Chocolate Sugar Cookies made with Dutched Cocoa are the perfect canvas for a high quality Dutched cocoa, chewy and gently bittersweet. These pictures and notes were updated in September 2019.
I have had a conflicted relationship with Valrhona cocoa powder. I mean, people whose baking I respect worship this stuff, so what the heck is wrong with me, a chocolate connoisseur, that I consistently prefer a natural cocoa powder like Scharffenberger? [Update 9/2019: I used to consider this a confusing flaw. Now I just know I prefer natural cocoa, which to me has a stronger chocolate flavor. I have learned to love Dutched cocoa in some preparations though.] Dutched cocoa brownies do not taste like brownies to me, but natural cocoa based brownies are my favorite brownie. Whatever the reason, I have never cared much for any Dutched cocoas in baked goods (as far as I can remember these Dark Chocolate Cupcakes are the sole exception–but they also have chocolate in them).
I have been itching to bake something, preferably with the kids, but knew I did not want more sweets in the house since I still have citrus shortbread from my Christmas cookie experimenting the previous week (that recipe to come when I am sure it is perfected). When the Giant Chocolate Sugar Cookies arrived in my (email) mailbox, I thought they looked perfect: simple with a wide appeal (chocolate plus homemade plus sugar cookie), I figured we would make them and send them into John’s work.
I updated these photos in September 2019. The colors of the cookies vary slightly due to using different Dutched cocoas (result: I know I prefer Valrhona!). Any pictures with am aqua table background are the updated photos.
Loaded with a half cup of Valrhona cocoa powder, these cookies are to die for. Radically different from any other chocolate cookie I have made, probably because of the Dutched cocoa powder which I normally avoid, these cookies are unique and addictive.
I followed the recipe quite closely, but I tried mixing in mini chocolate chips and sprinkling coarse sugar on the cookies [in 2019 I also added coarse sea salt, which we loved]. Neither of these changes were strictly necessary, but I do think both upped the ante even more, making these cookies just perfect. I also made the cookies smaller than Martha calls for, mostly because I do not have a big enough scoop–but I tried a perfect scoop, a rounded scoop, and 2 scoops, with my size-24 disher–I liked the results of rounded scoops the best and adjusted the baking times accordingly.
Very closely adapted from Martha Stewart. Having made this recipe twice, I believe a good quality cocoa powder really makes a difference here. I definitely recommend Valrhona the most of the Dutched cocoas I have tried.
- 1 1/2 cups (190 AP flour
- 1/2 cup good-quality unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder–I used Valrhona
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips optional
- coarse sugar for sprinkling on cookie dough optional
- coarse sea salt, optional, for sprinkling
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Put butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and add sugar. Beat again until light and fluffy. Repeat scraping as needed.
Add egg and vanilla; mix until creamy. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions (scrape in between them) and mix until just combined. Fold in the mini chocolate chips by hand.
Cover dough with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for 30 or more minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Using a 2 inch ice cream scoop or size-24 disher, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, 6 cookies per sheet. Using your hand, quickly and gently pat them slightly flat. Sprinkle coarse sugar (I used Swedish pearl sugar in the later pics) on top of the cookie dough and coarse sea salt if desired (the later pictures have sea salt).
Bake until edges are firm, 12-15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 2 days.
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