I often find baking inspiration in doctor’s office waiting rooms. Looking through magazines helps pass the time! Recently I read a recipe for black cocoa cookies in Good Housekeeping. The recipe was meant for Halloween, but after making a dairy-free version of the cookies I saw lots of possibilities.
Dairy-Free Black Cocoa Cookies for Cats, Bats, and even Homemade Oreos
Of course black cocoa cookies are perfect for Halloween, but they also make pretty pumpkin-shaped cookies for Thanksgiving. The taste and color of these cookies remind me of Oreos. Make a cookie sandwich with two of them and you have fancy homemade “Oreos” for holiday cookie trays.
The secret ingredient for making very dark brown baked treats is black cocoa powder. I learned about black cocoa powder from my sister, who frosted a Batman cake using this icing made with it. I ordered black cocoa powder on Amazon. I have also heard people speak highly of King Arthur’s black cocoa powder.
For icing the cookies, we used a favorite Perfect Cookie Icing recipe. You can use vanilla extract instead of almond extract, but the corn syrup is a necessary ingredient to help the icing set. If you need a corn-free option, you can make cookie frosting, but it won’t set the same.
Kids Can Bake Tips
Children can help mix, roll, cut, and of course frost the cookies. Teens and older children can make the entire recipe themselves. For the photos featured here, we used a 4-inch pumpkin cookie cutter, a 3-inch biscuit cutter for the round cookies, and a 1-inch cat cookie cutter that was my grandmother’s. You have to have black cats for Halloween! The pumpkin-shaped variation is a great way for kids to contribute to Thanksgiving dessert.
Special Diet Notes: Black Cocoa Cookies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, and vegetarian.
For egg-free and vegan black cocoa cookies, see Alisa’s Egg Substitute Guide.
For gluten-free dairy-free black cocoa cookies, your favorite gluten-free flour blend might work well, but we haven’t tested it. For gluten-free tests, I would use the egg, rather than an egg substitute, if possible.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup black cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt (omit if using salted buttery spread)
- ¾ cup dairy-free buttery spread
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 large egg (see post above for egg-free option)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powders, baking soda, and salt (if using).
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the buttery spread and sugar together with a mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture with the mixer on low.
- Mix until the flour mixture is fully incorporated.
- Divide the dough in half. Shape the dough into two rounds
- Roll each dough round between two sheets of parchment paper until they are approximately ⅛ inch thick. Refrigerate the rolled out dough until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. You may reuse the parchment paper from rolling out the dough.
- Using cookie cutters dusted with cocoa powder, cut out the cookies and transfer them to your prepared baking sheets.
- Reroll and cut the dough scraps, refrigerating again if necessary.
- Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookie edges are just set.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
- Ice the cookies if desired.
More Festive Kids Can Bake Dairy-Free Cookies