Chocolate sugar cookies with buttercream frosting and sprinkles! Half dozen chocolate sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day dessert for two.
I’ve been working on the perfect chocolate sugar cookie for so long, that when I finally nailed it, I felt like I deserved to sit on the couch and eat three of them. And so I did. What??–I’m not doing Whole 30, you are.
I typically avoid talking to people during January because most people want to talk about their current diet. Whenever someone starts talking about a diet, all I can think about is cookies. And then I wonder, silently in my head, when was the last time they ate a cookie?
For me, the perfect chocolate sugar cookie has a crackly surface (excess sugar and a slightly acidic dough with baking soda causes cracks, did you know?), a good chewy bite, and a deep chocolate flavor.
I do a few things to amp up the chocolate flavor. A little trick that I learned from Queen Ina to make my chocolate desserts even better is to always add vanilla and coffee. You won’t taste explicitly vanilla or coffee; you’ll just taste a richer chocolate flavor.
I use instant espresso powder in these cookies–not a lot, just a 1/2 teaspoon for the whole batch. You won’t taste the coffee, but it will taste richer. It’s magic.
These cookies are good on their own (and honestly, that’s how I eat them most of the time), but a little frosting never hurt anyone.
Variations on chocolate sugar cookies:
If I’m not frosting these chocolate sugar cookies, however, I love to chop up a 3-ounce chocolate bar and stir it into the dough. With the frosting, though, it just seems a bit excessive so I leave it out. But if excessive cookies are your thing (hi, let’s be friends!), please do it.
Plus, I feel like you have a little more wiggle room to be excessive when you’re only making a half dozen cookies. I have a part-time business coming up with good reasons why it’s okay for you to eat more dessert. I’m available as a life coach, too, did you know? (I hope you know I’m kidding!)
Also, if you’re looking for plain small batch sugar cookies, I have you covered there, too.
I’m having trouble finding super cute Valentine’s Day sprinkles in January (ugh, diets!), so I ended up combining jars of sprinkles in my pantry. I love the size range here–big hearts, tiny red and pink dots, white balls, and the tiniest foil stars and hearts. It’s a good mix. The only problem is, I have a 1/2 cup leftover. But, we have 5 weeks until Valentine’s Day, so I think we can come up with ways to use them.
This recipe uses only 1 egg yolk. Check out my list of recipes that use an extra egg white!
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup milk
- For rolling: 1/4 cup sugar (coarse or fine)
For the frosting:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- In a small bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy with a hand-held mixer, about 1 minute.
- Next, add the vanilla, espresso powder and egg yolk, and beat until combined.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda.
- Add half the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and beat a few seconds to combine, before adding half the milk. Repeat with the remaining dry mixture and milk.
- Have the sugar ready in a shallow bowl on the side.
- Press the dough flat into the bowl, and divide it in half by eye. You should get 3 dough balls from each half.
- Scoop the dough balls out with a cookie scoop into the bowl of sugar, and roll to coat in sugar.
- Space the dough balls evenly on the baking sheet, and bake for 13-14 minutes, until the edges are the cookies are set.
- Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cookies are cool: make the frosting. Beat together all frosting ingredients (except sprinkles) until light and fluffy, adding more milk as needed to achieve a spreadable frosting.
- Frost the cookies, decorate with sprinkles, and serve.