There is no better way to celebrate football season than with football-shaped cookies. Here, a deeply chocolatey and dark brown (due to Dutch-process cocoa powder) cookie dough is rolled out, cut into football shapes, and decorated with royal icing. Because the cookie dough is already the color of a traditional pigskin, there is no need to decorate the whole cookie with a frosting—piping laces onto the top and ends of the football is all you need to do in order for your cookies to scream "game time!"
If you're not a football fan, this chocolate sugar cookie dough is still totally delicious. Try using the cookies to sandwich vanilla ice cream for a homemade ice cream sandwich.
- For the Cookies:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Icing:
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
- 4 to 6 tablespoons warm water
Gather the ingredients.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl and using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Add the egg and vanilla and mix on low speed to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Shape the dough into two discs. Roll out one dish between two large sheets of parchment paper to 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer to a baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Repeat with the remaining disc.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two additional baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a 4-inch football-shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes from the dough and transfer to the prepared sheets, leaving space between each one. You will only be able to fit about 8 cookies on each sheet.
Re-roll the scraps and cut out more footballs. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Repeat with the second disc.
Bake each parchment sheet of cookies one at a time until slightly darkened in color and dry to the touch, about 12 to 15 minutes, rotating at the halfway point. Let cool to room temp on wire racks before decorating. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
To make the royal icing, place the confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder, and 4 tablespoons of warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium-high for 5 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and resembles a glossy meringue with soft peaks (when you pull the whisk from the icing bowl the peaks, but fold over on themselves). Add more water if the icing is too thick or more sugar if it is too wet.
To decorate the cookies, transfer the icing to a piping bag fitted with a tiny holed tip. Pipe laces on the top center of each cookie and a curved line on either end.
Let rest for several hours before serving if you would like your decorations to be dry; or just an hour, if you don’t mind slightly soft icing.
- If you do not have a football-shaped cookie cutter, trace a football shape on a piece of paper, cut it out, and use it as a template. With a paring knife, cut around the edges of the template to make football-shaped cookies.
- If you do not want to make the cookies right away, the dough can be divided into two discs, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, placed in a resealable plastic bag, and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the discs overnight in the refrigerator before rolling out.
- If you do not have parchment paper, you can roll out the dough on a floured work surface, but it will be trickier to transfer it to the fridge to chill. Moreover, if you are not using parchment, you need to chill the dough before rolling it out or it will be too sticky.
- If you do not have a piping bag and tip, you can use a zip-top plastic bag with a tiny hole cut out of the corner.
- It is tricky to determine when the cookies have finished baking, as you cannot use a visual cue since the cookies are dark in color to begin with. If the cookies look dry and the edges have darkened, they are likely ready. Plus, a less crispy and slightly chewy chocolate sugar cookie is a delicious thing.
- Cookies will keep tightly wrapped in plastic wrap on the counter for up to 3 days or can be refrigerated for up to a week and frozen for up to a month.
- If you cannot find meringue powder, omit it and the water and substitute 3 egg whites instead to make the royal icing.