Day 15: Chocolate Butter Cookies

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If Christmas had a signature cookie, sugar cookie cut-outs would be it. Every year more and more sugar cookies are cut out, baked and then decorated. Saaaaaame oooooold.

Tired of the same old, same old?

Let me introduce you to the best chocolate cut-outs I’ve gotten my hands on. These bad boys are…. well, bad. Bad = good. You with me? Good.

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Day 15 of my Christmas extravaganza! Tired of sugar yet? NO? Me either ;)

These cookies are the perfect answer to your longing change from the boring same old. These are sturdy, crumbly, chocolatey, buttery GOODNESS! They come together quickly, chill overnight and you are ready to roll (out your dough)! Just be sure to bake these up on a flat cookie sheet, unlike me. You’ll end up with weird bubbles on the surface.

Whatever you do with these, whether you serve em plain or decorate with royal icing, promise me you’ll eat just one with caramel drizzle. Promise? You won’t regret it.

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Chocolate Butter Cookies
Yields about 2 dozen 2-inch cookies

Ingredients:
20 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks), softened to cool room temperature (about 65 degrees)
1/2 cup cocoa powder (about 2 ounces)
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces)

Instructions:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and espresso powder; stir until mixture forms smooth paste. Set aside to cool, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix remaining 16 tablespoons butter, sugar, salt, and cooled cocoa mixture on high speed until well combined and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping sides of mixing bowl once or twice with rubber spatula. Add yolks and vanilla and mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl. With mixer running on low, add flour in three additions, waiting until each addition is incorporated before adding next and scraping bowl after each addition. Continue to mix until dough forms cohesive ball, about 5 seconds. Turn dough onto counter; divide into three 4-inch disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm yet malleable, 45 to 60 minutes. (Alternatively, shape dough log, 2 inches in diameter and about 12 inches long; use parchment paper or plastic wrap to roll into neat cylinder. Chill until very firm and cold, at least 1 hour.)

3. Roll out 1 dough disk between 2 large sheets parchment paper to even thickness of 3/16 inch. (If dough becomes soft and sticky, slide rolled dough on parchment onto baking sheet and rechill until firm, about 10 minutes.) Peel parchment from one side of dough and cut into desired shapes using cookie cutter(s); using thin metal spatula, place shapes on parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Gather dough scraps and chill. (For cylinder-shaped dough, simply slice cookies 1/4 inch thick and place on parchment-lined baking sheets.)

4. Bake until cookies show slight resistance to touch, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time; if cookies begin to darken on edges, they have overbaked. Cool for 5 minutes, then, using spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack; cool completely. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining dough disks and scraps, rerolling scraps just once. Decorate as desired.

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Shipping Safe: YES. These are sturdy and can hold up to being shipped.
Make Ahead and Freeze: YES. Just make the dough, form into a disc, wrap tightly and freeze until ready to roll and bake.

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