Absolutely Perfect Dark Chocolate Cookies Make a Delicious Afternoon Snack

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.

Overhead vertical shot of three overlapping cookies at the bottom with a short stack at the top, beside a glass bottle of milk, on red and black plaid fabric, printed with red and white text.

When you are driving down the street the next night, lowering your windows because the weather has finally cooled down and the fall breezes have arrived, but 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.

Homemade chocolate cookies are fanned out on a black and red piece of plaid flannel fabric and spilling out onto a brown wood surface, with a glass bottle of milk to the left of the frame.

There aren’t a lot of times when baking up a batch of these cookies wouldn’t make sense.

Overhead shot of a short stack of dark chocolate cookies with a bite taken out of the topmost one, with a glass bottle of milk, on a black and red plaid flannel cloth.

I ate them while my brother was visiting, and I brought some to work the next day to share with Becky. We finished the small stash before 11 a.m. and had to make toast to tide us over until lunch. I ate them again with Michele and Wendi last night, after we enjoyed organic locally made pizza and pored over the largest map of Colorado I’ve ever seen in preparation for my upcoming trip to Denver (!).

Three overlapping dark chocolate cookies fanned out on a surface topped with red and black plaid flannel fabric, with a short stack of the baked goods and a glass bottle of milk in the background.

These pretty little cookies are as simple to make as can be. After a little mixing, chilling, rolling, and baking, and they turn out soft, sweet, and covered in shiny bits of crystallized sugar.

Based Martha Stewart’s recipe for Grammy’s Chocolate Cookies, the product of one contest-winning Anne Feldman who’d inherited the recipe from her grandmother Ivyle Phinney Morrow, my adapted version is made with dark chocolate cocoa powder.

A stack of six dark chocolate cookies with a bite missing from the topmost one, to the right of a small glass bottle of milk, on a black and red plaid flannel cloth arranged at an angle, on a black background.

This rich and delicious ingredient creates cookies that are almost pitch black with the look of potting soil, the kind you’d half expect a geranium to pop out of when you arrange them on a plate.

This recipe claims to be easy enough for kids to make, 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?

Nine dark chocolate cookies are arranged in two piles on a red and black folded flannel cloth and a brown surface, with a glass bottle of milk.

I may or may not have eaten some of the raw dough because I just couldn’t wait, raw eggs and all. Can you blame me?

Three dark chocolate cookies are in the foreground with a short stack beside a glass of milk in the background, with a bite taken out of the one closest to the viewer, on a red and black flannel cloth.

These are perfect for Monday mornings, Wednesday nights, or really any time.

Wherever you are today, whatever you’re doing later, I hope you’ll set a few minutes aside, find something fun to occupy your time for an hour of chilling, and give them a shot. One tray out of the oven, it will be worth it. You’ll see.

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Five dark chocolate cookies are arranged on black and white plaid flannel, overlapping at the edges.

Absolutely Perfect Dark Chocolate Cookies

  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 23 minutes
  • Yield: 2.5-3 dozen cookies 1x


When you take your first bite of pillowy soft, absolutely perfect dark chocolate cookies, you’ll melt away on a cloud of chocolatey goodness


  • 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 unsalted butter, room temperature (2 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Demerera or sanding sugar


  1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla on medium speed until combined.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, combining on low speed until fully incorporated.
  4. Smooth the dough into a large disc, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  6. Roll dough into 1.5-inch balls and then roll them in demerera or sanding sugar. Place them on the baking sheets about 1.5 inches apart.
  7. Bake for about 8 minutes. Cool on the sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks. Once cool, seal them up in an airtight container with a paper towel to keep the cookies soft.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: dark chocolate, cookie, holiday baking

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Soften Butter and Measure All Remaining Ingredients

Leave refrigerated butter out at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes to soften. If you want to speed up the process, you can soften it in the microwave for 15 seconds on 30% power.

Measure out all remaining ingredients and set them out in the order they are listed, to make it easier to create the recipe.

Step 2 – Sift Dry Ingredients

Separate piles of flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder are being sifted through a fine mesh metal sieve into a stainless steel mixing bowl, on a striped wood surface.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.

Sifted cocoa powder and other dry baking ingredients in a stainless steel bowl on a striped wood surface.

Set aside.

Step 3 – Make Dough

Add the sugar and butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream them together by beating on medium-high speed until fluffy, for about 2 minutes.

Butter, sugar, and egg in the bottom of a stainless steel mixer bowl, on a wood surface.

Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined.

Slowly add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients on low speed. Continue to beat until fully incorporated.

Step 4 – Chill Dough

Remove the dough from the bowl and dump out onto a sheet of plastic wrap.

A flatterned disc of chocolate dough tightly wrapped in plastic, on a wood countertop.

Form the it into a large disc, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour.

Step 5 – Shape and Bake

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350˚F. Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Place a few tablespoons of sanding or raw sugar on a small plate or saucer. Set aside.

Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch-wide balls. Roll the dough balls in your choice of decorative sugar, coating on all sides. Place on the baking sheets, being sure to set them about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Small balls of chocolate cookie dough rolle in sugar are arranged on a Silpat silicone nonstick baking liner.

Bake for 8 minutes. The cookies should be puffed up, and the edges should be set. Note that the center will still be soft – don’t overbake them. The puffiness will sink after they are removed from the heat, so don’t be alarmed when this happens. You’ll notice this with other cookies with a similar texture, like our big and soft ginger cookies.

Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Place in an airtight container with a paper towel to keep the cookies soft.

When You’re Craving Chocolate…

It’s okay to give in to that chocolate craving from time to time. When you don’t have chocolate chips in the house, forget about the classic chocolate chip cookie and go for these bad boys instead.

I honestly can’t believe how soft these cookies stay. I’ve had them stored for a handful of days, and they are still melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

Five dark chocolate cookies are arranged on black and white plaid flannel, overlapping at the edges.

You’ll love the satisfying chocolate flavor, and these cookies are so simple to make. They are ideal for any holiday baking you have coming up, and the extra twinkle from the sugar coating is lovely on a dessert tray.

For even more chocolatey delicious recipes, you can check out our tasty combinations here.

Want even more tasty cookie recipes? Then check out some of our other chocolate ones:

If you need chocolate cookies with alternative flours, we know what you want: try our almond meal chocolate coconut cookies, or these cookies and cream spelt cookies.

Who will you bake these tasty morsels for? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate this incredible recipe the moment you try it for yourself!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on September 16, 2009. Last updated: December 13, 2022 at 13:22 pm. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

38 thoughts on “Absolutely Perfect Dark Chocolate Cookies Make a Delicious Afternoon Snack”

  1. 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. 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. 🙂

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.)

  6. 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!

  7. 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 🙂

  8. 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…

  9. 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.

    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 kind. Good luck!

  10. 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 🙂

  11. 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?

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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?

  20. 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?

  21. Hi, I would love to try this recipe soon but was wondering if it was a really sweet cookie. My teeth are sensitive to Sugar because of the acid and wanted to see if I could reduce sugar or replace with Dark brown and even skip the dusting sugar part and use sea salt at the end. My concern is the reducing the sugar part of the cookie knowing dark chocolate isn’t to sweet of a chocolate.

    • Hi there! The cookies themselves aren’t super sweet, but if you are sensitive to sugar, you can definitely skip rolling them in sugar and sprinkle them with salt instead! You could also do a 50/50 split of dark brown sugar and granulated, but that’ll change the flavor.

  22. I’m getting ready to make these cookies for the second time. For such a simple cookie, they are surprisingly yummy. My young adult son said they were maybe the best cookies he’s ever eaten, and we bake and eat a lot of cookies around here! In addition to eating them on their own, we’ve found them to be perfect for making ice cream sandwiches. They bake to a nice consistent size and are just the right thickness. That’s what’s on the menu for dessert tonight. Thanks for sharing!


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