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Sugar cookies filled to the brim with chocolate shavings and topped with mocha royal icing

sleepy santa

Children like to leave a glass of milk out for Santa on Christmas Eve, but we all know the milk gets warm and yucky by midnight. Santa knows it, too. Poor fellow… he doesn’t need the stomachache!

What Santa really wants at midnight is a boost of caffeine to help him successfully pull off the all-nighter. He’s got a schedule to keep, with no time to spare, so he’d prefer to take a Cuppa to go!

Cuppa’s are our ode to the classic sugar cookie. They’re packed with chocolate shavings and topped with mocha royal icing. They’re shaped like a creamy cup of coffee, complete with decorative latte art.

An extra egg yolk and the touch of brown sugar make these sugar cookies richer and denser, yet still soft and slightly chewy in texture. This dough is a dream to work with for any cookie cut-outs. And, oh, the chocolate shavings make these cookies taste like they’ve been infused with Christmas magic!

We also offer an alternate “hot cocoa” icing recipe, for your non-coffee drinkers. It replaces the espresso powder with hot cocoa mix. It’s also topped with tiny marshmallows, which everybody loves.

cuppa sugar cookies

Cuppa Sugar Cookies

Adventure Bakers
Sugar cookies filled to the brim with chocolate shavings and topped with mocha royal icing
5 from 1 vote
Chill time 2 hrs
Cook Time 10 mins
Servings 36 cookies

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature, 2 sticks)
  • ¾ cup white granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 egg (large)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup semi-sweet baking chocolate (shaved, 2oz, e.g., ½ Baker's Semi-Sweet Bar. Use vegetable peeler or paring knife to make shavings.)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Mocha Icing (option 1)

  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons meringue powder (e.g., Wilton)
  • 8 Tablespoons water (separated)
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder (e.g., Hershey's)
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder

Hot Cocoa Icing (option 2)

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons meringue powder (e.g. Wiltion)
  • ½ cup hot cocoa mix
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • ½ cup tiny marshmallows (e.g., Jet-Puffed marshmallow bits)

Instructions
 

Dough

  • In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter till it’s pale and fluffy.
  • Add the white sugar and brown sugar and beat 1-2 minutes until smooth.
  • Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, chocolate shavings, baking powder, and salt.
  • (If using an electric stand mixer, switch to the paddle attachment) Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the cream mixture on the lowest mixer speed until combined.
    cuppa dough
  • Divide the dough into two parts and wrap each in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Sprinkle powdered sugar onto the countertop or a silicone mat and roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick.
  • Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes, and place them onto cookie trays lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, leaving an inch between cookies. 
  • Bake the cookies until the edges just begin to show a light golden color, about 10-12 minutes.  Allow the cookies to remain on the baking sheet for 4 more minutes, then move the cookies to a wire baking rack and allow them to cool completely before adding the icing.

Mocha Icing (option 1)

  • In a mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and 5 tablespoons water.  Whip on high for 7-10 minutes.
  • Remove ¼ cup of white icing and put into a pastry bag with a small round tip (Wilton #4)
  • Add the cocoa powder, espresso powder, and 3 more Tablespoons water to the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. The icing should be slightly runny and good for piping.
  • Using a pastry bag with a medium round tip (Wilton #7), pipe the icing around the edge of the cookie and continue spiraling towards the center. The icing swirl will run together and form a smooth layer of icing.
  • While the icing is still wet, pipe latte art in the center of the cookie.
  • Leave the iced cookies uncovered for several hours to dry completely before stacking them or transferring them to an air-tight container.

Hot Cocoa Icing (option 2)

  • In a mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar, meringue powder, hot cocoa mix, and water.  Whip on high for 7-10 minutes. The icing should be slightly runny. If not, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time and continue to whip until it’s a good consistency for piping
  • Using a pastry bag with a small round tip (Wilton #7), pipe the icing around the edge of the cookie and continue spiraling towards the center. The icing swirl will run together and form a smooth layer of icing.
  • Sprinkle the marshmallow bits on top of the cookie while the icing is still wet. Be sure to eat any leftovers.
  • Leave the iced cookies uncovered for several hours to dry completely before stacking them or transferring them to an air-tight container.

Tips & Tricks

  • We couldn’t find a cookie cutter that looked like the top view of a coffee cup, so we used our imaginations and bought a capital letter “Q “cookie cutter. The tail of the Q resembles the handle of the cup. Cutters shaped like a glass ball ornament also work well.
Q cookie cutter for cup
We ordered our “Q” cookie cutter from thecookiecutterclub.com
  • A bar of baking chocolate will flake away nicely using a vegetable peeler or a paring knife.
shaving chocolate
Shaving chocolate with a peeler
  • For the latte art decoration, we recommend a Christmas tree design, such as shown below:
latte art
How to pipe tree latte art

Alternates & Substitutions

  • The dough is great as a replacement for all of your sugar cookie cut-out decorating needs!
  • You can use a German chocolate baking bar instead of a semi-sweet baking bar for the chocolate shavings. This will make the overall cookie flavor slightly sweeter, which is not a bad thing.
  • We recommend using 2 teaspoons of espresso powder per batch of icing, but you can add a teaspoon more or a teaspoon less, depending upon how much you really like coffee flavor.
  • Espresso powder can be found at most grocery stores, though sometimes you really have to search for it. We’ve seen it in the baking section, the in the coffee section, or sometimes on the “international” aisle. If you can’t find espresso powder, you can crush up an equal amount of instant coffee granules. It’s not quite the same thing as espresso powder, but it works fine to flavor our mocha icing!
  • If you’re making the hot cocoa decorated cookie, it might also be hard to find the tiny marshmallows, which are smaller than the more common “mini” marshmallows. Some Target stores sell “Jet-Puffed bits”. You can sometimes buy a pack of tiny marshmallows at a country store or a bulk food store.
marshmallow bits
Marshmallow “bits” are smaller than “miniature” marshmallows.
Cuppa mocha and hot cocoa
A Cuppa Mocha and Cuppa Hot Cocoa
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