The end of the school year is here! I like to thank people with cookies rather than cards (this should totally be a thing) so I made my daughters' teachers cookies as a thank you for a great year. I had an apple cookie cutter (ya know, apple for teacher) that I thought was cute. I knew I wanted to frost them so that could be red - my daughter's favorite color - and I also wanted something I could roll out. There would be some leftover too so I wanted something my girls would eat. It's a safe bet they will eat anything chocolate so I opted for chocolate sugar cookies. Bonus, the apples had little brown stems all by themselves.
These cookies are very chocolatey without being too sweet. The day they are made they have a pretty strong cocoa flavor but mellow the next day. (So if that is an issue for you, maybe plan to make these the day before). The dough is really easy to work with and you can rework the dough with a only slight difference in texture. The cookies keep their shape so you get a nice crisp image. No apple blobs for me - yay!
You'll notice there is a little bit of shortening in the recipe. Yes, I know, shortening is the devil. I try to mitigate that a bit by using organic shortening. The shortening makes the cookies softer and they stay soft without getting crisp and hard. But if you wanted to use vegetable oil or just use all butter, that would be fine too.
I'm a bit of a notice when it comes to frosting sugar cookies. I admit it, it's a tough skill and time consuming. I keep at it though because they always looks so fun and cute. These cookies helped me out because the design is simple yet elegant (so they don't look like they were decorated by my three year-old this time).
There are many fabulous blog posts out there describing how to decorate a sugar cookie – so I will just say that I decorated these with the floating technique. Or well, I tried. I think they came out pretty well, if I do type so myself. Thankfully my daughters' teachers were very appreciative, which is good because I very much appreciate them.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Super chocolatey sugar cookies that hold their shape. Makes about 2 dozen 2" cookies."
- 1 1/4 cup (150g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (59g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup (32g) cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons (24g) organic shortening
- 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 1 tablespoon meringue powder
- 8 oz confectioners sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tablespoons water
For the cookies:
1. In a medium bowl - combine the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt. Set aside. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or a sil pad.
2. In the bowl of the stand mixer with a paddle attachment - cream the butter, shortening, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add the egg and mix well, scraping down the bowl as needed.
3. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 375°
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4". (It is helpful to roll the dough out between two pieces of wax paper - at least at first). Cut out your shapes and lay out on your prepared cookie sheets. Reroll your scrape dough to cut out more of your shapes. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are firm around the edges and look dry on the surface. Allow the cookies to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before moving them to a rack to cool completely.
For the royal icing:
1. Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or use an electric hand mixer). Beat at low speed until all of the ingredients are combined and then beat at high speed until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes). Add more water if it seems too thick or more sugar if it is not thick enough. Use immediately.
Decorate the cookies and allow to to dry at room temperature for at least 24 hours before storing.