Chewy Chocolate Sugar Cookies
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
These chocolate sugar cookies are heaven: super chocolaty, perfectly sweet, and nicely balanced with salt. They have a really nice chew thanks to the presence of dark brown sugar. When they bake, they rise; when they cool, they fall, giving them that beautiful, sugar-crusted crackly surface. So simple, so good.
Melissa Weller, one of New York City’s most celebrated bakers, has a new book out: A Good Bake. As I noted in this recent post, this book is a compilation of 15 years of training, working, and note-taking — it’s the book she wishes she had when she was starting out.
Melissa’s desire to teach is evident throughout the book, and apart from its stunning photographs, A Good Bake feels like a high school chemistry book in both its heft and content, a tome loaded not only with recipes but also scientific explanations about the hows and whys of baking.
Take for example the notes in this classic rise-and-fall chocolate sugar cookie recipe. Melissa writes:
“The rise-and-fall process is a result of the baking soda reacting with the cocoa powder and brown sugar before the cookie is set. When the cookies are removed from the oven, they fall, giving them that crackle top. How quickly the cookie rises before it sets up is the key to achieving that finish.“
She goes on: “For these cookies, to ensure they rise quickly, I don’t refrigerate the dough before baking, which causes the cookies to rise more quickly than if the dough were cold.”
I found this note particularly helpful because I am always wanting to chill portioned cookie dough balls before baking, a step that helps prevent spreading and in some cases improves flavor. But this step is unnecessary with this recipe. How. Nice.
Once this batter is mixed, you can portion, roll, and bake right away, which means these cookies — if you get started now — can be in your immediate future.
To me these cookies are perfection: deeply chocolaty, perfectly sweet, and nicely salted. But what differentiates them from other chocolate sugar cookies is the inclusion of dark brown sugar, which, like Sarah Kieffer’s brown sugar cookies, gives them the loveliest chew.
These cookies are irresistible out of the oven, but I like them even better on subsequent days, so don’t be afraid to make them ahead of time. If you’re looking for a homemade gift for the chocolate-lover in your life, look no further. In a lovingly packed tin, these sturdy cookies will travel well.
Happy Baking, Friends! I hope all of your holiday preparations are going well.
PS: Rum Balls: The Best, Easiest, Most Festive Cookie to Make and Gift All Season Long
How to Make Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Here’s the play-by-play: Gather your ingredients.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl:
Whisk to combine, and set aside:
Combine brown sugar and butter in a stand mixer:
Beat until fluffy; then add the dry ingredients:
Mix just until the flour is absorbed:
Portion the dough into 2-tablespoon or 50-gram rounds:
Then coat liberally in sugar:
Bake at 350ºF for 12 minutes. Let cool completely on sheet pans before serving:
I find these to be even more delicious on subsequent days, so don’t be afraid to make them ahead of time:
Melissa Weller’s A Good Bake:Print
Chewy Chocolate Sugar Cookies
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 16 to 18 cookies
From Melissa Weller’s A Good Bake
As always, for best results, measure with a digital scale.
Salt: The only change I have made here is to add twice the amount of salt: 1 teaspoon (6 g) as opposed to 1/2 teaspoon (3 g). I love a cookie with a good balance of salt and sugar, but I also know I have a high salt tolerance, so please use your judgment when deciding how much to use. I do not find these to be the slightest bit salty when I use 6 grams of salt, and I am even using salted butter (which I use for everything).
Cocoa: Melissa’s preferred brand is Valrhona, which is Dutch-processed, though she says you can use whatever cocoa powder you have on hand. I have been using Droste’s cocoa in this recipe, which is also Dutch-processed. In Sarah Keiffer’s chocolate sugar cookie recipe in her new book 100 Cookies, Dutch-processed cocoa is called for, so if you have both Dutch-processed and natural on hand, go for the Dutch-processed.
That said, I swear by Hershey’s cocoa powder for my favorite fudgy brownies, and I will give that a go in this recipe next time around… stay tuned.
Scoop/Scale: If you have a 2-tablespoon scoop, that will help when portioning the dough balls. I am uncharacteristically fussy about portioning cookie dough balls, and I always weigh the balls to ensure each is identical. Here, each dough ball should weigh 50 grams.
- 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (43 g) cocoa powder, see notes above
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking soda
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (3 – 6 g) sea salt, see notes above (I use 6 g)
- 16 tablespoons (226 g) softened butter
- 1.5 cups (300 g) dark brown sugar
- 1 egg (50 g)
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) vanilla extract
- granulated sugar for rolling, 1/4 to 1/2 cup (50 to 100 g)
- Heat the oven to 350ºF.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine the ingredients. Set aside.
- Put the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the mixer once or twice, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Turn off the mixer, add the egg and vanilla, and beat until the egg is thoroughly incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until no flour is visible, stopping to scrape down the mixer once during the process.
- Pour the granulated sugar into a small bowl. Portion out the dough using a 2-tablespoon scoop or measure or a scale — each portion should weigh 50 grams. You should have about 16 to 18 balls total. Roll each portion between your hands to form a ball; then roll in the sugar — coat each ball as generously as you are able to in the sugar. Transfer 6 balls to the prepared sheet. Bake for 12 minutes; remove from heat and allow cookies to cool completely on the sheet pan. Repeat this process, baking 6 cookies at a time.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: chocolate, sugar, cookies, simple, Christmas
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
119 Comments on “Chewy Chocolate Sugar Cookies”
These are absolutely incredible. Definitely one of the best cookies I have ever made. Thanks for the recipe!!!
So nice to hear this, Adrianne! Thanks for writing!
I made these & my coworkers raves about them, even asked for the recipe!
Great to hear, Jenn! Thanks for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
Just as described- I used 1/2 Dutch and 1/2 natural cocoa.
Great to hear, Lynn! Thanks for writing 🙂
Can you use this recipe when using cookie cutters? Or will they not hold their shape? I don’t love sugar cookies, I LOVE chocolate, but want to make some fun Christmas cookies with my son.
Hi Amber! I don’t think these will hold their shape unfortunately … I’m sorry! I think a chocolate shortbread recipe might work with cutters. I’ll keep an eye out!
Thank you! That’s what I figured but I’m still going to try this recipe!!!
16 table spoon what can’t say a cup?
These are great cookies. I mean, really great cookies. I’ve used only dutched cocoa so far. Given the amount of soda, I bet natural cocoa will quite a different taste profile.
So glad you like this, Rik! Good point about the soda and natural cocoa powder.
Wanted to report that these are great fresh, great a day old, and great used for ice cream sandwiches. A keeper! We made them half size, chose not to roll in sugar, and baked for 7-8 minutes.
Wonderful to hear, Charlene! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes. LOVE the ice cream sandwich idea 🙂 🙂 🙂
Ali, wow, another winning recipe! These are easy to make and so darn deliciously irresistible with lots of deep dark chocolatey appeal. Yum! I baked these for a family gathering and it’s going to require all of my willpower not to eat the whole batch. Thank you so much for another perfect recipe!
Great to hear this, Diane 🙂 🙂 🙂 I love these so much and also find them completely irresistible. So glad you approve. Thanks for writing!
Just made these to take to my fellow teachers tomorrow. I used half Hershey’s Regular cocoa powder and half of the special dark. Wonderful!
Great to hear, Elaine! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 : )
Delicious! I’ve been saving this recipe for quite a while and I finally tried it. I would put this recipe in my top ten for favorite cookies. I will be making these often! Also super quick and easy, using ingredients you probably already have.
Wonderful to hear this, Mona! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
This is my absolute favorite cookie now. I used unsalted butter, Regular cocoa, and 1 teaspoon salt. I rolled them in half cup of raw sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. They are super delicious! Thank you for this recipe.
Great to hear, Anna! Thanks so much for writing. These are a favorite of mine as well 🙂 🙂 🙂
Ohhhh I wished I had seen your post a little earlier, the cinnamon/sugar combo sounds great but I’m pulling my last cookie pan out of the oven in another minute!! Oh well, there will definitely be a next time! Thanks for the great tip! 🙂
I’m going to try my best to turn this into a cookie cake tomorrow. Wish me luck!
Good luck 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉
I’m pulling these out of the oven as I post this. I used a small scooper so my cookies are a uniform 2.75″ each and I made 40 cookies. The first dozen are already half gone and I didn’t roll those in sugar just to test them out and apparently they’re pretty darn good plain as my half empty cooling rack can attest…lol I’ve rolled the rest in sugar because for my taste, they needed that extra sweetness to them. Because they’re smaller in size than the recipe, I’ve only baked them for 10 min. This recipe is really quite easy to whip up and bake so they’re a ‘go-to’ for us! They’re delicious and my family loves them!! This recipe is a keeper for us! Thanks! 🙂
Great to hear, Dee! I love the idea of making smaller cookies here. Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes. Happy Baking!
These are amazing cookies! I always add a new cookie to my Christmas gifts and this was the new one and oh my goodness!!! These are truly incredible! I made them into scoopable drops and rolled them in the sugar and some cinnamon sugar and know that they will be a huge hit! Thanks for sharing!
So nice to hear this!! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes. Cinnamon sounds wonderful 🙂
These cookies are excellent! I made many batches to gift for the holidays. Highly recommend.
So nice to hear this, Dawn! Thanks for writing 🙂
Can you make these with a hand-held mixer?
oh these are GOOD. they taste exactly like I wanted them to from seeing the picture. so chewy and yummy. I made the first 6 with the 2tbsp /50g scoop measurement and they were big (didn’t stop me from eating three of them though)…I made the rest with 1tbsp/25g and baked then for 9.5 minutes and they are a really nice size and so so so perfectly flavored. I’ll be making these over and over.
So nice to hear this, Bryanna! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes regarding scoop size and timing… so helpful!
These are delicious and turned out beautifully even though I didn’t bother to roll in sugar (I don’t prefer that sugar-coated texture). But, I wish they had more intense chocolate flavor (used Valrhona cocoa powder). Has anyone tried subbing more cocoa powder for flour, would that be too bitter? Any other ideas? Thanks!
Hi can I roll these in sanding colored sugar instead of regular sugar so they can be colorful for Christmas?
Sure! Merry Christmas!
I made this recipe and they were delicious. Easy to make, and they came out exactly as promised.
I did add a twist, as I made them with WIO smart flour, Purecane brown sugar, and white sugar. These did not affect the texture or taste. What it did affect is the cookies had ZERO carbs, and the calories per cookie went from 242 to 157 a 35% reduction in addition to eliminating the carbs.
I credit the strength and simplicity of the recipe along with the availability of the substitute flour and sugar. I look forward to adapting more of these great recipes.
Wow, Joe, amazing! Thanks so much for writing and sharing these notes. Great to read and helpful for others.
These are truly the perfect cookie! Crisp around the edges, yet soft and fudgey in the middle. I only baked 6 and put the rest of the dough balls in the freezer for future me 😊
Will definitely be making this recipe again and again!
Great to hear, Sam! It’s so nice having cookie dough balls in the freezer. Thanks so much for writing 🙂
These are glorious – though I just noticed I missed the bit about using sea salt and used table salt, so they were a teensy bit too salty. Next time I will probably use table salt but cut down by maybe 1/4 tsp. Beyond that flub which was totally my fault, I loved them. When the dough was finished I weighed it and had 865g of dough, so divided by 18 cookies was 48g each.
Great to hear, Carrie! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes. Hope you had a wonderful holiday!
These are the perfect cookie! Crunchy and chewy. Deeply chocolate. Thanks so much for sharing yet another absolute winner! Merry Christmas!
Great to hear, Allison! Merry Christmas 🙂 🙂 🙂
Oh my goodness I just made these and they are amazing! Perfect texture and flavor. This is definitely one of my new faves. My husband will love them!
Great to hear, Kay! Thanks so much for writing 🙂
amazing! so simple and so quick. i cant believe how fudgy they are with just cocoa powder. i think the brown sugar base works magic. definitely a go to recipe now 🙂
Great to hear, Megan 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks so much for writing.
I followed your recipe to a T. I love the size and the extra salt. They are really perfect and my whole family loved them. The biggest problem…it’s really hard not to eat them all at once!
So nice to read this, Suzanne 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks so much for writing.
Love these cookies. However, can you explain why baking soda is used here with cocoa that is Dutch processed ? (Droste is Dutch processed). If using Dutch processed, can we substitute baking powder? Thanks!!
Stephanie, this is a great question, and I think the answer is yes, though I haven’t experimented so I can’t say for sure. I don’t know how to advise in terms of quantities because baking soda is 4x as strong as baking powder. It might take a trial or two to get right. I can’t imagine using more than 2 teaspoons of baking powder here. If you give it a go, please report back. Good luck!