Thin and Crispy Chocolate Cookies

What is it about thin, crispy cookies? I guess I love them because they appear so insubstantial; it doesn’t seem like you’re eating much, a guilt-free mini-indulgence. The only problem I run into is that if they’re good, it’s sort of hard to eat just one, isn’t it?

Take these chocolate cookies for example. They seem so innocuous. Thin, light. But with a deep chocolate flavor from natural cocoa, and lightly spiced with cinnamon, vanilla, molasses, and just a sprinkling of tongue-tingling cayenne, these cookies are hard to resist after the first bite.

They’re sort of seductive that way. Perfect for a Valentine sweetheart. Enjoy.

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Cookies Recipe

  • Prep time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 3 to 6 dozen, depending on size of cookie

Although the prep time is stated as 1 hour 45 minutes, an hour of that is the resting time for the dough.

If using salted butter, skip the added salt in the recipe.

When you measure out flour, if you don't have a kitchen scale, gently scoop the flour using a spoon into the measuring cup, leveling the top off with a knife. Do not pack down the flour.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (195 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (70 g) natural, unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick, 110 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1 egg (size large)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon molasses

Method

1 In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne.

2 In a stand-up mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, a couple of minutes on medium speed (start on low speed or else the sugar will fly out). Beat in the egg, vanilla, and molasses. (The mixture may look a little curdled, don't worry about it.)

3 Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a third at a time, beating after each addition. When well mixed, remove the dough from the mixer, and form it into a ball. It should have the consistency of playdoh. If not, if it's stiff and unmanageable, work some water into it, a tablespoon at a time. Then wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the refrigerator for half an hour. (You can chill it overnight, but then you'll need to let it sit out for a while before trying to roll it out.)

thin-crispy-chocolate-cookie-5

4 When you are ready to roll-out the dough, preheat the oven to 350°F (175° C). Break off a chunk of dough from the ball of dough (about a quarter of it) and place it between two pieces of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to an even 1/8-inch thickness.

thin-crispy-chocolate-cookie-6 thin-crispy-chocolate-cookie-7

5 Use a cookie cutter or the rim of a small glass to cut out cookie shapes from the rolled out dough. Place on a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet, allowing at least 1/2 inch between cookies on the cookie sheet. (If you are making different sizes of cookies, don't mix them on the baking sheet or the smaller ones will be done before the larger ones.)

6 Bake in the middle rack for 8 to 10 minutes, less or more, depending on the size and thickness of the cookies. (I recommend doing a test batch of a few cookies to see what is the optimal time for your batch of cookies in your oven.) The cookies should bounce back when you press on their centers, and some of them should be a little dark around the edges. When cool, they should be crispy, but not burnt.

7 Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing the cookies from the tray to cool completely on a rack.

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Crispy Thin Chocolate Cookies on Simply Recipes

32 Comments

  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    I love a cookie like this – great recipe!

  2. Maureen

    I always make really thin ginger cookies but I might be changing my mind. These look wonderful. Thin cookies mean I can have more, I’m convinced.

  3. Ann

    These look great, and of course just in time for Valentines Day. My husband likes sweets, so I might add some red icing on some of them. I know crazy, right? I want them just like this.

  4. Jane M.

    I love thin crisp cookies. I also think if they were cut into 1/4″ by 3″ round shapes they would be perfect for making ice cream sandwiches.

    • Elise

      Hi Jane, I was thinking the same thing! I think that may be why I like these cookies so much, they remind me of the sides of ice cream sandwiches. If I were making them for that purpose, I wouldn’t bake them as long, I would want them not as crispy.

      • Dawn

        Aww, not as crispy is no fun! I want them fracturing into little pieces so that you can lick the ice cream from your hands! That has to be the definition of romance, or at least close friendship. Brittle ice cream sandwiches break all barriers! :)

    • Judi

      That is what I did with these – and it worked perfectly!!!!

      Although my dough was a little wet and hard to work with, but I did use whole wheat pastry flour and make them vegan… They did turn out well though : )

      I baked them crispy, but then after stuffing with ice cream (I made a vanilla using coconut milk) and setting them in the freezer, they soften up!

      Happy eating

  5. Fawn @ Cowen Park Kitchen

    I think thin cookies are great because they’re more like crackers–the crunch and brittle quality is prime snacking territory! Yum.

  6. Emilie

    I just made these, and wow…. These are right up my alley. The cayenne really makes these special. Thanks, Elise! Your website is a favorite! Every recipe I’ve tried has ended up in my keeper file.

  7. Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody)

    This is utterly serendipitous. I decided today to make chocolate heart cookies for my son’s kindergarten teachers but didn’t have a chocolate cookie recipe I was sure would hold their shape. This is absolutely perfect, thank you!

  8. Stefanie | One Savvy Lady

    This is the first time I encounter thin cookies, and I think the idea is genius! It will be great for portion control, and satisfying that chips craving and sweet tooth altogether. Awesome!

  9. Amy

    These cookies look like they hold a nice, sharp edge. I have some heart-shaped cutters with a scalloped edge- I’d love to try this recipe to see if they stay nice and scalloped.

    • Elise

      They should. If you have any issues with them being too soft as you try to pull out the cut forms, just put the rolled out dough in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes (lying flat).

  10. Peter Keim

    Just made these strictly according to the recipe, although I do not have a standing mixer, so used a hand-held to cream the butter, etc. Had to mix dry ingredients in by hand, as the dough is very stiff when all is incorporated. They’re good, but not the best I’ve had. I wonder if slightly more cocoa and sugar and a little less flour would improve them. I’ll lose the cayenne in future versions, as it adds very little except a slight ‘kick’, which I find out of character in this kind of cookie. Otherwise, I am sure my grandsons will make them disappear quickly….

  11. Anne

    Hi Elise,
    Lomg time fan of yours. I got many of your recipes in my Evernote recipe notebook.
    I have a question: what could I use instead of the molasses used here? I want to give my mom (who lives in France) the recipe and I don’t think we have any molasses in France.

    • Elise

      Can she get brown sugar? I would sub the 3/4 cup of white sugar with about 3/4 cup 2 Tbsp of brown sugar, packed. Treacle can also be used instead of molasses. Or you can skip it all together.

      • Anne

        I have never heard of treacle so won’t be recommending that;)
        But I am sure she can find brown sugar so I will tell her to use it instead of molasses.
        The cookies were delicious by the way! I love crunchy cookies!

  12. Pat

    Only have Dutch processed cocoa. Should I adjust recipe?

    • Elise

      Hi Pat, since Dutch processed cocoa has already been alkalized, I wouldn’t add the baking soda, or maybe not as much. You’ll have to experiment. One of the reasons I generally prefer natural unsweetened cocoa over Dutch processes is that it is more intensively chocolate tasting. If using Dutch processed you may want to add a pinch of instant coffee to the dough, to help give a kick to the chocolate flavor.

  13. JD

    Looks like only Peter and I made these cookies. I disagree about the Cayenne–pepper and chocolate are wonderful! However, the dough itself was quite a work out–very dry, very hard. I suggest chilling it only 1 hour not over night as I did. In the past I have made thin cookies with this type of dough before so I knew what I was in for but this was the toughest dough to roll out. Fortunately, I had a nonstick rolling pin and nonstick sheet for rolling them out–never, I say, never add flour to roll out–the dough would just fall apart. Lots of work but really a yummy treat to complete a sherbert, custard or ice cream dessert or just have with coffee or tea.

  14. George

    looks like a delicious recipe for my sweet tooth but i hate Valentines day , im single lol

  15. Chit

    Hi Elise! Can the excess dough lgft after cutting cookie shapes be rerolled to be able to shape more cookies? I wouldn’t want to waste them!

  16. Sue

    what can you use if you don’t have molasses?

  17. Ester Lawn

    Enjoyed these cookies which I made for Valentines Day. I used my electric hand mixer but also found dough dry and difficult to mix. I had to knead it get it to hold together. Next time I will cut back slightly on the flour and try making the dough in a food processor — pulsing the dry ingredients together to mix; adding the butter in chunks and pulsing to cut in; then adding the wet ingredients and processing until the mixture clumps together.

    • Elise

      This dough would be impossible to make with a hand mixer, it’s too dense! Please let us know if your method with the food processor works for you.

  18. Morgan

    I really enjoyed these the other evening. The cinnamon and cayenne were so delicate it was as though they were suggested rather than actually present – light, delicate flavors. Thank you for sharing. I’ve just printed the recipe as part of a birthday gift for a friend who enjoys cooking with subtle flavors. Cheers!

  19. Gina

    I love chocolate cookies. And these heart shaped ones are simply awesome. I am so going to make me some over the weekend. It’s going to be fun.

  20. Sarah

    I had some trouble getting the dough to come together. I’m enough of a thin cookie rookie that I can’t guess where I went wrong, but I usually have very good luck with following recipes. The dough remained sandy in texture and when I compressed it into a ball to chill, I did myself in. No chilling or thawing made any difference; I simply could not roll it out. If anyone has suggestions, I would be grateful. I am eager to try these cookies with a dab of marscapone and a bit of fresh fruit as small dessert….I think they will earn big praise.

    • Elise

      Hi Sarah, the dough should have the consistency of play-doh before you chill it. So if it doesn’t, then it sounds to me as if it needs a bit more moisture. I would let it come to room temp, then work in a little water, a teaspoon at a time, until it gets to a malleable consistency.

  21. Taylor

    Take two cookies and stuff some frosting in them for… OREOS!!!

  22. Sandy

    These cookies are delish! I am going to make ice cream sandwiches : ). In my household we use smart balance instead of butter.. Not as rich and came out a drier cookie. That’s why the ice cream will make this the perfect treat for my grandsons. : ).

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