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The Softest Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Yields Makes about 2 dozen cookies, depending on the shape     adjust servings

These chocolate sugar cookies are seriously the softest you will ever have! They are packed with chocolate flavor and are perfect with a thick schmear of buttercream frosting and sprinkles. Cream cheese in the dough is the secret to super soft sugar cookies.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 and 1/4 cups flour, spooned and leveled

For spider web cookies

  • black decorating icing
  • #1, 2, 3, or 5 tip

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it is soft and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the softened cream cheese and continue to beat for 1 minute, until well incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom.
  3. Add the sugar and beat well, 1-2 minutes, until fluffy.
  4. Add the egg, vanilla, and coconut extract. Beat well. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. This is my spatula that I love and use for every baking project.
  5. Add salt , cocoa, and flour, and beat until just barely combined, scraping the sides and bottom again. Do not stir too much or you will make your dough tough. The dough is pretty sticky!
  6. Scrape the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap (or into a ziplock or tupperware). Cover or wrap tightly and put it in the fridge for 2 hours (or overnight) or in the freezer for 1-2 hours. (If I am in a hurry I will split the dough in half and wrap separately so that it will chill faster.)
  7. When the dough is completely chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Line 2-3 baking sheets with silpat baking mats or parchment paper.
  9. Prepare a work surface by spraying your counter lightly with nonstick spray. If you have extra silicone mats, roll the dough out on those and skip the spray. You don't want to roll these out in flour, because you will see white flour on your cookie when it's baked. You can also try rolling it out between two sheets of parchment paper.
  10. If you have not already split the dough in half, do so now. Put any dough that you are not working with in the fridge.
  11. Spray your hands if necessary and flatten out the dough, then use a rolling pin to roll it and smooth it out a little bit. Don't go too crazy here, remember we want the cookies to be THICK, about 3/8 inch. I actually busted out the measuring tape for this step. No crisp cookies, please.
  12. Lightly dust your chosen cookie cutters with cocoa powder, if necessary. (I skip this step unless I am using a very small or intricate cookie cutter.)
  13. Press firmly into the dough, utilizing your space wisely. Use your finger or a knife (depending on the shape) to wipe away the excess cocoa/dough on the outer edge of the cookie cutter before pushing them out onto the pan. This helps you get clean lines.
  14. Place the shaped dough on the prepared baking sheet. If you are using multiple cookie cutter shapes, bake all of the same shape on the same pan. Otherwise your smaller cookies will get over baked. Leave at least 1 inch in between each cookie.
  15. If you've taken long enough that your shaped cookies are no longer chilled, place the baking sheet in the fridge or freezer for a couple minutes. It's really important that they go into the oven cold. Even 5 minutes in the fridge makes a difference.
  16. Scrape together the excess dough and knead it together once or twice (as little as possible), then roll it out again to 3/8. Don't overwork the dough! (It will get tough.) Continue until the dough is gone. Refrigerate the dough as necessary. They should go into the oven cold.
  17. Bake the shaped cookies at 350 for about 9 minutes for smaller cookies, and about 10-11 minutes for larger cookies. Do NOT over bake. Take the cookies out of the oven when the shine on top of each cookie has just barely disappeared.
  18. Leave the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack for a couple minutes before moving to a tupperware. Cover until they are completely cooled and you are ready to frost.
  19. Frost cookies with buttercream icing! << this recipe calls for a few different kinds of extracts, but since there is already so much flavor in a chocolate cookie, I just used an equivalent amount of vanilla (2 teaspoons).
  20. For the Spider Web Cookies: Attach a tip to black decorating icing and draw the webs according to the photos shown above. (Or you could make your own chocolate icing.) For the thinner looking webs shown above, I used a #1 tip. For the thicker webs, I used a #5 tip.

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