The dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to two weeks. Defrost frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight, then let stand at room temperature until firm yet malleable, about 30 minutes. The cookies are refined enough to serve plain, but a dusting of sifted confectioners’ sugar or chocolate glaze is a nice touch. Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days but should be dusted with sugar or glazed the day they are served.


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


Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees F. 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.

In standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the remaining 16 tablespoons butter, sugar, salt and cooled cocoa mixture on high speed until well combined and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl once or twice with a rubber spatula. Add the yolks and vanilla and mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl. With the mixer running on low, add the flour in 3 additions, waiting until each addition is incorporated before adding next and scraping bowl after each addition. Continue to mix until the dough forms a cohesive ball, about 5 seconds. Turn dough onto the counter; divide into 3 4-inch disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm yet malleable, 45 to 60 minutes. (Alternatively, shape the dough into a log, 2 inches in diameter and about 12 inches long; use parchment paper or plastic wrap to roll into a neat cylinder. Chill until very firm and cold, at least 1 hour.)

Roll out 1 dough disk between 2 large sheets of parchment paper to an even thickness of 3/16 inch. (If dough becomes soft and sticky, slide rolled dough on parchment onto a 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 a thin metal spatula, place the shapes on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Gather the dough scraps and chill. (For cylinder-shaped dough, simply slice cookies 1/4 inch thick and place on parchment-lined baking sheets.)

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

Recipe reprinted by permission of America's Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.

RecID 10781

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