Today's chocolate cutouts come from Martha Stewart's Cookies, a mighty tome often cited as the absolute last word in baking. Dark and crisp, the cookies have two distinct advantages over the standard sugar cookie:
1. Their color contrasts beautifully with white icing and pale sanding sugars.
2. They're, well, chocolate.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Nonpareils, for sprinkling (optional)
Sift flour, cocoa powder, salt, and cinnamon into a bowl.
Put butter and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. mix in egga nd vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 1 hour or overnight.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Chill in freezer 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, quickly cut out shapes from dough (if dough begins to soften, chill it in freezer 3 to 5 minutes). Reroll and cut scraps. Transfer shapes to prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Brush flour from shapes. Sprinkle with nonpareils, if using. Chill in freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.
Bake cookies until crisp, about 9 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks. Cookie can be stored betwween layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.