Dark Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies by Charlotte Hubbard

I love these cookies because they hold their shape when you bake them—and when decorated with some frosting, they really dress up a cookie plate. The butter makes the dough very stiff after it’s been chilled, but these rich, chewy cookies are well worth the extra effort!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup + 1T.  dark cocoa powder
½  tsp. salt
2/3 cup (10 T.) butter, softened (no substitutes)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy, and then beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. On low speed, mix in the flour blend until thoroughly combined. Make a ball of half the dough and press it into a disk about 2 inches thick on wax paper, then wrap the disk in the wax paper. Repeat with remaining half of the dough, and chill the disks at least a couple of hours (overnight/a couple days is fine).

When you’re ready to bake, remove the disks from the refrigerator and allow to soften for a while. Preheat the oven to 350º and cover baking sheets with parchment paper. Using one disk at a time, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s a little thicker than ¼ inch (too thin, and the cookies will be hard). If the dough is stiff, knead it between your hands like clay until it’s pliable. Cut out the cookies and place about an inch apart (they won’t spread). Bake 10-12 minutes, until cookies are firm but not browned—don’t over bake! Cool on wire racks. Decorate. About 2 ½  dozen, depending on the size of your cutters. These freeze nicely.

“Hubbard writes Amish stories with style and grace.” —RT Book Reviews

“An endearing romance . . . By making a space for determined women inside the Amish community and providing a satisfying conclusion to various familial hurts, Hubbard provides readers with a comforting tale of love and forgiveness.” —Publishers Weekly

For widow Rose Raber, it’s been a year of tragic loss and difficult decisions. She thought providing for her young daughter was the greatest challenge she faced. Until her dying mother revealed that Rose was adopted—and her birth mother is someone with much to lose if the secret comes out. As Rose struggles to reconcile the truth with her faith—and her troubling curiosity—outgoing newcomer Matthias Wagler is another surprise she didn’t expect. His optimism and easy understanding inspires her. And his prospective partnership with wealthy deacon Saul Hartzler promises a possible new life for them—together. But with this second chance comes yet another revelation for all involved.

When Saul’s wife unexpectedly turns up at Rose’s new job, their bond as mother and daughter is instant and unmistakable. And it isn’t long before an unforgiving Saul discovers the truth, threatening Matthias’s livelihood and Rose’s future. Now with more than just their happiness at stake, Rose and Matthias must find the strength and courage to stand strong—and trust God’s enduring miracles of motherhood, forgiveness, and love.