chocolate cookies, plated

When you come home from work on a Monday night in need of chocolate, sure, it might be easy to run to the store and buy a bag of Oreos (particularly if you were running there anyway to stock up on parchment paper as, ahem, one of us was). But, trust me, this is better.

chocolate cookies

When you are driving down the street the next night, lowering your windows because, aha!, the weather has cooled down and here are the September breezes! and just as your window slides down, it pops off its track and falls deep into the insides of the door, and you think, wow, I could go for a cookie right now, trust me, these are the ones you’ll be glad to have beside you.

chocolate cookie

There aren’t a lot of times these cookies wouldn’t make sense, in fact.

Over the last two days: I ate them Monday night while my brother was visiting, and he let me borrow his camera to decide if I could ever understand it (jury’s still out); I brought some to work the next day for me and Becky, where we finished the small stash before 11 AM and had to make toast to tide us over until lunch; and I ate them with Michele and Wendi last night, while we ate organic pizza and looked at the largest map of Colorado I’ve seen (because, side note: we are going to Denver in ONE WEEK!).

These pretty little cookies are as simple to make as mixing, chilling, rolling and baking, and they turn out soft and sweet and covered in shiny bits of crystallized sugar, which makes them perfect for just about anything, at least in my opinion.

Based on a recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookies for Grammy’s Chocolate Cookies, the product of one contest-winning Anne Feldman who’d inherited them from her grandmother Ivyle Phinney Morrow, my adapted version of these is made with dark chocolate cocoa powder, which creates that they’re-almost-pitch-black look of potting soil, the kind you’d half expect a geranium to pop out of when you set them all on a plate.

They’re good for Mondays, good for Wednesdays, and, this morning, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I hope you’ll give them a shot. One tray out of the oven, it will be worth it. You’ll see.

Dark Chocolate Make-Them-Just-Because Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart

This recipe claims to be easy enough for kids, which it is, but, hello? You have to chill the dough for a whole hour before you get to bake them!? What kid (or yours truly) likes that? So I’m just telling you: the rich and chocolate batter that you absolutely should not eat because it has raw eggs in it? It tastes very good. Be warned.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Raw or sanding sugar, for rolling the cookies

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix to combine. Gradually add the bowl of dry ingredients, combining on low speed until fully incorporated. Smooth dough into a large disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper. Roll dough into 1.5-inch balls and roll them in raw/sanding sugar. Place them on baking sheets about 1.5 inches apart. Bake for about eight minutes. Cool on sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire rack (or, what I did: eat them one by one before sealing them up tightly in a Tupperware container, with a paper towel to keep them soft).

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. Caitlin

    Oh I love cookies like this – just got through a batch of chocolate sugar cookies that were just fabulous. And yes, perfect for all occasions! Oooo, and you’re going to Denver? What’s the plan?

  2. Antonietta

    These look like the perfect Wednesday night-get-me-through-the-rest-of-the-week cookies!!

  3. Lan

    you know i’m all about cookies right? this is so up my alley. however, i am quite concerned by the amount of butter that is needed for it!
    i loved that you compared the end result to the appearance of potted soil. lovely image. :)

  4. The Leftoverist

    Love the comparison to potting soil.

    And I agree–kids are definitely not amenable to waiting an hour before eating cookies. Not my kids, at least. Clearly it’s been awhile since Martha has had little ones around.

  5. Jacqui

    i could totally see a geranium popping out of one of those. and i’d totally still eat it.

  6. Amanda Mae

    mmm. Chocolate is a cure all. It’s amazing, and these look like they will do the trick to cure those Monday blues… or my Wednesday-hump-day. Or any weekday or weekend for that matter.

  7. Alicia

    Before I even read this, I already decided I need them. Mmmmm dark chocolate, MY FAVE. I didn’t even know they made cocoa powder in dark chocolate! I’m so jealous that Becky gets to work with you all the time and eat your deliciousness. (She still needs to try pumpkin.)

  8. The Duo Dishes

    A feeling good feel good treat. Yum!

  9. Michele

    I can provide testimony… they are delicious! Thanks Shanna for not telling your readers exactly how many I ate.

  10. Kim

    Oh Shanna, you and your delicious cookie recipes. I seriously want to make them all, all the time.

  11. Shannalee

    Caitlin, Chocolate sugar cookies sound equally lovely – I am envious! So Denver – it started as one city in a list of maybes that my friend and I might visit, you know, sometime, and became an end-of-September destination when we saw supercheap airfares in June or July. Very excited to see mountains and Pike’s Peak and all that stuff!

    Antonietta, Yes! They are just that, indeed!

    Lan, You raise a very good point about the butter. It is a lot! However, this batch yields a heck of a lot of cookies – I only made half the dough Monday and that gave me four sheets’ full. Does that make it a little better?

    Leftoverist, Thank you! And HA about the chilling time – right? What kid wants that?

    Jacqui, LOL. And me, too!

    Amanda, All of the above! Chocolate is wonderful.

    Alicia, And bonus – dark chocolate is supposed to be sort of good for you, right? I mean, I realize it might not be the same with cocoa powder, but, I still rationalize.

    DD, Yes!

    Michele, I’m so glad you guys liked them! And if you only knew how many I put away on my way to your place and on the way home and since, well, you’d know there’s no shame in enjoying yourself (not that you had so many with your, what, two?).

    Kim, Well, my friend, you should! At least these!

  12. lo

    Oh, definitely — what ills can a great chocolate cookie fail to heal? I think you were totally justified with these. And I’m tucking that recipe in my back pocket for later :)

  13. Wendi

    I was hoping these would show up on the blog soon. I LOVED them!! (and the other ones, but I will try to be patient…. )

  14. jessiev

    the only thing better than the cookies is your lovely description. MADE me want to eat them! i think we’ll bake these, this week. thanks for ANOTHER great recipe…

  15. Alicia

    It’s still totally good for you as cocoa powder. Where does one find Dutch dark chocolate cocoa powder?

  16. Shannalee

    Lo, Glad you’re tucking it away. You never know when it will come in handy!

    Wendi, HA! I’m so glad you guys liked them. And PS I posted the rosemary cookies a while ago here:, and I can’t believe that was a year ago already!

    JessieV, You are sweet. Thank you! And try these!

    Alicia, That’s what I decided, too. As far as finding the cocoa powder, it should be right in the baking aisle with the regular kinds. Here’s a link to an image of what I mean: Good luck!

  17. cinnamonquill

    Chocolate cookies are so underrated! I am glad to find a recipe as seriously chocolate as this…Lovely!

  18. julie

    oooh these sound fantatic!I think I might try them! Is Dutch-Processed cocoa powder different from Hershey’s baking cocoa powder?
    Oh and I loved your stories about needing chocolate – I am a BIG dark chocolate fan when life gets crazy :)

  19. Alejandra

    I could use some chocolate today. these are just lovely. They make me want to curl up on the couch with a good old movie and a big worn blanket and a plate of these cookies. That would be perfect, don’t you think?

  20. Shannalee

    Cinnamonquill, Yes, and that’s so unfortunate! We’ll have to bring them back, one batch at a time.

    Julie, You are so sweet! Yep, the dark chocolate cocoa powder is just a different variety of the regular kind, and you should be able to find it in the same aisle.

    Alejandra, Yes! I want exactly what you said. So perfect.

  21. Hannah

    I’m craving chocolate something fierce, I need these in my life!

  22. Shannalee

    I love how you used the word need, Hannah! Girl after my own heart!

  23. Jessica

    Wow those do look really good. I sadly do dig into the Oreos when I’m home, it’s sad, really.

  24. Shannalee

    Jessica! These are 15 minutes more work than Oreos and so much better, I swear, I swear. The only hard part is chilling them for a hour. Think about trying them – the perfect thing for watching movies and hanging out on the sofa, for real.

  25. E.P.

    Oh, yum. These look absolutely fantastic!

    If there’s anything I am a sucker for, it’s cookies. Chocolate cookies.

  26. Jennifer

    I made these last night, and they were wonderful. After reading your recipe on Friday night, I was spontaneously in the mood for these. I didn’t have the exact ingredients, but I think they probably turned out pretty similar to the original anyway. I had to substitute plain Hershey’s cocoa powder (sorry, chocolate purists!!) and salted butter (I reduced the amount of salt I put in.) And I used kosher salt instead of regular salt, because I like kosher salt. And I added a little cocoa powder to the sugar to roll them in, and the sugar was just regular sugar because that’s all I had. And I started them so late that they ended up chilling overnight, which was fine.

    Anyway, even with all the subsitutions, they were wonderful. Just goes to show you that it must be a nice, solid recipe to withstand so much subsitution abuse. 😉

    For the last batch, I stirred in a little peanut butter, and that was also wonderful!

    Thanks for the great recipe. I’ll be making these again. They really were very easy. I was going to bring in a plate of them to work on Monday, but, um, I’m just going to end up bringing in a few for some friends. I wonder what happened to the rest of them already . . . ;-D

  27. Shannalee

    E.P. – Oh, me, too!

    Jennifer – So glad you liked them! And kudos on making the recipe your own by trying different additions/substitutions. I’m a firm believer in using what you’ve got on hand and being creative! Thanks for letting me know how they turned out!


    They look quite kid friendly too. But I see milk in the picture. I don’t think I do them without milk. But how about crumbling a little with some vanilla ice cream.

  29. Shannalee

    Angela, Yes, milk (and/or ice cream) is a must with these!

  30. Elle

    These look great! Can’t wait to try out the recipe this weekend! Thanks for the post!

  31. Tara Anderson

    Ummm…its’ snowing and fourteen degrees out (although the Weather Channel assures me it feels like two degrees)…the time is now. I’ve never needed these cookies more.

    Thanks for sharing.

  32. Shannalee

    Elle, Hope you enjoy them!

    Tara, Ugh, we’re feeling that same cold weather right now. Cookies are perfect for getting you through that. Hope these helped!

  33. Victoria

    This may be random, but do you know – what is the difference between regular cocoa powder and dark chocolate cocoa powder? Is it additional solids? But if cocoa powder is just the cake, how can you add solid?

  34. Shannalee

    Victoria, As far as the difference between the two, bottom line is dark chocolate cocoa powder is, well, darker obviously—it’s almost black, in fact—as well as richer flavor. You could definitely use regular cocoa powder in this recipe instead, though. Does that help?

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