Chocolate Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Happy December!

I may have said it before, but I’ll say it again – not a fan of sugar cookies! However I learned I am most certainly a fan of Chocolate Cinnamon Sugar Cookies :). These cookies remind me of the brownies I make, but in sugar cookie form and I love it!

Mom’s in town for our annual Mother/Daughter Christmas weekend in Chicago where we do Christmas-y things, enjoy our annual Holiday High Tea at the Drake Hotel, and bake the rest of our Croatian Christmas Cookies. This year my excitement got the best of me thinking of Mom being here and all the friends we’ll be spending time with this weekend, so I got started early on a fun new recipe to share with them! I got even more excited about the decorating… So I love all Holiday baking shows on Food Network – watch them all, love them, obsessed. On one of the shows recently, they were talking about how you can reimagine your cookie cutters and I thought that idea was so creative and fun. One of the cookie cutters they used was a pumpkin one that they altered to work as a Mr. and Mrs. Claus. I then thought about how I wanted to create Santa’s gift bag, and noticed that my apple cookie cutter would work great for that. Before you start this recipe, take a look at what you have and use your imagination to see what you come up with – it’s really fun I promise!

Now I wanna talk about Royal Icing… boy have I been through the ringer with royal icings lately and just can’t seem to ever find one I love – mainly regarding texture for decorating. In the past I’ve gone really simple with just powdered sugar, water and vanilla and I’ve also went the egg white route, but just don’t love how the set up. They are also more shiney, and I prefer a more matted look. So I finally went the meringue route and I will never look back now. It has great flavor, and the texture is amazing. It dries quickly which is great for layering your icing to create more 3D decoration. It dries somewhat hard but is still soft when you bite into it which is also very important. I’m probably super late on the realization of how amazing meringue addition is, but it’s all good because maybe you are too and you’ve been curious how much of a difference it makes.

This recipe below is adapted by Food Network. I’ve added ground cinnamon and espresso powder to create more depth in flavor, but you can easily omit these if you’d like.

Prep Time: 10 minutes // Inactive Time: 1 hour  // Cook Time: 10 minutes // Decorating Time: ~ 1 hour // Yield: ~36 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted

Royal Icing Ingredients:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbs meringue powder
  • 4 tbs water
  1. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the egg and vanilla, beating until well-combined. Lastly, add the melted chocolate and beat until smooth.
  3. Add the flour mixture in two batches, slowly mixing together until incorporated.
  4. Divide the dough in half then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. Remove the dough from the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before rolling, to soften.
  5. Preheat to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/4 of an inch thick and cut into your desired shapes using cookie cutters. Get creative by reusing other cookie cutters – for example I used a pumpkin cutter for Mr. and Mrs. Claus and an apple cookie cutter for Santa’s gift bag. Whoever came up with these ideas is genius – thank you!
  6. Bake the cookies until the tops look dry and no indentation is left when pressed with your finger, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then use a metal spatula to transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
  7. While the cookies bake, prepare your royal icing colors and place them into piping bags until the cookies are cool enough to decorate!

Happy cookie decorating!

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