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A BFA Painting and Drawing graduate gone cookie designer and decorator.  I bring my knowledge of art, composition, and color to pastries to create the perfect cookies and cakes for your events or occasions.
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Go-To Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Right now I'm working on two decorating projects that I plan to also do tutorials for.  Both designs involve lightly colored icing or white icing for the base color.  I really want these designs to pop though, and those colors can sometimes look bland on a regular sugar cookie.  So I really wanted to find the perfect chocolate sugar dough recipe to give these cookies some contrast.  After looking at at least a dozen recipes, I decided this recipe by Georganne at LilaLoa appealed to me the most.  Nice crisp shapes, and tons of raving reviews about how delicious they are. 

So I converted it to be gluten free and I was not disappointed!  Great, rich chocolate flavor and with the help of just three-four drops of black dye the perfect contrast color I was looking for (don't worry! that little dye does not give it a bitter taste).  They roll out great and they hold their shape perfectly.  They seem like the perfect ground for decorating, and they're also great plain or just sprinkled with a little bit of sugar.  So if you don't want to go all out with royal icing decorating, even using a cute cutter and just sanding them with sugar will make a delicious treat.

This will be your go-to chocolate sugar dough.  And I dare you to not sneak any bites of this raw!  That is just how delicious it is.

As with most sugar dough, you need to let this dough rest.  When you're done mixing it will be very sticky and soft.  Georganne suggests if you need to use it right away add 1/2 cup more flour.  While I did not try this, if you need to go with more brown rice or sorghum flour.  I did not try this with gluten free flours though so it may not work the same as with wheat flour.  If you try the extra flour and it works let me know!  Otherwise just a few hours in the fridge will make it the perfect texture for rolling out without any problems with it being too soft or stick

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Recipe adapted from LilaLoa
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen 4" cookies
Print Recipe
- 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla, gluten free
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking powder, gluten free
- 2/3 cup non dutch-processed cocoa, I used Hershey's
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 2/3 cup tapioca flour
- 1/3 cup white rice flour
- 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
- Black gel dye, optional
In a bowl combine the brown rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, white rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt.
With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar just until combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl if need be.
Add the eggs and the vanilla.  Mix until just incorporated.  Scrape down the sides if you need to.
Gradually add the cocoa powder with the mixer on low.

At this point, if you'd like the cookies to be darker, add a few drops of black dye.  Only a few drops is necessary!  Black dye, if overused, can have a bitter taste. I wanted my cookies to be a little darker for more contrast, plus some are for Halloween.
Gradually add the flour mixture with the mixer on low.
This dough will be really sticky and unable to roll when you're finished mixing it.  You need to let it rest for at least a few hours.  It will feel very solid, and much more like sugar dough when it's done chilling.  Once the dough is chilled you're ready to roll it out.
I roll my dough out in between two pieces of plastic wrap.  That ways there's no need for flouring surfaces or anything like that.  Roll them to your desired thickness, but not too thick because if the dough is too thick it won't hold it's shape.  I use rings on my rolling pin that are 3/8" thick.
After you roll it, chill it again for a little bit.  It makes cutting easier.  Use your desired cutters.  Take the scraps, knead together, and re-roll.
Preheat the oven to 375˚F.  Prepare baking sheets with silpat liners or parchment.

Place your cookies on a baking sheet.  If you are want to sugar them now is the time to do it.  Sprinkle them with regular sugar or for a little sparkle use sanding sugar.  I used opal sanding sugar.
Bake time depends on what they're being used for.  If you're just eating them plain or sugared, I would bake them 6-8 minutes for a softer cookie.  If you are decorating them with royal icing, or if you need them to travel better bake for more like 9-11 minutes depending on size of the cookie.  You want them to feel slightly firm for decorating with royal.
Even if you bake them the extra time for royal icing decorating they'll still have a bit of softness to them with the sturdiness needed to keep the cookies intact.
So there you have it!  Your go-to chocolate sugar cookie for eating plain, dusted with sugar, or decorated with royal icing.  Be on the lookout for my onesie and teddy bear tutorial coming up next week.  Then after that I'll have a tutorial for a special halloween sugar skull inspired owl design.  Also if you saw my Ocean Cookie Post and would like a tutorial on any of those cookies please let me know and if I have some spare time I can make one for those too!


  1. Thank you! I've been looking for a solid gluten-free recipe for ages :)

    1. I just made this yesterday again. It makes me never want to make "regular" sugar dough instead of chocolate. I hope it works out just as well for you =)!

    2. When I tried it, I rolled it out on parchment, but it stuck to it so badly I couldn't even remove the dough from around my rectangles--I powdered my parchment with a bit of tapioca flour, tried again, and voila, it came off like a dream. Just in case anyone else has the same issue & doesn't want to remix the dough :)

  2. I have just discovered you and this recipe - yay! I have recently gone gf, and have not been impressed with most recipes I've tried. This one is AMAZING! So good - and my kids can't tell it's gf. You have a new fan :) Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much!! I'm so glad you and your kids liked them! That's my goal with all my gluten free baking...I don't want people to know there is no gluten. For me, since desserts are indulgent already, it's nice to be able to take out one aspect that isn't so great for you but still have it taste just as delicious!

  3. Hello! I was wondering, could a good gluten free flour mix work in lieu of all the other flours? Have you tried that way yet? I am not GF but I am making some for my sister. Since I am not, I don't keep all those separate flours on hand but I do have the pre-mixed stuff. Thank you!

    1. GF flour usually has these ingredients in them. As well, use it cup for cup, I do and it is great!

  4. 1. Rolling between plastic wrap? Chilling after rolling? Curious whether you tried chilling the dough before rolling, if that would help in rolling it out, or why that isn't recommended.
    2. Also, would you recommend chilling the cut-out cookies before baking so that they keep their shape?