On the butter cookie plate, the chocolate cookie, with its rich, dark color, is often the most alluring of the bunch. Sadly, though, a cookie that looks like it’s made from chocolate doesn’t necessarily taste like it’s made from chocolate. We wanted to cram big chocolate flavor into a tender, crisp cookie. Cocoa powder has more cocoa solids than other forms of chocolate, so we figured it was the best candidate for producing deep, rich flavor. To really maximize the chocolate flavor, we doubled the amount of cocoa found in most recipes and bloomed it in hot melted butter, along with a teaspoon of instant espresso powder, before adding it to the dough. However, such a generous amount of cocoa powder resulted in dry cookies. To restore moisture, we cut back on the flour and added two egg yolks to the dough. A full tablespoon of vanilla extract enhanced the chocolate’s aromatic qualities. An optional bittersweet chocolate glaze gives these sleek cookies a classy sheen and yet another dose of chocolate flavor. Espresso powder provides the most complexity here, but instant coffee powder can be substituted in a pinch. Do not reroll the scraps more than once; it will cause the cookies to be tough. Serve the cookies plain, dusted with confectioners’ sugar, or with Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze (recipe follows) or Easy All-Purpose Glaze. Dust or glaze the cookies just before serving.
- Yield: 48 cookies
- 20 tablespoons (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup (1½ ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups (11¼ ounces) all-purpose flour
- Melt 4 tablespoons butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa and espresso powder; stir until mixture forms smooth paste. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat remaining 16 tablespoons butter, sugar, salt, and cooled cocoa mixture on high speed until well combined and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as needed. Reduce speed to medium, add egg yolks and vanilla, and mix until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. Reduce speed to low and add flour in 3 additions, waiting until each addition is incorporated before adding next and scraping down bowl after each addition. Continue to mix until dough forms cohesive ball, about 5 seconds. Transfer dough to counter and divide into 3 equal pieces. Form each piece into 4-inch disk, wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until dough is firm yet malleable, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk of dough at a time, roll 3/16 inch thick between 2 large sheets of parchment. If dough becomes too soft and sticky to work with, slide rolled dough on parchment onto baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes.
- Remove top piece of parchment. Using 2-inch cookie cutter, cut dough into shapes; space shapes 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until cookies show slight resistance to touch, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. (If cookies begin to darken on edges, they have over baked.) Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely before serving.