What’s better than a gooey, warm, crunchy on the outside, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate experience on a cold winter night? Probably a lot of things. But these freeze and bake chocolate lava cookies are pretty freakin’ rad. Especially because they are designed to be made ahead of time and then pulled out of the freezer roughly 30 or so minutes before you’re ready for amazing cookie goodness.
“Designed” by me, that is. This recipe actually comes from America’s Test Kitchen, and I’ve only made some minor tweaks. But they want these to exist as regular chocolate cookies. And let me tell you, or, warn you I should say… these cookies? They’re not good cold. I don’t actually want to eat them as a regular, room temperature, I baked thee an hour or two ago cookie.
These are only good warm. Let me repeat: these chocolate lava cookies are amazing fresh out of the oven. They are bland and complete a waste of calories if you let them get cold. There. I said it. (Can you tell I’m mad about it?)
But the cool thing is, you get to pull them straight from the freezer and pop them in the oven. You can have magical, homemade, gooey, warm cookies whenever you want them! And do that again and again if you’re only baking four or six at a time.
So! Whip up a double batch, throw them in the freezer, and then when you find yourself wanting an after-dinner or mid-afternoon or even cookie-for-breakfast if you’re into that – set the oven to preheat, pull out a couple of pre-formed dough balls, bake for 22 minutes, cool for maybe 2 mins, and then let your heart fill with joy over the warm goodness that ensues.
A couple notes on ingredients. You can substitute regular corn syrup for dark, light brown sugar for dark, and regular granulated sugar for turbinado sugar. Like, it’s possible to do that without ruining anything. BUT. You will miss out on the true glory of these cookies. Especially subbing out regular sugar for rolling the dough. Using turbinado sugar gives them a crunchy, caramelly outside that is MUCH better than regular sugar. Trust me, I tested it. Everyone agreed.
Since these are really a make-ahead cookie anyway, just go get the right ingredients, y’all.
Ingredients are listed in the order they appear in the recipe and anything that requires prep is in bold. Ingredients are bolded in the directions when you first encounter them and the quantity required is included. Time estimates are bolded and italicized. I also include notes about any special equipment you’ll need.
Freeze & Bake Chocolate Lava Cookies
- 1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- ⅓ cup (75g) packed dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup (70g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup dark corn syrup (*you can use light corn syrup if that’s all you have on-hand)
- 1 large egg white
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups (210 g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (70g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon table salt)
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- ¾ cup (or so) turbinado sugar for rolling (you *can* use granulated sugar here, but it’s not as good)
Prep work: set out butter to soften. Chop up the dark chocolate. Clean out space in your freezer for a baking sheet with dough balls on it. Line a baking sheet (whatever size will fit in your freezer) with parchment paper.
In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat 1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, ⅓ cup (75g) dark brown sugar, and ⅓ cup (70g) granulated sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
While the butter and sugar are whipping, whisk 1 ½ cups (210 g) flour, ¾ cup (70g) cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, and ¾ teaspoon kosher salt together in a medium bowl.
Then, in a small liquid measuring cup, whisk together ½ cup dark corn syrup, 1 egg white, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add corn syrup mixture to the mixer, and beat on medium-low until fully incorporated (about 30 seconds), scraping down the sides and bottom with silicone spatula.
With mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture and mix until almost fully incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl once. Then, add in the 6 ounces dark chocolate and mix for 10-15 seconds to combine.
Pour ¾ cup turbinado sugar into a small bowl or shallow dish. Using a medium cookie scoop (1 ½ tablespoon) or just a heaping tablespoon, portion out balls of dough. Roll each ball in the turbinado sugar and set onto the prepared cookie sheet.
When all dough has been used up, pop the cookie sheet into your freezer for at least an hour. The dough balls can then be transferred to a ziplock bag and will retain their shape/be ready for baking whenever you want a lovely, warm cookie. (Pro-tip: in addition to labeling the bag with what kind of cookie dough it contains, I like to write the oven temperature and baking time on the bag so I don’t have to look that up again every time).
When you’re ready for cookie goodness, preheat the oven to 325°.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and pull out however many balls of dough you want to bake. Note that the cookies will spread quite a bit, so give them room on the sheet (no more than a dozen per large cookie sheet).
Bake for roughly 22 minutes – until cookies are puffed and cracked and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone). Pull them out of the oven, give them approximately 2 minutes to cool, then EAT THEM!! They are so good.
(I feel very strongly that these cookies are best served warm and aren’t good in big batches, so I’m only grudgingly going to tell you how to make them without freezing. If the dough is at room temperature, bake at 375° for 8-9 minutes. Don’t overbake! And please, please only bake as many as you’re going to eat. Freeze the rest of the dough. That’s the whole point here.)