Chocolate Snickerdoodles, also referred to as chewy chocolate cookies! Because who cares what they’re called when they’re chewy and contain chocolate? 

Overhead image of chocolate cookies arranged on a white table with glasses of milk set around them

These chewy chocolate cookies are as dreamy as it gets. Made like a classic snickerdoodle, this recipe uses cocoa powder in place of some of the flour, and is rolled in a spiced (and spicy) sugar mixture which ups the ante like no other.

In my opinion, if I’m going to eat a cookie, it better bring some oomph. So move over snickerdoodle, there’s a new classic in town! 

Aside from the fact that these are chocolate snickerdoodles, the thing that really sets these apart from classic snickerdoodles is the spiced sugar they’re coated in. Cinnamon just doesn’t cut it here. Instead, I brought in the big guns, Chinese five spice and cayenne (although that part is optional, albeit highly recommended). 

Shall we summarize? These cookies are:

  • Chewy 
  • Slightly crispy
  • Chocolatey 
  • Spiced 
  • Spicy 
Side angle of a chewy chocolate cookie set on a white table with a bite taken out of it

How to make a chewy chocolate cookie

Shortening 

Shortening contains less water than butter, thus, when we use a bit of shortening in the dough the cookies are discouraged from spreading too much. The result is a cookie that holds its shape during baking. When a cookie recipe uses both butter and shortening it creates a cookies that is round, has an ideal thickness, and features a wonderful rich flavor.

No if, ands, or buts about it, both butter and shortening are important ingredients in this recipe. 

Brown sugar 

Brown sugar is known for adding “chew” to cookies. Why? Well brown sugar contains molasses (10% in light brown and 20% in dark brown). That little bit of molasses adds just enough moisture to boost chewiness. Additionally, it doesn’t encourage spreading as much as white sugar does. And lastly, brown sugar works in tandem with the cream of tartar. The acidity of molasses (and cream of tartar) causes the protein in the cookie dough to firm up faster, which in turn creates a chewier chocolate cookie.

Baking powder + cream of tartar

Cream of tartar has even more benefits than the one we just talked about. First off, it adds the quintessential “tang” that snickerdoodles are known for. Additionally, the acidity of cream of tartar activates the baking soda, causing the cookie to rise during baking and fall quickly after coming out of the oven. This quick rise and fall of the cookie creates a crinkly top and a chewy texture.

The draw back—if baked too long these cookies risk coming out tall and cakey. Which brings us to the importance of bake time and temperature. 

Bake time and temperature 

With any baked good, the temperature at which it is baked at, and the duration of baking, is one of the most important aspects. I tested these cookies at three different temperatures and found that 375-degrees was the sweet spot. A twenty five degree difference in both directions either increased or decreased the bake time by one minute. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but here is what I found. 

The cookies baked at a lower temperature (350-degrees) took longer to puff up, creating a cookie that was thinner and more crisp than chewy. Why did this happen? Simply put, the cook spread outward faster than it could puff upward.

Alternatively, the cookies baked at a higher temperature (400-degrees) puffed quickly, creating a cookie that was tall, chewy, and slightly cakey. 

The ideal temperature fell right in the middle at 375-degrees, creating a wonderfully chewy chocolate cookie. At this temperature the baking soda activates at just the right rate, puffing the cookie quickly but not immediately, and allowing the cookie to spread just enough.

This recipe testing was a great example of moderation. A little of this and a little of that creates pure chewy cookie perfection. 

overhead photo of a single chocolate cookie set on parchment paper with a bite taken out of it

Make-ahead

You know that instance when you have a hankering for a freshly baked cookie? Not now, but like right now? Or maybe you’re in charge of bringing dessert to a family or friend dinner and completely forget until the day-of?

In one way or another, we’ve all been there. And these chocolate snickerdoodles are here to ease your dessert woes. Now, I want to point out that these cookies are very easy to make and they come together fairly quickly.

BUT, they can come together even faster when you make the dough ahead of time, roll it into balls, and freeze. At the drop of a hat (and a short stint in the oven) you can have freshly baked chewy chocolate cookies. 

photo of chocolate cookies stacked on a white table with milk set in the background

How to freeze chewy chocolate cookie dough (and bake):

Follow the recipe instructions up through the step of rolling the dough in the sugar-spice mixture. Arrange sugared dough balls on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Transfer to freezer and freeze until solid, 2–3 hours. Transfer dough balls to a resealable bag and store in freezer for up to 1 month. 

When ready to bake, heat oven to 300ºF. Bake frozen dough balls 18–20 minutes. 

How to store drop cookies

Store cookies in an airtight container or resealable bag at room temperature for up to 3 days. 

Overhead image of chocolate cookies arranged on a white table with glasses of milk set around them

If you like this recipe, you may also like these…

Hazelnut Shortbread Dark Chocolate Cookies

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Black Bean Brownies 

Chocolate-Mint Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies

Side angle of a chewy chocolate cookie with a bite taken out of it arrange on a table with other cookies

Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or comment below if you make these Chewy Chocolate Snickerdoodles!

To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can click the button on any of the photos, or the red button on the side bar or below the recipe. Happy baking!

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Overhead image of chocolate cookies arranged on a white table with glasses of milk set around them

Chewy Chocolate Snickerdoodles

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 ½ dozen (30 cookies) 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Chewy chocolate snickerdoodle cookies! The ultimate upgrade from the classic treat. Rolled in a spiced (and spicy) sugar mixture, these cookies are anything BUT boring!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening (8 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup sugar + ¼ cup for rolling
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons chinese five spice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

Whisk flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt together.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, shortening, sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes; scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, and beat until incorporated; scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture until just combined. Using a spatula give dough a final stir, making sure no dry flour remains at bottom of bowl. Transfer dough to refrigerator and chill 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 375°F with rack set in middle position. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together remaining ¼ cup sugar, five spice and cayenne.

Working with 2 tablespoons of dough at a time (about 1 ounce), roll dough into balls, then roll in sugar-spice mixture to coat; arrange 2 inches apart on prepared sheets.

Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges of cookies are set but centers are soft, puffy and cracked (they should look underbaked and raw between the cracks), 10–12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.

Let cookies cool on sheet 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, baking and cooling with remaining dough.



Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 136
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Sodium: 45mg
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 18g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 20mg

Keywords: Chocolate snickerdoodle, chewy chocolate cookie, chocolate cookie

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. Just made these tonight! I realized vanilla is in the ingredients but not in the directions. I ended up adding it at the end right before I chilled the dough and it turned out great! I also misread the “1 oz” of dough per cookie as “1 tsp” of dough per cookie. I realized and only baked for about 6 minutes. So cute and tiny! I made normal-sized ones too. Love the hint of spice in these. Thank you Lo!

    1. Hi Kaitlin, so sorry to have missed the vanilla in the instructions, I have now updated that, thanks for letting me know! I also went back and made the instructions more clear on size per cookie, sorry that was confusing!

  2. I wish that I could post a photo, because mine turned out PERFECT! Now the vanilla extract is still not in the instructions, so it didn’t get added. I realized it too late, but they still taste amazing. Texture is amazing. This recipe is going in my bookmarks for sure! I can’t wait to make them again.

    1. Shoot, I thought I updated it! It has now officially been updated! The vanilla should be added when the eggs are added.

  3. A wonderful variation of the classic snickerdoodle! I have never used Chinese five spice powder before…it smells heavenly and gives this cookie a unique taste and the cayenne adds just a lingering hint of heat on your tongue. The texture is perfect…crackled, crisp on the outside and chewy inside…I. Love. This. Cookie!!! Thanks Lauren, it’s everything you promised!

    1. Hi Kelly! I am so glad to hear you enjoyed them and tried out Chinese 5-spice for the first time! It’s so full of flavor!

  4. I am married to a snickerdoodle lover and these fit the bill. I love the depth of flavor with the Chinese five spice powder. These will become a staple at our house!

  5. These are YUMMY cookies…I was lucky enough to grab one before my grandkids scarfed them up! Will make a double batch next time 🙂

    1. Hi Diane, I’m so happy to hear you and your grandkids enjoyed them. A fun take on a classic cookie!