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Chocolate Cupcake-Top Cookies with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

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Chocolate Cupcake-Top Cookies with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting are reminiscent of the top of a chocolate cupcake topped with a ganache-like frosting.

Chocolate Cupcake Tops coming out of a bag

Like parents with more than one child, my affection for frosted cookies multiplies with each new recipe added to my collection.


This whole obsession with frosted cookies started with the ugly, irregularly shaped, frosted cinnamon cookies my Grandma baked for us and stored in her metal-lined bread drawer.

I loved her cookies almost as much as I loved her. She loved me, too, though she didn’t speak it, even when I was ugly and rather irregular myself.

Now that I have a food blog and a grandson of my own, I’m on a quest to build the world’s largest frosted cookie recipe collection. It’s on my bucket list–if I had one–to try all varieties of frosted cookies before I die.

It may not be the noblest calling, but it’s easier and more fun (and way more likely) than climbing Mount Everest or feeding all the hungry children of the world.

Perhaps I’m just hoping my grandson will someday have fond memories of his grandma like I do. That’s a worthy goal, isn’t it?

icing cookies with a spatula

One early morning on my way to work recently, I dropped off some reject cookies at my friend’s house. Joan later reported they tasted like the top of a frosted cupcake. Yes! She’s absolutely right.

These cookies are just like little chocolate cakes with a rich chocolate frosting. Throwing a little instant espresso and Dutch-process cocoa into the dough makes these babies dark and flavorful.


There is a magic ingredient in the frosting. I hesitate to say it but here goes. Sour cream. (Lite sour cream works just fine.) I promise you won’t taste anything that reminds you of sour cream. If you aren’t into frosting as much as I am, just swipe a little across the top. It’s not necessary to get fancy.

Speaking of fancy, thanks to Annie of Annie’s Eats for putting me on to the mechanical pastry bag available from Williams-Sonoma.  The large tip is what I used to decorate the cookies in the first picture.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • FLOUR: The recipe calls for unbleached but you could substitute bleached flour.
  • COCOA: I like Hershey’s brand Special Dark-a blend of natural and Dutch cocoa.
  • BUTTER: Be sure to let the butter soften to room temperature.
  • SUGAR: Use granulated sugar. No substitutes.
  • BUTTERMILK OR UNFLAVORED YOGURT: If using yogurt, thin with milk to the consistency of buttermilk.
  • INSTANT ESPRESSO: This is a powdered product you will find in the tea and coffee aisle. Add it to any recipes with a lot of chocolate to intensify the chocolate flavor. You won’t detect the coffee flavor.
  • BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS: I use Ghiradelli bittersweet chips but semi-sweet chips would also work if you like your chocolate sweeter.
  • SOUR CREAM: You can substitute lite sour cream for full-fat.


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Hope to see you again soon!

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: paula at

Yield: 3 dozen small cookies

Chocolate Cupcake Tops (aka Frosted Chocolate Cookies)


These will remind you of the top of a chocolate cupcake. A soft, tender cookie with ganache-like, fudgy frosting.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or unflavored yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup sour cream + another tablespoon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Whisk or sift together flour, cocoa, soda, and salt.
  2. Use a stand mixer to beat butter until smooth. Add in sugar and mix for two minutes. Add cooled chocolate and mix. Add egg and mix for another minute.
  3. Combine buttermilk or yogurt, espresso, and vanilla. Add alternately with dry ingredients and blend just until mixed.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Although they look fairly big in the pictures here, I like to make mine small so I can have seconds. 🙂 Bake 8-10 minutes until no imprint remains when cookie is lightly touched. Frost cookies when cooled.

Chocolate Icing

  1. Melt chocolate in microwave on MEDIUM for 2 minutes. Stir and let stand for 3-4 minutes till it all melts. Stir in sour cream. Add powdered sugar and beat with a spoon until smooth and shiny.
  2. Frosting will be thick and gloppy at first but as you beat, it will become smooth and shiny. Add another tablespoon or more of sour cream to thin to spreadable consistency. Spread on cooled cookies immediately. Let cookies sit until frosting dries slightly.


Freeze baked cookies unfrosted. Frosting will hold in the refrigerator for a few days. Microwave for 15 seconds and stir until glossy again.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 144Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 98mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g

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