The best chocolate cut out cookie recipe that tastes like a rich chocolate brownie. No need to chill the dough, and the cookies don’t spread. Enjoy them plain or iced!

chocolate cut out cookies on a cooling rack with the text best chocolate cut out cookies

Santa’s favorite cookie just got a sweet, chocolate update! Our favorite Best Sugar Cookie Recipe EVER goes viral every year for a reason- there is no need to chill the dough before rolling, and the cookies do not spread when you bake them.

We have been working on the Best Chocolate Cut Out Cookie recipe for years, trying to bring you the best, no-fuss chocolate dough with the same no-chill, no-spread qualities that taste like a rich chocolate brownie. We are happy to report that we’ve finally nailed it!

chocolate cut out cookie dough rolled out and cut with traditional cookie cutter shapes like gingerbread man, tree, star, and snowflake

Chocolate Cut Out Cookie Recipe

These cookies are so delicious that you can enjoy them plain or iced. It’s hard not to sneak pieces of dough while rolling them out! They can go by many different names; what do you call them?

Brownie Cut Out Cookies, Brownie Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Cut Out Cookies, Chocolate Roll-Out Cookies, or something else?

chocolate cut out cookies on top of sprinkles

No-chill, No-spread Cookie Recipe

Many have suggested that you swap out a cup of flour in traditional cut out sugar cookies for an equal amount of cocoa powder. In our experience, that strategy resulted in a bland cookie. Other chocolate variations resulted in a sticky dough that needed to be chilled or that spread while baking.

Our Best Chocolate Cut Out Cookie recipe uses a combination of unsweetened cocoa and unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa. The most widely available is HERSHEY’S Unsweetened Cocoa Powder along with HERSHEY’S Special Dark Baking Cocoa Powder. You can use one or the other, but for the best results, we suggest using 1/3 cup of each.

This recipe also uses a combination of unsalted butter (not margarine) and vegetable shortening (like Crisco), an extra egg for moisture, and espresso powder for a depth of flavor. Your cookies will not taste like coffee. Espresso powder brings out the chocolate flavor in baked goods.

Traditional Christmas cookie shapes in a chocolate cookie shown on a cooling rack

Chocolate Cut Out Cookie Troubleshooting and FAQ

My cookies are still spreading; what did I do wrong?

The recipe calls for room temperature butter (not necessarily softened butter). You should be able to dent the butter slightly by pressing your finger to it. Your finger should not be able to make a significant mark into the butter or press through to the bottom. See this butter visual from Bridget Edwards on the Pioneer Woman website.

We suggest removing your butter from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before baking. Chop the butter into chunks or cubes. During this time, you can gather and measure your other ingredients, and then your butter should be ready to use.

More cookie spreading troubleshooting:

Invest in a small kitchen scale. To get the most consistent results, it truly is imperative that you measure your flour by weight. One cup of all-purpose flour weighs 120 grams. By scooping and leveling flour with a standard US measuring cup, you can average up to 150 grams. Times that by 3 or 4, and you are talking a significant difference from what a recipe calls for.

The dough is ready when it pulls away from the sides of your mixer. This may take an extra 30 seconds to 1 minute of mixing than you initially think is necessary. The dough should be a Play-Doh consistency. When prepared correctly, it will not even stick to the rolling pin when rolling out the dough. Feel free to use flour or cocoa to dust your work surface if desired.

Be sure your baking powder is not expired- an easy fix!

Make sure that your house is not too warm. Especially on days when you are doing a lot of holiday baking for many hours, your house can get pretty warm/humid. Open a window if possible.

One of our favorite chocolate cookies is the Lila Loa Chocolate Cookie recipe. Georganne also has a helpful post about how to stop cookie spread that she is allowing us to share with you.

chocolate cut out cookies shown on a red platter with a mug of hot chocolate and golden jingle bells

Can the cookies or cookie dough be frozen?

Chocolate Cut Out Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an air-tight container for 7-10 days.

You can freeze this cookie dough for up to 6 months.

Baked cookies can be frozen for 6 months as well. For best results, freeze them unfrosted, wrapped in an air-tight container.

Can I prepare the dough in advance and chill it?

This is a no-chill recipe; however, you can wrap it tightly with plastic wrap in two discs and chill for up to 2-3 days. Bring the dough close to room temperature for 15-20 minutes when ready to cut out cookies. If you plan on preparing the dough in advance, we suggest reducing the amount of flour to 3 cups (360 grams).

three stacks of chocolate cut out cookies on a red platter- trees, snowflakes, and mini snowflakes

What frosting should I use for Chocolate Cut Out Cookies?

These chocolate cookies truly do taste like a brownie, so feel free to leave them plain.

We prefer a “crisping American buttercream” when frosting these cookies. Try our famous Christmas Cookie Frosting.

We also suggest Small Batch Royal Icing or a simple chocolate glaze.

Are these cookies soft or crispy?

Baking these Chocolate Sugar Cookies at 375 degrees F for 7-9 minutes will result in soft cookies.

Baking these Chocolate Sugar Cookies at 375 degrees F for 9-11 minutes will result in crispy cookies.

All bake times presume rolling cookie dough to 1/4 thickness and using standard, medium-sized cookie cutters (about 2-3 inches width).

Can these cookies be made gluten-free?

Yes, these cookies can be made gluten-free. Be sure to cross-check all of your ingredients. We like to use cup-for-cup King Arthur gluten-free flour.

Traditional Christmas cookie shapes in a chocolate cookie shown on a cooling rack

Best Chocolate Cut Out Cookie

The best chocolate cut out cookie recipe that tastes like a rich chocolate brownie. No need to chill the dough, and the cookies don't spread. Enjoy them plain or iced!
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed, slightly room temperature (not softened)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, like Crisco, 48 grams, see notes
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 300 grams
  • 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 420 grams
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 65 grams, see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder, or instant coffee granules

Instructions
 

  • PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees F.
  • SIFT or WHISK together flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • CREAM together cubed butter, vegetable shortening, and sugar 2-3 minutes until light in color.
  • STIR together eggs, vanilla, and espresso powder in a small bowl. ADD to the butter and sugar mixture until incorporated.
  • ADD flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time on low to medium speed.
  • CONTINUE mixing until dry ingredients are added, and the dough begins to pull away from the side of the mixing bowl (an extra 30 seconds to 1 minute). The texture should be the consistency of Play-Doh. Add 1-3 more Tablespoons of flour if needed.
  • ROLL out cookie dough to about 1/4 inch thickness on a floured or cocoa surface and cut into desired shapes.
  • BAKE at 375 degrees F for 7-9 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  • FLOUR- It is most accurate to weigh the flour for consistent results.
  • COCOA POWDER- We suggest using a combination of 1/3 cup HERSHEY'S Unsweetened Cocoa Powder and 1/3 cup HERSHEY'S Special Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. 
  • BUTTER- Cube butter and allow to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before mixing. The butter should be room temperature, not softened (meaning you should be able to make a small dent by pressing your finger into the butter, but not press straight through to the bottom).
  • SHORTENING- Using a vegetable shortening, like Crisco, makes for a softer, more tender chocolate cut out cookie. If you don't want to use shortening, you can make an even substitution using 1/4 cup butter. 
  • SALT- The recipe suggests using unsalted butter. If you only have salted butter, you can omit the salt in the recipe if desired.
  • ESPRESSO POWDER- Found in the baking or coffee aisle of most grocery stores. You can swap out with instant coffee granules in a pinch. It is okay to omit, but espresso powder adds a depth of flavor to chocolate baked goods. 
  • SOFT COOKIES- Bake at 375 F for 7-9 minutes
  • CRISPY COOKIES- Bake at 375 F for 9-11 minutes 

Nutrition

Calories: 142kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Sodium: 43mg, Potassium: 44mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 171IU, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @katrinaskitchen on Instagram with the hashtag #katrinaskitchenrecipes

chocolate cut out cookies in Christmas shapes on a wooden try with red and green sprinkles

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