Chocolate Snickerdoodles, also referred to as chewy chocolate cookies! Because who cares what they’re called when they’re chewy and contain chocolate?
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:
- Slightly crispy
How to make a chewy chocolate cookie
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 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.
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.
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.
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Chewy Chocolate Snickerdoodles
- 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
- 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.
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