chocolate cookies in the refrigerator until the moment you are placing them in the oven.
Then, bake for nine to thirteen minutes, depending upon the size. Of course, smaller cookies will be done sooner. With a dark dough color, it can be tough to tell exactly when chocolate cookies are finished; generally, before removing the cookies, you want to make sure the edges are firm and not caving in with gentle pressure. The center of the cookie should feel set and be puffy to the touch. If you follow these cues, your chocolate cookies will be baked to perfection!
Let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Chocolate Cookies Decorating Method:
First, prepare your royal icing; if you’d like some extra tips, check out my article here!
Begin by whipping your pasteurized egg whites on high until they form foamy peaks.
Then, with your mixer on low, add in the powdered sugar cup by cup until it’s all combined.
Next, turn your mixer up to high, stream in the vanilla extract, and let it mix for about five minutes until thickened and resembling the consistency of honey.
I like to use the spoon trick to make sure the texture is right: run a spoon, backward, through the bowl. If the icing takes a few seconds before starting to fill itself in, you’re good to go. If the icing rushes into the “well” immediately, keep mixing!
Next, divide your icing, pouring one half into another bowl. Add a few drops of the blue gel food coloring to one of the bowls, and stir with a spoon to combine. Adjust the color, always starting with less gel and adding more as necessary.
Once you’re happy with the color, begin preparing your piping bags. Use the following diagram from the Kootek Piping Bag Amazon listing as a reference:
Though it’s not totally necessary to use a coupler, it does make changing tips easier, since you can just unscrew it, instead of emptying out the whole bag.
I prefer the coupler method to keep everything tidy and neat! If you’ve never used one, I’d highly recommend it! You’ll love how simple it makes changing the tips; decorating has never been simpler.
Okay – so back to decorating the cookies. Fill your prepared piping bag with the white frosting. Start by making a border around the outside of the cookie. Then, applying more pressure to the bag, fill in the center with frosting; this method is called “flooding”, because, in essence, you are “flooding” the cookie with icing to give a nice, smooth layer.
Use a toothpick to smooth over the icing in any spots that may have “holes”. Continue to outline and flood about half of the cookies (including the circle-shaped cookies, if you made them) with the white icing.
Then, fill a second piping bag with the blue icing, and outline and flood the remaining, un-iced cookies.
The icing needs to be almost fully set before adding a second layer. If you try to add the icing too soon, it will mix and blend with the first layer (like in my marbled fall leaves here), as opposed to creating the sharp, detailed line we are looking for.
I let my cookies dry for about six hours, uncovered, at room temperature before they were ready to be detailed; some sites recommend waiting overnight, depending on the thickness of your icing.
During this time, you can store your filled piping bags in the refrigerator. I usually “squish” the icing up from the tip so it’s more centered in the bag, and the twist both ends around and under the bag, to prevent air from getting in from either the bottom or the tip.
Once the initial layer of icing is dried and hard, you can begin to add the second. Use the white icing on the blue background flakes, and the blue icing on the white flakes. You can draw some flakes on the circle-shaped chocolate cookies, but feel free to leave some of these blank to add on a hand-painted snowman later.
Start the basic snowflake pattern by drawing three, bold, crossing lines. Then, embellish the main lines with dots, angles, swirls, or whatever your artistic inclinations lead! Check out my video tutorials below for some more inspiration:
Blue Glitter Snowflake
White Glitter Snowflake
Once you are pleased with your snowflake designs, spritz them with a bit of the edible silver dust for the shimmery, snow-like appearance! Practice spraying the dust on a paper towel first to get the feel of the sprayer!
Finally, pour four separate tablespoonfuls of white icing onto a plate (it should look like an artist’s pallet!) On the same plate, add a few tablespoons of your blue icing. Using your food coloring gels and the white icing on your plate, mix together a small amount of orange icing and a small amount of black icing. Spray some of the plain white icing with the silver glitter dust and mix it ever so gently. Are feelings of middle-school art class coming back to ya?!
Then, use your paint brushes and the mixed icing to create a beautiful, snowman scene! Check out my post here for more details and a video tutorial on hand-painting your chocolate cookies.
Let your cookies dry again, uncovered; you can store them at room temperature for a few days – that is, if you can resist eating them all in one sitting!
Voila – Chewy Chocolate Cookies!
There you have it! Chewy, delectable chocolate cookies, decorated to sparkly perfection! See, who says winter isn’t fun; with cookies like these, you’ll want it to be winter forever! Okay, okay, so ma-a-aybe that’s a little much, but you get the point.
Thanks for tuning in! If you liked this chocolatey confection, be sure to check out my Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream – they are ADDICTINGLY delicious.
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Thanks again for reading! I want to know if you’ve ever made cut-out cookies before; leave me a comment below if you’re a master, newbie, or somewhere in between! 🙂
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