Coal Cookies

star rating (12) rate this recipe »
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Coal Cookies

star rating (12) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

Naughty or nice? Naughty earns you coal in your stocking! Tuck a package of these "coal" cookies in the toe of your favorite "naughty" person's stocking on Christmas Eve.

1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups (10 ounces) brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (2 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa
1 1/2 cups (6 1/2 ounces) King Arthur 100% Organic White Whole Wheat Flour or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips*

*Or a mixture of raisins, chips, and nuts.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line them with parchment. Or lightly grease a mini-muffin pan. Or use a combination of pans: the recipe makes 36 cookies.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt. Add the eggs, beating until smooth. Stir in the cocoa powder, then the flour; the dough will be stiff. Mix in the chocolate chips, or the chips/raisins/nuts.

Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls (about 1 1/2" balls, about 1 1/8 ounces) onto the prepared baking sheets, or into the mini-muffin cups; a tablespoon cookie scoop is the perfect tool for this. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes (on a baking sheet); 15 minutes (in an aluminum mini-muffin pan), or 21 minutes (in a silicone mini-muffin pan); they'll look not-quite-done in the center. Remove them from the oven, and allow the cookies to cool for about 10 minutes; or the mini muffins to cool for 20 minutes. Gently squeeze and shape the cookies into uneven balls, to resemble chunks of coal. Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

Note: Cookies stay fresh at room temperature no longer than a week. For extended storage, bake, then freeze immediately to serve later.


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  • star rating 12/13/2014
  • Chad from Minneapolis, MN
  • I use mint chocolate chips (Hershey's) and sub 15% of the coca for the KAF Black Cocoa. I bake them as drop cookies to cut a couple of steps. They turn out AMAZING!
  • star rating 11/30/2014
  • Jo from
  • Flavor's just okay. The idea is cute though and I like the texture.
  • star rating 10/01/2014
  • Ginger from VT
  • This is a great recipe that I love at Christmas as well as throughout the year! They travel well, keep well, and are super for care packages, parties, or any treat. If I were naughty, I would eat them all! If I were nice, I would share them! Happy baking! Laurie@KAF
  • star rating 12/21/2013
  • Toni from Savannah, Georgia
  • The taste is wonderful! I added dark chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet, just to continue the illusion of something very very dark. The first tray of cookies I let cool 10 minutes as the instructions said, but they had to just a little too much to shape into coal and started to crumble easily. So after that I only let them cool five minutes and that worked much much better. I also used parchment paper, which always makes life easier. I shall be packaging these cookies in food safe cellophane bags with pretty labels on them. Thanks King Arthur Flour for a great recipe and a very clever idea.
  • star rating 12/14/2013
  • Mary from Virginia
  • My grandchildren and I have made these on Christmas Eve for several years. They love "secretly" putting them in their parents' stockings at bedtime. The cookies are easy and delicious, but the "coal" idea makes them special. The key is not to over bake them, or they won't mash together as well. Very special memories. Thank you, KAF.
  • star rating 11/30/2012
  • Helen from Brooklyn, NY
  • Yummy and easy to make. The first batch I overcooked slightly so they were burnt on the bottom and harder to make into lumps. The second I took out a minute earlier and also made the lumps after only five minutes of cooling. Much better result. I also used a piece of plastic wrap like a glove to squash the cookies into lumps so that I didn't get my hands all chocolatey (not that that's a problem).
  • star rating 11/07/2011
  • madamblue from KAF Community
  • Who doesn't like a brownie tasting cookie?! My family does not like raisins or nuts so I used chocolate chips and pre-chopped dates, trick from my dear Granny. Used pecans for dad. YUM! They travel well, taste great! Happy Holidays
  • star rating 12/24/2010
  • sunbaked76 from KAF Community
  • This recipe worked perfectly for me. I used a full12 oz bag of semi-sweet mini-chips - no raisins or nuts. I didn't bother shaping the balls of dough too perfectly (I don't have a cookie scoop so I just used a spoon) which resulted in perfect little lumps of "coal" when they came out of the oven. No reshaping necessary. They didn't spread too much either during baking allowing me to fit more of them on a small cookie sheet (I have a small oven). I made them as part of a gift for my 20-something cousin, and my chocoholic-husband didn't want me to give them away!
  • star rating 12/19/2010
  • estrellas from KAF Community
  • Very disappointing recipe. I offered to bring cookies to a holiday party, and chose these since the concept seemed novel. However, the "cookies" ended up resembling brownies in both flavor and texture. And rather than looking like coal, I felt they looked like cookies that I had messed up and then squished into balls. To top it all off, the process of forming them into lumps was maddening. They wouldn't stick together into a cohesive ball and the edges were too crispy to incorporate. It was a huge mess.
    I'm sorry these cookies were not a success for you. Please give us a call at 802-649-3717 to talk about the recipe. - kelsey
  • star rating 08/07/2010
  • Hilda from San Francisco
  • Love these! I make them every year for St. Nikolaus Day. My recipients get lumps of coal in their shoes, but they don't complain. These are great, like moist brownie bites with rich, dense chocolatey flavor. The coffee (I used instant coffee, don't have espresso powder) really adds depth to the chocolate flavor.
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