Cut out cookies come in handy many times throughout the year: Christmas, of course, but also Halloween and Valentine’s Day and birthdays and just because.
This dough is very forgiving, rolls out smooth, and can be rerolled multiple times with good results. It is based on my Cut Out Cookie Dough, but I’ve added cacao nibs for some crunch, and then dipped them in chocolate so they are extra special for Valentine’s Day.
Ingredients for Cacao Nib Cookies:
- All-purpose flour: Make sure your all-purpose flour is not too high or low in protein; I like to use Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose for cookie baking. At 10.5 percent protein it is a good, moderate choice to keep baked goods tender.
- Unsalted butter: I use unsalted butter in my recipes so I can control the salt content. This recipe uses both salt in the dough and sprinkled on top before baking, so unsalted works well here in order to keep the cookies from getting too salty.
- Cacao nibs: Cacao nibs add both crunch and a slight bitter flavor that helps balance the sweetness. I also love how they speckle the cookies.
- Pure vanilla extract: I use a whole tablespoon of vanilla so the flavor really shines through.
- Chocolate for dipping: Semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate will work here; I used a 60% bittersweet chocolate.
Tips for Rolling Out Cookie Dough:
This dough is very forgiving, and does not need to be chilled first. Lightly flour your surface and rolling pin, and add flour as needed to keep it from sticking. A metal spatula is a good tool for transporting cut cookies from your work surface to the sheet pan.
To Freeze Cookie Dough:
Cookie dough can be formed and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Freeze the dough tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and in a freezer safe bag. When you’re ready to bake, let the dough sit out at room temperature until the oven preheats.
More Cut-Out Cookie Recipes:
- Olive Oil Sugar Cookies with Pistachios and Lemon Glaze
- Holiday Cut-Out Cookies
- Olive Oil Sugar Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze
Chocolate Dipped Cacao Nib Cookies
- 4 cups [568 g] all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1/3 cup [40 g] cacao nibs
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ cups [3 sticks or 339 g] unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons refined coconut oil at room temperature (shortening works, too)
- 1 ¾ cups [350 g] granulated sugar
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 ounces (226 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, process the flour, cacao nibs, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the coconut oil and mix again on medium speed until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and mix again on medium until light and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix again on low speed until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until completely combined. Use a spatula to fold in any dry pieces of dough that may be lingering on the bottom of the bowl. Divide the dough in half; it can be used immediately or wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 4 days (let the dough come to room temperature before rolling).
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350ºF [180ºC]. Line several sheet pans with parchment paper.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough somewhere between 1/8 in [4 mm] and ¼ in [6 mm] thick (the thinner the cookie, the crisper it will be, so this will depend on your preference). Use heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut out shapes, then slide a spatula underneath the dough and transfer the shapes to the sheet pans, leaving 1 in [2.5 cm] of space between the cookies. Chill the pans of cookies in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before baking. Dough scraps can be re-rolled and cut out again.
- Bake the cookies, one pan at a time, until cooked through, 12 to 16 minutes. For a softer cookie, bake for 12 minutes; for a crisper cookie, bake longer, until light golden brown around the edges. Place the baking pans on a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely on the pans before dipping in chocolate. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
- Dip half of each cookie in the melted chocolate. Once the glaze is set, cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.