Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

In an attempt to be festive for Valentine's Day, I have been looking for some delicious new recipes to try out.  I came across chocolate sugar cookies and decided this would be perfect.  I found two great recipes and mine is a combination of the two: one from The Joy of Baking and another from Annie's Eats.  I also modified Martha Stewart's royal icing recipe by adding a little flavoring for the frosting.

If you haven't had a chance to try out chocolate sugar cookies, I strongly recommend you do!  They are a beautiful cookie and taste divine.  And although it might look like it takes a long time to make these cookies, they really don't take that long (or maybe the process is just fun and addictive).  They also make gorgeous gifts in a pretty box with a little parchment or tissue paper.  They should keep up to a week.


Chocolate Sugar Cookies:
  • 1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt (a pinch)
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Confectioner's Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated White Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Royal Icing:
  • 4 Cups Confectioner's (Powdered) Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. Meringue Powder (found at craft stores like Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, specialty cake shops or online)
  • 1/2 Cup Warm Water
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • Food Coloring (use gel to not affect the consistency of the icing), as desired

1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder.
2.  With an electric mixer (or your Kitchenaid), beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Then, beat in the vanilla.  
3. Gradually mix in the flour mixture until well-combined.
4.  Divide dough into two balls or discs and wrap with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate 1-2 hours, or until firm. 
5.  Remove half the dough from the refrigerator.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness.  Using your desired cookie cutter shapes, cut out the cookies.  
6.  Transfer the cookies onto a baking sheet.  NoteFor any cookies you do not want to frost, go ahead and sprinkle some colored sugar sprinkles on the cookies before baking. 
7.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Let cool for a few moments on the baking sheet (so you don't mess up the shape) then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  

1.  With an electric mixer (or your Kitchenaid), slowly beat together the confectioner's sugar, meringue powder, warm water, and vanilla.  It's recommended to use a paddle attachment (the flat beater, not a wisk).  Beat on slow for 5-7 minutes, or until the icing is the consistency of thick honey.  If your icing is too thick, add a little more water.  If it is too thin, add a little more confectioner's sugar.
2.  Transfer to separate containers, one for each different color you plan to make.  Stir in food coloring.  Cover icing while not using it to keep the air out.

1.  Using a pastry bag with a small plain tip (I used Wilton #5, but you could also cut a small tip out of the end of a ziploc bag and pipe that way), pipe around the edges of the cookie to create a barrier for the rest of the frosting.  Your piping should be a little firmer consistency that what you'll use to "flood," or completely frost, the cookies.  It shouldn't be too thick that it takes an effort to get out of the bag though.  Let cookies sit for a few minutes to let the icing firm up. Note: I piped all the cookies in white frosting, but you could use the same colors to both pipe and frost the cookies.  
2.  Meanwhile, transfer the icing back to the containers (thin it out a little bit with a little water if you need to).  Using a spoon (that's what I did), or a squeeze bottle, or a plastic bag with a small tip cut out of the end, spread the frosting on the cookie, inside the piping.  It should spread to fill the cookie.  If you have any problems, use a toothpick to help spread the icing.  Let sit for the frosting to set.
3.  I cut a tiny tip in a plastic ziploc bag to do the wording on  my cookies, as I didn't have any Wilton tips smaller than #5 and that was too big for me.  Otherwise, decorate however else you want, with plain dots, words, or sprinkles! Although I didn't do them, check out the adorable marbled hearts, as seen in Annie's Eats.  Have fun and be creative!

Enjoy your beautiful creations!

Setting and Storing Tip: The cookies may take a while to set or dry (a good hour or two).  Once set, store them in an airtight container between layers of parchment or wax paper.  They should store for about a week.

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