Thursday, April 4, 2024

Blackout Chocolate Eclipse Cookies

This is a sponsored post by Danish Creamery, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible! 

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably already know about the total solar eclipse on April 8. Indianapolis is lucky enough to be in the path of totality, and it's considered one of the best places to view the eclipse. City leaders expect upwards of 100,000 people in the downtown area, and there are dozens of viewing parties planned across central Indiana. You all know I love a theme, so I thought it was only appropriate to make eclipse-themed cookies.

Regular chocolate cookies simply would not do. I needed black cookies to mimic the total blackout. Thankfully, I achieved that with black cocoa powder. 

Let's talk about cocoa powders. There are 3 main types of cocoa powder: Natural cocoa powder, Dutch-process cocoa powder, and black cocoa powder. We make all cocoa powder from bits of hulled and roasted cacao beans called nibs, and they're all unsweetened in powder form. 

Natural cocoa powder retains the natural acidity of the cacao beans. It has a light color and tastes mild. It's the classic chocolate flavor you think of and the type of cocoa powder used in your grandma's favorite recipes.

Dutch-process cocoa is natural cocoa treated with an alkalizing solution, usually potassium carbonate. The solution neutralizes the acidity, resulting in deeper, smoother chocolate flavor.

Black cocoa powder is even more intensely treated with an alkaline solution, resulting in the deepest black color. Black cocoa powder is the reason Oreos have an intense chocolate flavor but they're black, not brown.

Technically, yes, they are interchangeable, but because natural cocoa powder is acidic and the other two aren't, it will affect the chemical leaver if one is present in the recipe. ALSO, it's important to think about what flavor-profile you're trying to achieve before you choose your cocoa powder.

When I use black cocoa powder in a recipe, I typically use a 1:1 ratio of black cocoa powder and Dutch-process cocoa powder.

Okay, now let's move on to talking about the rest of the recipe. These chocolate cookies are shortbread cookies. Traditional shortbread cookies have very few ingredients: sugar, butter, flour. Because of that, you want to use the best ingredients available. That is why I always use European butter in my shortbread cookies. 

European butter is significantly richer in flavor because of its higher butterfat percentage. I use Danish Creamery Unsalted European Style Butter. American butter is 80% butterfat. Most European butter sold in the United States contains 82% butterfat. But the butterfat content of Danish Creamery European Style Butter is 85%. It may not seem like a big deal, but those few percentage points make a big difference when you taste it.

As far as which sugar to use in shortbread cookies, I prefer powdered sugar. Powdered sugar contains cornstarch, which helps contribute to thicker/softer cookies. Cookies made with granulated sugar are more crisp.

One more thing I want to point out—the directions as written are for "slice and bake" cookies, which means I formed the dough into a log, rolled it up, and then sliced it after refrigeration. But if you prefer cleaner, smoother edges, you can roll out the dough and use a 2-inch circle cookie cutter instead.

If you want to decorate the cookies so it looks like the sun is peeking out from behind the moon, dip one edge of the cookie in melted white chocolate and decorate with yellow sprinkles. Additionally, you can sandwich two of the cookies with frosting, like an Oreo. I made a mocha buttercream for my cookies, and I included that recipe below.

Blackout Chocolate Eclipse Cookies

Yield: Makes about 32, 2-inch diameter cookies

Time: About 1 hour


  • 1 3/4 cup (210 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons (18 grams) black cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons (18 grams) dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) Danish Creamery European Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup (113 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: white chocolate, yellow sugar sprinkles, buttercream filling


  1. Stir together flour, both cocoa powders, and salt in bowl. Set aside.
  2. Cream butter and powdered sugar on low speed until combined. Scrape bowl with spatula. Mix on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract.
  3. Scrape down bowl and add flour mixture. Blend on low speed until dough comes together.
  4. Lay out piece of plastic wrap and dump dough into center. Use hands to compress and roll dough into 2-inch diameter log.
  5. Wrap and chill at least 30 minutes.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator. 
  7. Adjust oven rack to center position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper.
  8. Cut dough into 1/3-inch thick slices and place on baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating pan at 6-minute mark.
  10. Allow to cool on pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.
  11. Once cooled, if desired, dip edge of cookie in to melted white chocolate and cover with yellow sprinkles to resemble sun peeking out from behind moon during eclipse.
  12. Another option: Turn over half the cookies and spread layer of frosting on bottoms. Top with remaining cookies to make sandwiches.

Mocha Buttercream

Yield: Makes about 2 cups

Time: About 10 minutes


  • 1/2 cup (227 grams) Challenge Unsalted Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 2 cups (226 grams) powdered sugar 
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Cream butter, cocoa powder, and espresso powder in mixing bowl on low speed until smooth.
  2. Add powdered sugar and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and salt, and beat until combined.

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