The Best Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies are perfectly spiced, fudgy in the center, and have crunchy sugared edges. These cookies are quick, seriously easy, and look gorgeous in a cookie box. They’re a huge crowd-pleaser around the holidays, you definitely need to add them to your ‘to bake’ list!
It’s been snowing and snowing in Reno which means I’ve been baking and baking and paying the neighbor kids to shovel my driveway which is the ultimate form of self-care in case you’re wondering. I’m feeling really optimistic that I might even have my first white Christmas after almost 10 years living in Northern Nevada. Cross your fingers for me!
Anyways, I’m determined to really immerse myself in Christmas for the next 10 days starting with these cookies! Sure, I didn’t get around to the gorgeous piped gingerbread cookies I say I’ll make every year. But these honestly taste way better. And there’s chocolate which isn’t usually my priority in life but for some reason, gingerbread and cocoa just werks, ok?
Let’s talk about chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies
I unapologetically ate six of these cookies right out of the oven and I’d do it again. These chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies were born out of a desire to make a cookie that was ridiculously chewy and spiced (like these coffee cookies!) but with just a hint of chocolate. Not a full-on chocolate flavor but like, halfway there. Oh, and I wanted that crisp, Turbinado sugar outside because truly, is anything better? Here’s why you’ll love these cookies!
- They’re perfectly soft, chewy, and fudgy with a sparkly, crunchy sugar shell (edge brownie vibes!)
- The recipe is quick, simple, and totally fool-proof.
- The cookies stay fresh for days without getting stale. Which makes them sturdy enough for sending to friends!
- They’re the ultimate cookie for Christmas and the holidays.
Here’s the ingredients you’ll need
- All-purpose flour – nothing fancy! Just make sure to fluff the flour with a fork or whisk, spoon it into the measuring cup, & level it off when you measure. If you just scoop the flour, you’ll add too much to the recipe!
- Cocoa powder – I like Dutch but any cocoa powder will work.
- Spices – ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper.
- Molasses – classic, unsulphured molasses is what you’re looking for. Don’t use blackstrap, it’ll be too bitter!
- Sugars – dark brown (or light!) and Turbinado for rolling.
- Baking basics – baking soda, Kosher salt, unsalted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract.
You don’t need anything crazy to make these chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies but there are a few tools that will help!
- Cookie scoop – I use a #40 cookie scoop (1 ounce/2 Tablespoons) to get big, beautiful cookies. You can use a smaller scoop, just keep in mind they make bake quicker.
- Parchment paper – you don’t want to bake cookies straight on the sheet pan or they will get too browned on the bottom (and won’t be as chewy).
- Fine-mesh sieve – to sift the flour and cocoa. It removes all the lumps!
How to make these cookies
- First, whisk up the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside for later.
- Next, cream the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until it’s light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract until it’s incorporated.
- Mix in the molasses until the mixture is creamy. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until you have a thick dough. Pop the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
- Once the dough is chilled, scoop the cookie dough into balls. Then, roll each ball in Turbinado sugar.
- Line the cookie dough balls on a sheet pan. Bake at 350°F for 10-11 minutes.
- Lastly, cool the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes and then let them cool completely on a rack. Enjoy!
Do I have to chill the dough?
Sorry but yep, you do! When the dough is freshly-made, it’s very sticky and hard to roll. Let the cookie dough chill for at least one hour (or overnight) to get the proper texture and chewiness. Trust me, it makes scooping and rolling the cookies so much easier!
Can I add chocolate chips to the cookies?
Of course! Adding chocolate chips gives chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies a brownie-like texture. I personally don’t add them because they end up tasting more chocolate-y than gingerbread-y but they are still really good with the chocolate chips! If you like a rich, chocolatey flavor, you can add 1/2 of a cup of semisweet or dark chocolate chips.
How do I get those crackly tops?
Since these cookies have a lot of acidity from the baking soda and molasses, they puff up quickly in the oven. When they cool, the cookies fall and leave those cracks. If you want those signature cracks, make sure your baking soda is fresh. You’ll also want to roll the dough in your hands and then again in the Turbinado sugar which will help define those crinkles even more!
If you don’t want the crunchy Turbinado sugar edges, you can also use different decorations on these cookies! Here are a few ideas:
- Sprinkles – roll the cookie dough balls in holiday sprinkles instead.
- Chocolate – dip the cooled cookies halfway in dark, milk, or white chocolate.
- Chocolate chunks – place chopped chocolate chunks on top of the raw cookie dough balls to get those IG-famous chocolate puddles.
Storing & freezing
- To store leftover cookies, place them in an airtight container. Leave them at room temperature for up to 5 days. Unlike most cookies, they stay soft for days!
- To freeze leftover cookies, place them in a freezer bag or airtight container. Separate each layer with parchment paper. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- If you want to freeze the dough, roll the chilled dough into balls and place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Freeze for 1-2 hours until they’re solid. Then, place the cookie dough balls in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge for 1-2 hours before you roll the cookie dough balls in sugar and bake.
Recipe tips & tricks
- Don’t over-mix the dough once you add the dry ingredients or you’ll over-develop the gluten in the flour. Then, you’ll end up with dry, dense cookies instead of chewy ones!
- Chill the dough for at least 1 hour or you’ll end up with one giant, flat cookie.
- Bake just 6 cookies at a time. These cookies spread out quite a bit so they need a bit of room.
- Don’t let the dough get too warm when you’re rolling the cookie dough balls. They need to be cold or they’ll spread out too much.
- Underbake the chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies to get those chewy centers. The edges will be set and the centers of the cookies will still be a bit shiny (they’ll finish cooking as they cool).
More holiday cookies you’ll love
Brown Butter Peanut M&M Cookies
Cardamom Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies
Gingerbread Biscotti with White Chocolate & Lemon
Eggnog Cookies with Boozy Glaze
Sesame Lace Cookies with Dark Chocolate
Shortbread Linzer Cookies with Raspberry Jam
Cardamom Gingerbread Cookies with Orange Glaze
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The Best Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
- 2 c all-purpose flour
- 1/3 c cocoa powder (preferably Dutch)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tbs ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/8 tsp black pepper, finely ground
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 c dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 c unsulphured molasses
- 1/2 c chocolate chips (optional)
- 1/2 c Turbinado sugar, for rolling
- #40 cookie scoop (1 ounce/2 Tablespoons)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, Kosher salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until it's very light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Then, mix in the molasses until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Sift the the flour-cocoa mixture into to the wet ingredients and mix just until the dough comes together. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl and ensure there are no dry spots. If you're adding chocolate chips, fold them into the dough. Then, cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- Once the dough is chilled and you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Evenly pour the Turbinado sugar on a plate.
- Using a #40 scoop (2 Tablespoons), scoop the dough into about 20 balls. Using your palms, shape each portion of dough into a smooth ball. Then, roll each ball in the Turbinado sugar. Place the cookie dough balls at least 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet pans. Refrigerate any cookie dough balls that don't fit on the sheet pans.
- Bake the cookies on the middle rack for 10-11 minutes, flipping the pan halfway through, until the edges are set and the centers are still a bit shiny. (They may look raw in the center but they'll finish cooking as they cool). Let the cookies cool on the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
Song of the day: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love