These easy Chocolate Cut Out Sugar Cookies hold their shape and have great chocolatey, buttery flavor that is perfect with either royal icing or a regular buttercream frosting. Great for Halloween, Valentine's Day, or anytime!

Chocolate Cut Out Sugar Cookies and frosting with candy corn.

Chocolate Cut Out Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Cut Out Sugar Cookies are perfect for any holiday because all you need are some cookie cutters, frosting and sprinkles or candy and you have a fun, festive, holiday-themed treat! The centers stay soft and tender, the edges get just barely crisp, and the cookies don't lose their shape as they bake.

Stacks of chocolate cut out sugar cookies in Halloween shapes.

These cookies though...

Really, I was going to save these chocolate cut out sugar cookies and post them during December when everybody goes crazy for cookies. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided, "why wait?!" These were just too good to hold off on posting anyway. And their dark brown color with white frosting and candy corn for super simple decorating are just too perfect for Halloween anyway.

One of these days, I'm going to buckle down and learn how to really decorate with royal icing (I've made it in the past and use it in these gingerbread cookies), but my ability to pipe fancy designs is basically non-existent. Hence, a basic buttercream frosting and Halloween candy decorating the cookies in this post.

Although if I'm being completely honest, I totally love eating chocolate cut out sugar cookies straight up with zero icing whatsoever, they are that good on their own!

Bowls of candy corn and frosting used to decorate Halloween chocolate cut out sugar cookies.

How to make Chocolate Cut Out Sugar Cookies

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter on medium speed using the paddle attachment for 1 minute until it’s creamy and smooth. Add in the sugar and beat again for 2 to 3 minutes, until it’s light and fluffy.
  2. Then beat in the egg and the vanilla on high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and the salt. Add the dry mix to the wet ingredients and mix them together on low speed until they’re combined.
  4. Divide the dough in half and shape them into discs. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but up to 2 days.
  5. When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and take the cookie dough out of the fridge to sit on the counter for 10 minutes before rolling.
  6. Working with one disc of dough at a time, roll them out between two sheets of parchment paper until they’re between ¼" and ⅜" thickness. Then cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place them on the parchment-lined baking sheets.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, remembering to rotate halfway through the bake time. The cookies will still look soft but do not overbake. Let them cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  8. Cool completely before frosting and decorating.

What thickness is best for cut out cookies?

For a good sugar cookie cut out size, you usually want ¼-⅜ inch in thickness. When baked, this size of thickness allows for the amazingly soft but sturdy cookie. Any thinner and you’ll risk eating a cracker with frosting and any thicker dough can result in underbaked cookies.

Having a chilled dough is important because it helps the dough to retain its shape. Having a warm cookie dough for cut out shape can be the reason why a beautifully cut unicorn looks like a rhino once baked. Chill your dough and work with cold ingredients or in a cold environment whenever possible for the best-baked results.

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Chocolate Cut Out Halloween Sugar Cookies

4.77 from 39 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 18 cookies
These Easy Chocolate Cut Out Sugar Cookies hold their shape and have great chocolatey, buttery flavor that is perfect with either royal icing or a regular buttercream frosting.  Great for Halloween, Valentine's Day, or anytime!

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ cup salted butter softened (170g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (100g)
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (212g)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed using the paddle attachment for 1 minute until creamy and smooth.  Add the sugar and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg and vanilla on high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, then add to the wet ingredients and mix together on low speed until combined.
  • Divide the dough in half and shape into discs.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.  
  • When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and take the cookie dough out of the fridge to sit on the counter for 10 minutes before rolling.
  • Working with one disc of dough at a time, roll out between two sheets of parchment paper to between ¼" and ⅜" thickness, then cut out with cookie cutters and place on the parchment lined baking sheets.  
  • Bake for 10 minutes, rotating halfway through bake time.  The cookies will still look soft, but do not overbake.  Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  • Cool completely before frosting and decorating.

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 88mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I always do sugar cookies around Christmas but you are inspiring me to make some for Halloween too! These are so fun!

  2. I love chocolate cut out cookies! My standard are vanilla Spiced but it seems that more ppl are requesting my chocolate brownie cookie dough. Seeing these make me want to crank my oven on 💕

    1. I would like to try this recipe this year for my holiday baking. Can you please tell me roughly how many cookies this recipe makes?

  3. These are totally darling. I've never seen a cookie that could be cut so precisely and hold it's shape while baking! Can't wait to try these!

    1. I love how it holds it shape but still tastes delicious and stays soft in the center! Too many other recipes I have tried for sugar cookies that hold their shape get crispy!

  4. 5 stars
    Funny, I have the same Halloween shapes but my cookies never come out with such perfection. It must be the dough, perfectly balanced for cookies perfection shaping. What a great idea this #Choctoberfest plenty of chocolate ideas to indulge.

  5. 5 stars
    I love how amazing these cookies look! Well done! I just might have to use your recipe for a cookie decorating party in December!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed them! They really are fantastic for any season! I'm planning on making them again for Valentine's Day too!

    1. Yes! I prefer royal icing and have a recipe here on my site for my favorite version. But you could also use a buttercream frosting if you like.

  6. So excited to make these cookies and apparently, something went wrong in the process. After mixing everything together, the dough was very runny, almost poured out of the bowl. After refrigerating, the dough was still sticky and could not cut it. Any suggestions where I might have gone wrong? Thanks so much!

      1. These are so delicious and hold shape so well!! A friend said they tasted like brownies! I decorated with royal icing but I added orange extract to because I love those flavors together!! For Christmas, I might try mint icing!

  7. 1 star
    Wishing I had Ashleys problem. My "Dough" is damp looking sand. I measured VERY carefully and doubled checked quantities before I added them because I thought there seemed to be a serious lack of liquid when I read the recipe. I'm loathe to add more butter because they'll just spread out and become shapeless. But as is...its just a big bowl of waster ingredients.

    1. I'm sorry this doesn't seem to be working for you. My guess is that even though you double checked quantities you either added an extra cup of flour or only did 3 tablespoons of butter instead of 3/4 cup of butter. Because I have made this recipe a bunch and have never had it turn out sandy.

  8. Looking for a good chocolate cookie recipe that I can add some orange juice/zest and cardamom to for an unexpected Christmas cookie cut out. Any suggestions on how I might be able to do that with this cookie without risking the integrity of a perfect dough? These look great and i'd like to give it a try.
    TIA! 🙂

    1. Hi Kaylah! That's a fun idea! I wouldn't recommend adding any orange juice, but I think you could easily add 1-2 tablespoons of orange zest and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cardamom with no problem. If you want an even more pronounced orange flavor, I would consider trying orange extract. Let me know what you think if you try them that way! I would love to hear!

      1. I think I will. Thanks! One more question. I have a cookie sheet shaped like a Christmas tree. Think I could make this like one big cookie cake?

        1. I can't see why not! I have never actually made a big cookie cake before though so I'm not sure how that would affect bake time! Sounds like something I am going to need to experiment with.

    1. I almost always use salted butter. I just don't like to have the two separate kinds in my fridge and feel like the small amount of added salt doesn't affect recipes negatively.

  9. 3 stars
    I made these last week. They taste soooooo good!!!! I love the strong chocolate-y flavor. And I want to do them again but the dough was almost impossible to work with. Way too thick (my hand mixer broke so I finished by hand) and it fell apart when rolling it out to cut the shapes. It literally crumbled! I was very frustrated. The shapes of the cookies turned out okay but it took a lot more work than with any other dough I’ve worked with. I really like the taste and want to give this recipe a second chance, so I would really appreciate if someone could tell me what i did wrong (or if the dough is really supposed to be that crumbly).
    Thanks!

    1. No, the dough isn't supposed to be that crumbly. My guess is that there was too much flour added, so maybe decrease by about 1/4 cup next time? Also, let it mix a little bit longer in the mixer so the dough can come together. I'm glad you like the taste though!

  10. Thank you for this recipe I made exactly as written with one exception- I omitted the baking powder because I needed very defined edges on my cookies and I was afraid they’d puff too much.  They came out great!  I used Guittard cocoa rouge cocoa powder.  I made these adult party and have any leftover.  The chocolate flavor was incredible and very rich.  However, I think the Guittard cocoa powder i used would be too strong tasting for kids.  What cocoa powder do your recommend?  Again, thank you very much for this recipe, it is excellent. 

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe! I really like Rodelle cocoa powder, but I will often even just use Hershey's cocoa powder in this recipe.

  11. These came out PERFECT! I am not much of a baker so I followed the recipe carefully, using a whisk and wooden spoon since I didn't have an electric mixer. It was crumbly but came together wonderfully as I continued stirring. Only change was throwing them in the fridge for ten minutes again just before baking. Maybe unnecessary step, but they turned out beautifully! Thank you!

  12. My kids do not like the typical sugar cookie cut out cookies, but I love cut out cookies and thought this might be the solution. But instead of icing, can we decorate as we typically with our different colored sprinkles?

  13. I was trying to copy the receipt to try but it printed all the remarks from other people. I just ended the receipt so I could try it and I had to print all of it.. I love most of your cookies  I have tried but it would be so much easier for us to just print off the receipt instead of the other stuff. 
    thank you for including the reciepe. 

    1. I'm sorry about that! The "print recipe" button at the top of the recipe card should just print the recipe and not the comments. I'm not sure what could have happened!

  14. It was delish!I would love to make again someday 🙂 I lessen the butter to 150 grams of unsalted butter! And it was so good love it thanks for the recpie