(Dear Readers: The photos for this post are just awful. I’m sorry. I can’t dwell on it. It’s too depressing. Please don’t judge the recipe on the basis of the pictures. The cookies are delicious! Thank you.)
This is my second post for our little band of holiday cookie bakers, affectionately known as the Cookie Freaks. This week’s theme is: Formed and Decorated. Among the group, you’ll find shortbreads, spritz, sandwich cookies, rolls, maybe even a gingerbread house, if the rumors are true!
Not here, of course. I will start out by informing you that I am cookie-decorating-challenged. I’m of the “drag it through some sugar and be done with it” school of decorating. So, I’m keeping it simple this week, and because I think we’re all feeling a bit of a yen for chocolate, I thought it might be fun to take my usual sugar cookie and infuse it with deep, soul-satisfying, chocolatey (is that a word?) flavor. It’s also a wonderful blank canvas for decoration, whether with sparkly sugars, shiny dragees, or even frosting. This is a sturdy, crispy cookie that will travel well and will stand up to the decorating excesses of the most enthusiastic toddler without breaking!
Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1/2 cup dark cocoa
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare a cookie sheet by your choice of (a) lining it with parchment paper; (b) lightly greasing it; or (c) lining it with a silicone baking mat.
In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center. Add the egg, sugar, oil, juice and vanilla to the well. Stir together, then switch to using your hand to combine thoroughly into a firm dough.
Roll out the dough to ¼” thick and cut into shapes with your favorite cookie cutters. Place each raw cookie on a plate of decorative sugar or cookie decor of your choice (sprinkles, jimmies, whatever you like), then place the cookie on the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are set and you can smell chocolate. Allow the cookies to cool in place on the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove them to racks to cool completely.
Use a flavorless vegetable oil (generic vegetable oil, sunflower, safflower, canola, etc.) not olive oil.
You may substitute soy or almond milk, or dairy milk for the orange juice. I wanted to keep this non-dairy.
If you want to decorate the cookies with frosting, just skip the sugar or decor dip prior to baking, and bake them plain. Decorate when the cookies are completely cool. I’m just not that talented. 🙂 I’m not sure where I’d put iced cookies to dry for 24 hours, but if you have the time and space, try this (relatively) easy recipe and technique from TheKitchn.com – a simple milk and powdered sugar icing for us non-pros.
Please visit the rest of the Cookie Freaks crew and see what delights they’ve baked up for you, this week!
Diana Cannone, To Di for Bakery, http://todiforbakery.com/news/
Dianne Simmons, Dianne’s Dishes, http://www.diannesdishes.com/
Judy Chiappini, No Fear Entertaining, http://www.nofearentertaining.blogspot.com/
Mandee Racer Pogue, The Kitchen Wife, http://www.thekitchenwife.net/
Marye Audet-White, Restless Chipotle, http://www.restlesschipotle.com/
Sandy Smith, Eat Real, http://www.weeatreal.com/
Sherri Jo, The Adventures of Kitchen Girl Jo, http://kitchengirljo.blogspot.com/