Stenciled Chocolate Cookies

1 Yield Varies

After all these years and thousands of holiday cookies, we still find stenciling to be one of the prettiest -- and easiest -- ways to decorate.


  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for surface

  • 1 ¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder

  • ½ cup ground cinnamon

  • Salt

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter

  • 2 ½ cups sifted confectioners' sugar

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Royal Icing for Noah's Ark Sugar Cookies

  • Confectioners' sugar or luster dust (


  1. Sift flour, cocoa, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into a large bowl.

  2. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and beat until combined. Divide dough in half, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out cookies in desired shapes using cookie cutters, and transfer to baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

  4. Bake until crisp, but not dark, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely.

  5. Punch desired shape out of stiff paper (we used a thick envelope) using a craft punch. Hold stencil over 1 cookie, and brush a thin layer of icing over exposed surface using a small food-safe paintbrush. Holding stencil in place, gently sift confectioners' sugar over cookie through a fine sieve to evenly coat exposed surface. Lift stencil, and return cookie to wire rack. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let dry.

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