Cocoa Cookies for Christmas or Anytime

Cocoa cookies for Christmas or anytime!

When done correctly, with the ingredients as listed – i.e., Dutch process cocoa, these cookies are both crispy and chewy at the same time. They should be very dark brown.

I have modernized the recipe and made it in a more reasonable size for today. The original made hundreds of cookies.

The original of this recipe is over 200 years old. It has been made in my family for at least that long.  From a “receipt” in an ancestor’s journal dated 1788.

These cookies are the most intensely flavored chocolate wafer cookies of any I have tasted – We always had them for Christmas and on special occasions or in the summer when grandma made ice cream.

These cookies are excellent keepers if stored in a tightly closed tin. (however the tin has to be in a locked vault or secret hidey-hole, otherwise they disappear like magic).

*It is important to use only “Dutch-process” cocoa. “Natural” cocoa doesn’t work in this recipe.
I recommend the Double Dutch cocoa from King Arthur Flour and often use this mixed half and half with the Black cocoa from the same source. Other brands are Droste, Valrhona, Callebaut, Bensdorp, Hersey’s Special Dark cocoa powder is Dutched, the regular Hersey’s is not.


Unsalted (sweet) butter 1 stick (4oz.,- 113.4 g.)
Sugar 2 cups (384 g.)
cocoa (*Dutch process) 1/2 cup (2 oz., – 56 g) (I recommend “black” cocoa very dark cookies)
water 1 tablespoon (15 ml)
salt 1/4 teaspoon
egg 1 large
vanilla 1 teaspoon
flour (all purpose) 2 cups (200 g.)
baking soda 1 teaspoon

cream butter and sugar, add cocoa, water and salt.
beat the egg and add with vanilla to the mixture.
sift the flour and soda together twice then gradually sift it into the batter, continue beating until flour is completely blended.

Turn out onto plastic wrap, flatten to about 1 inch thick, wrap dough tightly and refrigerate at least overnight.
I find that the flavor deepens as the dough is stored longer in the fridge – up to two weeks.

To bake, preheat oven to 350°

Allow dough to come to room temperature.

Dough can be rolled out between 2 sheets of baking parchment to less than 1/4 ” thickness. (1/8 inch for thin, crisp wafers)
Cut into 2 ” rounds, dust with powdered sugar (or vanilla sugar) and bake on baking parchment, or on greased baking sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes but watch carefully, some ovens bake quicker than others – in my convection oven, they bake in 7 minutes-maximum, but often are ready at 5 minutes.  They will puff up while baking and will flatten as they cool.
Using baking parchment is much easier – just slide the paper off the sheet pan and allow to cool then ease the cookies off the paper – they should be crisp as soon as they cool

Otherwise you have to be very careful removing them from the cookie sheets and the sheets have to be washed and re-greased before the next batch.   I fill several sheets of parchment with the raw cookies and after sliding the baked sheets off onto cooling racks, I allow the cookie sheets to cool for a few minutes and slide another loaded sheet of parchment on and right back into the oven.

Option #1 This is the easiest for novice bakers….
Form dough into a rope 3/4 to 1″ (Tootsie-roll size) in diameter. cut into 1″ sections, roll into a ball, roll in powdered sugar (or vanilla sugar), place on baking parchment, flatten with bottom of a hobnail glass dipped in powdered sugar or the vanilla sugar,
bake as above.
Option # 2
Roll out very thin right on baking parchment. Using a pizza cutter, pie-crust cutter, crimping roller, etc. cut into strips, straight or wavy, or into squares, triangles or diamonds.
Slide baking parchment onto a cookie sheet and bake as above.
Slide parchment onto a cooling rack. when cookies have cooled enough to touch but are still flexible, quickly roll into cylinders and dust with powdered sugar or let cool and dip one end into melted white chocolate.

These wafers can also be broken up and sprinkled over vanilla ice cream.

Also slightly stale cookies can be rolled between sheets of baking parchment to make crumbs that can be used to coat cakes that have been smoothly frosted with buttercream or sour cream or even the old faithful “7-minute” frosting.

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