I'm gonna be honest here. When I saw these on Pinterest, I didn't think they'd work. If they did work, I figured they would be chalky and dry and gross. Nope and Nope and Nope. They're delicious--almost Oreo-cookie-esque (my humble opinion is that they're better than Oreo-esque). And they absolutely DO keep their shape. My old boring sugar cookies (which I've never managed to perfect btw) just got butt-kicked to the curb.
The secret? It took me a sec to figure it out when I looked over the recipe--we're always blaming butter and what-not for cookies spreading. But no. This has more butter than you'll care to admit and plenty of sugar too. Lots of cocoa? Check. But. But. NO LEAVENING. I mean, it's so obvious, right? If you want a cookie to keep it's shape--you don't add the agent that will make it poof up. As an added bonus, removing the leavening from your cookies is going to keep the flavor more pure because when you add leavening to a baked good, it reacts (which is what makes it leaven and all) and that sometimes causes a flavor change. I don't notice this flavor change in most baked goods, but you know where I do notice it? Sugar cookies. That's why I always love the dough of standard sugar cookies, but end up not really liking the actual baked cookies of standard sugar cookies--the leavening has reacted and created a flavor that I dislike in sugar cookies. Not in these babies. No leavening means no weird taste/aftertaste. These are delicious.
(See those lines, people. This is a cooked cookie. I always wondered why cookie cutter makers even made cookie cutters with those lines that would inevitable blur out in the baking process. Now my lined cookie cutters have new purpose. They thank you, new sugar cookie recipe.)
And, you know what, I'm totally going to try this with my normal sugar cookies--I'm going to see what happens when I take the leavening out. Will the finished product taste just as good as the dough? Let's hope so.
For now, I give you these fabulous chocolate sugar cookies. Not only are they fabulous tasting and un-spreading, they're super simple with only a few ingredients. And they really do taste a lot like the chocolate parts of Oreo cookies. So, naturally, if you want them to taste even more like an Oreo cookie, you're going to frost them with this like we did. You're welcome.
You can also add mints if you want to. Especially for the cookies that your frosted ugly (but delicious) style.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies That Keep Their Shape
Makes 3 dozen
Prep time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Cut time: depends on whether it's just you and the elf on the shelf or if you're including your children in this process; just don't start too late at night with young kids or you'll be ready to rip off some Santa cookie heads in a mad rage before the evening's over. Not that I know from experience or anything
Cook time: 6-8 minutes unless you make these babies thick (which you CAN do because they don't spread--hurray)
Cost: $2.00 (or about $.06/cookie
butter: 1.00, sugar: .20, egg: .10, flour: .20, cocoa: .40, vanilla: .10
1 C butter
1 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
3/4 C cocoa
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix butter and sugar until combined, but you're not going to "cream" it per se (you're not going to beat it until you get a bunch of air in and its light and fluffy because you're trying to avoid that with these cookies).
Add egg and beat in. Add vanilla and beat in.
Combine flour, cocoa, and salt. Beat these into the wet ingredients. Again--don't overmix--just beat until it's combined and kind of clumping together.
Take it and roll it into a ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour (or longer).
When you're ready, flour the table (flour it well, friends) and then roll out your dough. It can be thin or thick--we went for medium and did ours about 1/8 inch thick.
Place on cookie sheet as you get them done. Then place the cookie sheet in the fridge for 10 minutes (Note: This was part of the directions from the original recipe; It was meant to help them hold their shape more perfectly. I followed it for my first two pan-fuls and then ran out of steam and just threw the third pan in the oven when I was done cutting. I did not notice a perceptible difference between the chilled and not-chilled cookies, so if you want to check your anal-retentive at the door, feel free.)
Bake for 6-8 minutes. If your cookies are quite thick, you'll want to add a couple more minute.
Remove from oven. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then take off of cookie sheet (leave too long and they kind of stick and get harder to remove).
Frost or decorate as desired. We had to do this the next day since by 7:30 that night, I was ready to behead some Santas. We used my favorite Vanilla Butter Frosting. You should too. Unless you're dieting. In which case, shame on you for even reading this post, you food porn pervert.