If you’re looking for a super quick chocolate sugar cookie recipe that promises not to spread while baking and no chilling required, then look no further. We promise our sugar cookie recipe is foolproof and perfect for beginners.
If you don’t want a chocolate sugar cookie, you can leave out the cocoa for a vanilla version instead. Both are yummy and both come out perfect with this recipe.
Read on for the recipe card at the bottom of this article.
See below for some in-progress shots of my baking process, and some hints and tips I discovered along the way.
Detailed Chocolate Sugar Cookie Instructions
The first and one of the most important steps is to leave your butter at room temperature for around 30-60 minutes to let it soften. This is a really important step because cold butter will not blend well with the sugar, and you will end up with buttery lumps in your cookie dough.
Once your butter has reached a nice soft consistency where it’s easily spread with a spoon- but not runny, add the caster sugar and mix for at least 3 minutes. This will not only mix your butter and sugar nicely, but it will aerate your butter making your cookies less dense.
A lot of sugar cookie recipes will call for the use of granulated, or white sugar. I’m not a fan of using this type of sugar when baking as I find it doesn’t incorporate well and tends to leave lumps due to the larger size of the sugar crystal. Caster sugar is a fantastic alternative as its more refined and incorporates easily into butter.
The first time I made these cookies I used white granulated sugar and the sugar prevented my butter from mixing together and kept it lumpy. The sugar also appeared in my cookie dough when I was trying to roll it out and made for a very frustrating first attempt.
Add your egg and vanilla extract into the mix and beat for another minute.
A note on vanilla extract:
If you can’t find vanilla extract, you can use vanilla essence. However, extract has a far superior taste and is much more concentrated. You will only need a small amount of extract compared to essence, and I sometimes find vanilla essence has an unusual artificial flavour so always test the flavour before you add it to your dough mix.
Add your flour and baking powder to the mix. You can do this in 3 ways:
1: Dump everything in and hope for the best (do not do this!)
2: Slowly pour the flour into the bowl whilst continuously mixing. It’s best to use a stand mixer in this case as you don’t have to worry about holding the mixer, bowl + the ingredients you’re trying to add.
3.Add the flour + baking powder in stages. As this recipe calls for 3 cups of flour, you can add 1 cup and then mix well until fully incorporated, then add the next cup and so on.
After the flour and baking powder is fully mixed in, add your cocoa powder. I found that half a cup of baking cocoa was the perfect amount for a full chocolate flavour. You can add less if you don’t want an overly chocolate flavour, or more if you’d like to increase it. If you want the dark chocolate colouring of the cookies you will need to add at least half a cup. When I tried with about 1/3 of a cup the colour was much lighter.
All about the dough
Once the cocoa has fully incorporated through the dough, you’ll want to check the consistency and adjust as necessary. It should feel like play-doh: soft, yet still firm enough that it holds its shape. You should be able to roll it out without any cracks appearing and the cookies should lift away from the cookie-cutter without the dough tearing or crumbling.
If it’s too dry, add a little water until the consistency is right. If its too wet you can add more plain flour.
When rolling cookie dough, I always try and get anywhere from 1/4 to 1 inch thick. The thickness will determine the type of cookie you want to make. 1/4 inch thickness will be a more firm crunchy cookie, and a 1 inch thick will yield a chewy centre.
Of course, cooking time will the chewiness will also depend on your cooking time, so nailing the thickness and the cookie time is crucial for the perfect cookie. try a few different thickness and cooking times to find what works best with your oven.
If you are like me and don’t have a dedicated large surface for rolling dough, you can find any flat surface like a bench or dining table and lay down some baking paper and weights to keep the paper in place and roll the dough on this. It makes for easy cleanup and if you use enough weights, the paper will not move. You can also use a silicone baking mat.
I use this one for both baking, decorating and rolling.
I tested a few baking times for my sugar cookies and found that at 8-9 minutes they were perfect and chewy with no dryness. At 11 minutes they were starting to taste a little dry but still retained chewiness.
At the 7 minute mark, you’ll find the cookies have a very chewy, soft and somewhat reminiscent of cookie dough texture. You don’t want to undercook the cookies too much as it may not hold up to the extra moisture you’ll be adding once you start decorating the cookies.
When you see the shine leave your cookie dough, you know they are just about ready to take out, depending on the level of chewiness you desire. They will feel very soft to the touch and will not seem ready when they actually are. Like all good cookies, they will need 2-5 minutes to harden.
Once your cookies come out of the oven, leave them for 1-2 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Do not stack the cookies on top of each other at this point as they will still feel soft. Even after they start to harden (2-5 minutes) they will still warp if stacked.
You simply cannot beat a perfectly shaped cookie that not only looks amazing, but tastes great too! These chocolate sugar cookies are guaranteed to be a hit for any occasion. These are perfect for decorating for holidays, wedding favour or even gifts for baby showers and birthdays. We recommend decorating with royal icing for a refined effect. Or if you don’t want the overly sweet taste of icing, you can use a flavoured buttercream or jam.
Store your sugar cookies in an air tight container for a couple of weeks un-iced. Or iced cookies will last around a week. You can also freeze these cookies un-iced for a couple of months. Simply leave at room temperature to defrost.
See below for our chocolate sugar cookie recipe card. It’s printable so you can print it off and store it in your recipe books for easy reference.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
- Electric Mixer
- 1 egg
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 3 cup plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup butter leave in room temp for around 30 -60 minutes to soften.
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- .5 cup cooking cocoa
- preheat oven to 175 degrees Celcius
- Add the caster sugar and softened butter into a bowl and cream together for at least 3-4 minutes.
- Add vanilla extract and egg, scrape sides of the bowl and beat until mixed
- Gradually add flour and baking powder to the mix. Slowly add the flour a little at a time. Once incorporated add the cocoa.
- turn out the cookie dough onto a bench lined with baking paper and roll out with a rolling pin. The dough consistency should feel like playdoh. Add a few tsp of water if it feels too dry.
- roll out the dough to about 1/4 - 1 inch thick for a chewy centre. Or if you want it less chewy, roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick or less.
- Bake in the oven for around 7-9 minutes, depending on your cookie thickness. They will feel very soft to touch straight out the oven but will harden up quickly. Don't keep cookies in the oven too long or they won't be chewy.
- Wait at least 1-2 hours before decorating. You don't want your cookies warm and melting the icing.