Here’s my morning ritual: coffee, with cream and sugar. Here’s what you have to add to turn it into a cookie: butter, flour, crunch, and chew.
To look at them, you’d think chocolate – I should know, I’ve been looking at them all day. But the flavor that really screams is pure espresso.
Even before they’re baked, the dough for these little holiday numbers has the gorgeous, rich brown color of an extremely comfortable couch. Or a cup of coffee spiked with the perfect amount (that is to say, not too much, but certainly some) cream and sugar. But on the inside, no chocolate at all – just a half cup of espresso beans, whizzed and shaken in the grinder until the poor thing starts to complain.
A half cup. That’s enough for a full French press, in this house.
Actually, to be fair, these cookies taste more like chocolate-covered espresso beans, once they’re doused in a healthy dose of bittersweet. And by “healthy dose,” I mean enough chocolate that the combo should make you feel slightly high, but I like them best completely blanketed, as opposed to just decorated. I’d like to think a certain rotund, pink-cheeked fellow would appreciated the sugar shot halfway though his night.
And milk. Don’t forget to leave out the milk.
Enjoy the holidays. We’re heading back east. See you in 2010!
A cross between traditional refrigerator cookies and coffee-flavored shortbread, these cookies are made with a whopping half cup of espresso beans. For chocolate-covered espresso beans in cookie form, decorate them with melted dark chocolate—the more, the better, in my opinion.
TIME: 25 minutes active time, plus rolling and decorating, if desired
MAKES: Three to four dozen cookies, depending on cutters
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup espresso beans, ground very fine
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Melted dark chocolate (for decorating, if desired)
In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light, about 3 minutes. Whisk the ground espresso, flour, and salt together in a small bowl.
With the machine on low, add half the flour to the mixer, and mix until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the mixer with a plastic spatula when needed. (The dough will be a little crumbly.) Add the cream, mix until combined, then add the remaining flour and mix again until the dough is uniformly blended.
Divide the dough between two big pieces of wax paper. Pat the dough into flat discs, wrap in the paper, and chill for 2 hours (or up to 3 days), until firm.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking sheets, and set aside. Allow the dough to soften at room temperature for about 20 minutes, until pliable. (You can speed up this process by kneading small pieces of the dough in your hands, if you’d like.)
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4” thick. Cut into shapes, and arrange on baking sheets. (The cookies will not spread.) Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, or until the cookies are puffed in the center.
Cool the cookies 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough, then decorate cooled cookies with melted dark chocolate. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Note: If cookie cutting isn’t your thing, you can roll each mound into a log almost a foot long and about 1 1/2” in diameter. Wrap each log in wax paper, twist the ends to seal, and chill. Cut into 1/4” rounds before baking.