Christmastime is synonymous with cookie cutter cookies. Crispy Chocolate Cookie Cutter Cookies are a simple and inexpensive way to add a special touch to a deliciously classic cookie. Besides, who doesn’t love playing with cookie cutters and icing at Christmastime!?
It’s day 4 of Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas series, and today’s feature is Crispy Chocolate Cookie Cutter Cookies. Cookie cutter cookies have been a regular part of Christmastime sweets and treats all of my life. I remember how they were planted on the table in the colourful tin they were bought in; don’t you?
What? Your parents made cookie cutter cookies from scratch? Mine didn’t. I’ve said it a million times that my mom was a great cook and baker. But, in all of my lifetime, she never once ventured to make her own cookie cutter cookies.
Both of my parents worked. In addition to being a mom of three, she also needed to go to work every day. There was never a time that we didn’t have delicious cookies in our kitchen. But, she never did mess around with cookie cutters. Shortcuts were sought out and expected in almost everything she did.
COOKIE CUTTERS ARE SYNONYMOUS WITH CHRISTMAS
Cookie cutter cookies were never eaten throughout the year. I can only remember eating them at Christmastime. They always came packaged in a tin can that would be later used for storage. Usually, it was buttons or another cookie recipe that mom would make later in the New Year. Sometimes, that tin would hold a cake as well. You could always find them stored in the basement in the deep freezer.
You know the tin I’m talking about, right? It was the vibrant purplish-blue round tin with the gold accents. The brand was Royal Dansk Danish Butter Cookies. There were pictures on the lid of the various cookies (butter cookies) inside. And a lovely image of what looked to be an English Countryside manner. Every time we go shopping for antiques, I see these tins everywhere.
I know those were in fact shortbread cookies. They were the only cookies I knew to be cookie cutter cookies as a child. In my adult years, I took to making my own cookie cutter cookies. I don’t save them just for Christmastime, but throughout the year or whenever the mood hits me. In some instances, I will colour the cookie dough with food colouring. It creates a festive cookie to fit a particular occasion.
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE:
FOR THE COOKIES
- Butter – Make sure your butter is at room temperature! To be perfectly honest, I have made these with both salted and unsalted butter and there’s no difference in taste or appearance once all is said and done. Use what you have on hand.
- Sugar – Sugar will caramelize when baked, which will help to brown cookies and cakes. In cookies, the sugar will help the dough to spread, and will create a crispness to the bottom of the cookie.
- Egg – One large egg is all you need. Whenever you set out to bake, make sure your eggs are at room temperature too – just like your butter!
- Vanilla Extract – Probably the most common extract and the most common flavouring used in cakes and cookies. You can substitute vanilla extract for coffee extract in this recipe. It’s so good!
- Flour – No need for anything special. Just use regular all-purpose flour. I have not tried this recipe with any other type of flour.
- Cocoa Powder – Cocoa powder is an unsweetened chocolate product which adds deep chocolate flavor to desserts and beverages. Use a good quality cocoa powder, not the kind we used to stir into milk as kids! If you don’t have dark, you can use regular cocoa.
- Baking Powder – This is used to increase the volume of the batter and to add texture as well.
FOR THE ICING
- Egg White – Use a large egg to get the right amount of egg white.
- Confectioner’s Sugar – This superfine sugar is sometimes called powdered sugar. It’s uses in frostings quite often. When dusted lightly onto cakes and cookies, it adds just a touch of sweetness, but more importantly, it looks very visually appealing!
- Cream of Tartar – Helps to stabilize whipped egg whites, prevents sugar from crystallizing, and acts as a leavening agent for baked goods.
- Milk – When a baking recipe requires milk, I always use whole milk, unless otherwise stated.
MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all one page!
A LITTLE BIT EXTRA CAN MAKE SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL
As much as we all love the simplicity of a good cookie cutter cookie, at times, they can seem rather dull and unimaginative. That is why I like to add a few ingredients to make them more special. In this particular case, I’m using my moose and squirrel cookie cutters and a little bit of help from some homemade royal icing.
Of course you can use whatever cookie cutter you prefer. Keep in mind that the size of the cookie cutter will determine how many cookies each batch of dough will yeild.
When you get to the point of decorating the cookies with the royal icing, you can use colour. If using a liquid food colouring, please be carefu. The liquid colouring will offset the consistency of the royal icing and maybe make it a little too runny.
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
In some cases, we want more than a cookie. That’s why I have two more Christmas-themed collections you might want to consider. The first, is my 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas, and the second is my 12 Biscotti of Christmas. Click on the image below to see each collection all on one page with links to each recipe!
THE BEST ICING TO USE FOR OUTLINING
To avoid this, try using only a gel type food colouring. If you only have access to a liquid type, then hold back on 1/2 a teaspoon of the milk in the recipe for the royal icing. If you need the milk, add it at the end.
To be completely honest, you don’t really need to bother with the royal icing at all. With the little amount you’re using, it will not change the taste of the cookie all that much. However, I did mention at the beginning of this post that cookie cutter cookies are a great way to add a little extra glam and festivity to an otherwise simple and rustic cookie recipe.
Since Crispy Chocolate Cookie Cutter Cookies are basically butter, sugar, flour, and cocoa, it’s important to use a really good cocoa powder. I don’t mean good as in expensive, I mean good as in dark. A good, dark cocoa powder will give you deeper chocolate flavour. This is a chocolate cookie, so that’s exactly what you want!
These cookies are crispy. They will make crumbs and a snapping noise when you break them. And, even though they are simple, they can taste quite rich. If you love chocolate and cookie cutters, you’re going to love this recipe.
Cut them any way you like. Use festive cookie cutters like trees, snowflakes, or stars – and, of course, moose and squirrels! And, if by some chance cookie cutter cookies are not your thing, don’t fret, I’ll be back tomorrow with the fifth cookie recipe in Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas series!
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
These cookies will stay fresh for about 3-5 days in a covered container and in a cool place. But, if you plan to freeze these cookies, use a food-safe container that can be frozen. You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that cookie freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. They will come out of the freezer looking just like they did when you put them in there. However, since freezing adds a bit of moisture exposure, the cookies will not be as crispy. They will still be firm and delicious though! To properly thaw them, lay them in a single layer on a cooling rack and wait about 20-25 minutes.
Crispy Chocolate Cookie Cutter Cookies
For the Cookies:
- 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the Icing:
- 1 large egg white
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons whole milk
- In a mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer to beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat into the butter until well combined.
- Add the egg and the vanilla and beat into the butter mixture.
- Next, add the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder, and with the mixer on low speed, blend into the butter mixture just until the flour is incorporated.
- Divide the cookie dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Remove the cookie dough from fridge and roll dough a 1/4 inch thick between two sheets of parchment paper. Cut out desired shapes.
- Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a full 10 minutes of the baking sheet before transferring to wire cooling rack. DO NOT REMOVE THE COOKIES FROM THE BAKING SHEET UNTIL A FULL 10 MINUTES HAS PASSED.
- Roll out the rest of the dough and start again. Repeat until all dough has been used.
- When the cookies are completely cooled, prepare the royal icing by beating all ingredients together until the icing is smooth and glossy.
- Transfer icing to a piping bag fitted with a writing tip and slowly outline the shape of the cookie.
- Allow the icing to harden before stacking. Can be left on the counter top in a food safe container for 5-7 days.