Chocolate Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

These crisp-chewy cookies are a chocolatey alternative to traditional roll-and-cut sugar cookies, and great for decorating. If you prefer[ slightly thinner, crisper cookies, roll the dough 1/8-inch thick, and bake the cookies for about 8 minutes.]

Total Time:
2 hr 10 min
Prep:
45 min
Inactive:
1 hr
Cook:
25 min

Yield:
36 to 48 cookies
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • Royal Icing , recipe follows
  • Your favorite sprinkles and nonpareils, for decorating
  • Royal Icing:
  • Two 1-pound boxes confectioners' sugar (about 7 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • Food coloring , such as gel coloring, if desired
Directions
  • Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.

  • Put the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer) and beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl and paddle as needed, about 4 minutes more. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat until smooth.

  • Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and add the flour mixture in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl and paddle as needed. Mix until incorporated.

  • Divide the dough in half and shape into two flattened disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. Remove the dough from the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before rolling, to soften.

  • Position oven racks to the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Now flour parchment for rolling: Dust a piece of parchment with flour, place a disk of dough on it, dust the disk with flour, then cover it with a second piece of parchment. Roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes with 11/2- to 2-inch cookie cutters. Gather up the scraps, re-roll and cut out. (Chill the scraps if the dough becomes too soft.) Roll and cut out the remaining disk of dough. Working in batches, arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.

  • Bake the cookies until the tops look dry and no indentation is left when pressed with your finger, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then use a metal spatula to transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

  • Decorate with royal icing as desired. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Royal Icing:
  • Combine the confectioners' sugar, meringue powder and 3/4 cup water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer). Mix on medium-low speed until pure white and stiff enough to form peaks.

  • Add up to 1 tablespoon food coloring if using and mix with a rubber spatula until the color is uniform. Store at room temperature, covered, with plastic wrap on the surface for up to 2 days. Re-whip until smooth before using.

  • Cook's note: Gel colorings work best with royal icing because they do not thin out the icing as liquid colorings do.

  • Yield: 3 1/2 cups

  • Copyright 2013 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved

  • From Food Network Kitchen: After further testing and to ensure the best results, this recipe has been altered from what was originally published.


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    This recipe is featured in:

    12 Days of Cookies