Cutest Panda Cookies Ever!

A writer/home chef I follow posted a picture of the most adorable baking creation recently, and I just knew that Kiddo and I had to make an attempt. We ran into a few snags in the process, but they were still adorable.

We slightly altered the brown sugar cookies recipe that I posted here (and got from here). I added about 1 tsp cocoa powder to 1/2 the dough to use for the bodies and chilled the dough for 2 hours. The kitchen was hot and the dough got REALLY soft, really quickly. Next time I will cut the cookies before heating the oven, and leave each sheet in the refrigerator until it is ready to pop in the oven (you could always use a different, stiffer recipe, but I just loved the flavor of these cookies).

Chocolate and Vanilla Cut-Out Cookies

Prep: 15 min Chill: 1-2 hours Bake: 10 min


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (and more for rolling the dough)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder


  1. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Kiddo was really good at this. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed until completely combined, scraping down the sides partway through as needed. 
  4. Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed until just combined. Once combined, divide the dough in half. Form one half into a ball and place in the refrigerator. Add the cocoa powder the the remaining dough and mix until well blended. Form the chocolate dough into a ball and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  5. After chilling, place the chocolate dough on a large, lightly-floured, hard surface.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough evenly until it is a bit less than 1/4-inch thick. 
  6. Use cookie cutters to cut the panda bodies. Place cookies on parchment lined cookies sheet. The repeat step 5 with the vanilla dough and cut out the faces and bellies. Place the faces on the bodies and return the dough to the refrigerator place the baking sheet in the freezer for 5-10 minutes (to help the cookies retain their shape) while the oven heats to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the “white” parts just barely begin to turn golden.
  8. Enjoy the cookies immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

** I got my cookie cutters on Amazon

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