Chocolate Earthquake Cookies (Chocolate Sugar Cookies)

These chocolate sugar cookies have chewy centers, crisp edges, and the perfect amount of sparkly sugar on top. An easy cookie recipe that is a favorite in our house!

I’m coming at you today with a plate full of chewy chocolate sugar cookies. We fondly call these “earthquake cookies” in our home, both because the crackly tops resemble “cracks in the ground” and because these cookies are so good they’ll rock your world. They’re easy to make too, which is always a bonus in my book.

These chocolate cookies are ideal for holiday baking, especially if you have little hands that want to help in the kitchen. The dough is simple to put together, and after it has chilled in the fridge it’s fun to roll into balls and then coat with sugar.

Tips for Success

While this is a relatively simple cookie recipe, there are a few tricks I recommend:

  • Chill the dough. Giving the dough at least an hour to chill before baking is important because the dough is quite sticky and chilling makes it easier to roll. Also, the cookies will spread too much if you don’t chill the dough. You can chill the dough overnight as long as you cover your bowl tightly with saran wrap to prevent the dough from drying out.
  • Be generous with the rolling sugar. A thick coat of sugar gives these cookies a lovely sparkle. Roll each ball of dough in sugar at least twice.
  • Don’t bake too many cookies at once. It is tempting to try and fill your baking sheet with as many balls of cookie dough as possible. However, these cookies spread during baking so I never bake more than 6 at a time. This way they have plenty of room to spread out. I use an 18×13 baking sheet.
  • Use two baking sheets. I recommend using two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. This is not for baking more cookies at once, this is so that each batch of cookies can be given enough time to cool. So while one set of cookies is cooling, you can pop a second baking sheet with more cookies into the oven.
  • Let them cool. The cookies will be soft when they come out of the oven. This is normal and they will firm up as they cool. To that end, give them at least 10 minutes to cool before you attempt to move them to a cooling rack.

Storing Homemade Cookies

  • Counter: Let your cookies come to room temperature, then store them in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days.
  • Fridge: If you want to extend their shelf life, you can store cooled cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
  • Freezer: You can freeze the cookie dough on cookie sheets until they are solid, then transfer them to an airtight, freezer safe container. They will keep for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to bake, simply proceed with the baking instructions in the recipe and add 2 minutes to the bake time. You can also freeze the baked cookies in a freezer safe, airtight container for up to 3 months. I recommend putting squares of parchment paper between each cookie to prevent them from sticking together in the freezer.

Chocolate Earthquake Cookies (Chocolate Sugar Cookies)

Chocolate sugar cookies cooling on a wire rack
Save Recipe

These chocolate sugar cookies have chewy centers, crisp edges, and the perfect amount of sparkly sugar on top. An easy cookie recipe that is a favorite in our house!

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Chill Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 22 minutes
  • Yield: 20-24 cookies
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar, for rolling


Mix dry ingredients. In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Combine butter and sugars. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until they are light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until just combined.

Add the dry ingredients. Beat on low until no dry bits of batter are visible. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.

Chill the dough. Cover your bowl with saran wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Prep your tools. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Shape and roll in sugar. Pour about 1/2 cup of sugar onto a plate. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and roll into balls, using about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie. Roll each ball in sugar, coating it well. Place on the cookie sheet, giving each cookie plenty of space to spread. I recommend baking 6 cookies in 2 rows on an 18×13 baking sheet.

Bake. Place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges of the cookies are set and they have crackly tops. The cookies will still be very soft when they are done, this is normal.

Cool. Let the cookies cool for at least 10 minutes. This will give them time to firm up. After the initial cooling time transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Keywords: chocolate sugar cookies, chewy cookies, easy cookies, homemade cookies

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate the recipe & leave a comment to let me know. 🙂

Please don’t screenshot or copy/paste recipes to social media or other sites. But I’d LOVE it if you shared a link! 💖

More Cookie Recipes

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links to products that I use, which can earn a small commission on qualifying purchases.

Ask a Question or Rate this Recipe

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating