Black Magic Chocolate Espresso Sugar Cookie Recipe

Whew! What a name for a cookie recipe, amiright?? But soooo fitting because this recipe is releasing specifically for the Halloween season! This recipe helps create a very dark cookie without needing to resort to black food coloring.

So let’s talk about this recipe!

This recipe is similar to the other Chocolate Sugar Cookie recipe on the Blog, but quite different as well. It is a ROLL OUT sugar cookie recipe (retains the shape of the cookie cutter used). The main goal I had with this recipe was to make it DARK. I really wanted to create an almost black cookie, so I turned to Black Cocoa to help me achieve this visual. The challenge with Black Cocoa is that (time to get science-y here) this cocoa powders acidity has been neutralized more so than its counterparts (dutch processed cocoa powder). Result? A non-bitter cocoa that helps create the deepest black tones in bakes. (Quick shout out to The Kitchn for helping with the research on this recipe!)

So let’s praise Black Cocoa for helping us achieve such a black color in our bakes without having to resort to food coloring (stained teeth anyone?), right? Well….it’s a bit more complex than that. Black Cocoa has been processed so much that is essentially contains almost no fat, so in the case of the sugar cookie that would equate to a dry cookie. Think Oreo taste and texture. Now if you love Oreos (who doesn’t?) then this wouldn’t present any issues, but I was trying to make a soft cookie too.

Luckily, the fix was easy enough and I balanced two cocoa powders to make it happen – natural and black cocoas. The natural cocoa helps keep the dough from getting crumbly, and the black helps achieve the dark color but also helps intensity that chocolate taste.

I also wanted to help boost that chocolate flavor without sacrificing texture, so enter espresso powder. A small amount goes a long way, and I found that just one teaspoon really helped punch out that chocolate flavor even further. I used King Arthur’s Espresso Powder, and just as recommended on the jar I only used 1 teaspoon because I only wanted to boost the chocolate flavor – not overpower it with espresso.

Q & A

Can I substitute black cocoa with dutch or natural cocoa?

You can!….BUT you will not get that dark cookie color because that comes from the Black Cocoa. If you do sub, it is a 1:1 ratio (or as mentioned above you can just bake the other chocolate sugar cookie recipe on the Blog). If you do sub with Dutch or Natural cocoa and still want the very dark cookie then you can always add black food gel coloring.

Do the ingredients have to be room temperature?

Absolutely! Room temperature ingredients (butter, eggs) are vital because being at room temperature helps the ingredients to distribute more evenly, and adhere together. Cold ingredients are difficult to combine so you will not have the ingredients disperse as they should and that will affect the integrity of the cookie.

do i really need a kitchen scale?

While you don’t really need one, I HIGHLY recommend one. The recipe does supply approximations for volume (cups) vs. weight (grams), but using a kitchen scale helps greatly reduce the probability of errors on the recipe.

Is the recipe available as gluten free, vegan or sugar free?

Unfortunately not at this time. The only recipe development I have done so far has included ‘standard’ ingredients for desserts. However, I do hope to create sugar free recipes in the coming months (my mom is diabetic so she would love to snack on a cookie without the stress).

can i sub baking chips for the baking chocolate?

No! Baking chips are not the same as baking chocolate. Baking chips contain stabilizers to help it stand up to high temperatures and hold its shape. Baking chocolate are created to melt quickly, and they are much more flavorful.

Is a similar recipe available as a non roll out?

Not yet! But it is in the works and will be available in the next few weeks (plenty of time before Halloween).


Tools For The Job

kitchen scale

stand mixer or hand mixer

wire rack

Black Magic Espresso Sugar Cookie Recipe

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Yields: 2 dozen cookies at 3” diameter and ¼” thickness

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Chill Time: 2 hours minimum

Bake Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: approximately 3 hours


375 g ( 2 ½ cups) all purpose flour

90 g (¾ cup) cake flour

227 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

160 g (1 cup) light brown sugar

33 g (⅓ cup) black cocoa

33 g (⅓ cup) 100% natural cocoa

1 large egg, room temperature

4 oz baking chocolate (Ghirardelli preferred)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp espresso powder

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt


Take baking chocolate and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave, mix carefully a bit, and then place back into microwave for another 20 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir until all the chocolate has melted. Be careful because it is hot!! Once fluid place to the side and let cool for about 5 minutes.

In a bowl sift together flours, black cocoa, natural cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a bowl fitted for a stand mixer and paddle attachment, add butter and sugar. Mix on medium low for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl. Add egg and mix on medium low until just combined. Scrape down bowl and add vanilla. Mix on medium low until just combined. Add in melted baking chocolate and mix on low. Half way through mixing, stop mixer and scrape down bowl. Mix on medium low until chocolate has been fully incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix on low until the dry ingredients are just combined. Then turn up mixer to medium low. Mix until you begin to see the dough pull away from the bowl towards the center. Take two pieces of parchment paper and place the dough between. Roll out to ¼” thickness (or desired thickness). Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, but preferably at least 4 hours. (Tip: I usually prep my dough in the evening so that I can allow it to sit in the fridge overnight. I then bake in the morning).

Preheat oven to 375 F. Remove dough from fridge and let it sit for about 5 to 6 minutes before you begin to cut your shapes. Place dough at least 1” apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, or until you begin to see the very light browning along the bottom edges. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Allow cookies to cool completely before handling. And then decorate (or don’t!) and enjoy!

Additional Cookie Options

If you would like to create a darker cookie without black food gel coloring, you can only use black cocoa powder. BUT please be aware that this will create a more Oreo like cookie (crisp, not soft) and the dough will be very crumbly. You would follow all the same instructions set forth above.

You can also add mini chocolate chips to your dough for that extra added chocolate flavor. This really makes the cookies SO. MUCH. BETTER….but if you are using this recipe and depend on it to hold its shape then please be cautioned that the mini chocolate chips will most likely make it difficult to keep that shape.

2 responses to “Black Magic Chocolate Espresso Sugar Cookie Recipe”

  1. Hi is this the recipe for the cookies you sent with Wendy for her clients to try? If so, they were freaking amazing!!!! Thank you. I am going to give it a rry.

    • Oh my Melissa THANK YOU so much for this feedback! It is the same recipe and I am so happy you enjoyed it!

Tried the recipe? What did you think??

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