Have you ever tried a chocolate sugar cookie?  Up until last week, I had not.  Holy cow, have I been missing out.  They are wonderful…they hold their shape while baking, but are still nice and soft when you take a bite.  And so chocolatey, the whole house ended up smelling like chocolate the day I baked these.  It was heavenly.  Normally I am quite restrained around all the baked goods I make, but I could not keep my hands off of these and neither could Ben.  I will warn you now that the batch of dough is on the small side.  Of course the yield depends on the size and shape of the cookie cutter you use, but I am almost certain I will double the batch from now on.  It’s always better to have too many chocolate cookies than not enough, right?  ;)

These little square cookies reminded me of postage stamps, so I decorated them like that.  And I made them 25¢ – a nicer number than what stamps actually cost these days.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
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¾ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 tbsp. (3 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the egg and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated and no streaks remain.  Form the dough into a disc, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness.  Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters and place cut outs on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes, just until set.  Let cool on the baking sheet about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Decorate as desired.

*Note – The yield of this recipe will depend on the size and shape of cookie cutter you use, so an accurate estimate is not possible.

Source: Martha Stewart

When I did my main royal icing tutorial, I did not cover how to make a spotted background or how to do marbling.  I’ve had quite a few questions about it since then, so I thought I would do a quick step-by-step of the process.  One thing that is great about cookies with the marbling effect (like the hearts seen here) is that it looks so nice on its own, no additional detailing is required afterward.  This means the decorating process takes significantly less time because once the icing dries, the cookies are finished.  I made these in a couple of hours during a snow day last week.

First, gather all your supplies together.  Have your royal icing made in all the colors you plan to use.

Pipe the border…

Be sure to have all your thinned icing for flooding ready to go at the same time.  As much as possible, try to make all of the colors of flooding icing approximately the same consistency.

Start out by flooding the cookie as usual.

Drop dots of the second icing color into the just-flooded cookie.  (If you are going for a dotted background rather than the marble effect, stop here – you’re done!)

If you do want to marble the colors (or in this case, make little hearts), drag a toothpick through the center of the dots.

Voila!   (When the colors are so contrasting as seen here, they may sometimes bleed into each other.  I actually think it looks cool for the marbling effect.)

I love this one :)

This was my absolute favorite.  I really wish I had thought of that design before the very last cookie.