March 7, 2011 § 1 Comment
E: Do you love espresso? Do you love cookies? Would you love to have espresso in cookie form? If you are reading this post, the answers to those three questions should clearly be yes. I decided to try making these cookies after realizing that every recipe I had seen for coffee-flavoured desserts used powdered instant coffee (mostly Starbucks Via these days, as I guess it is that much more “real” than other instant coffees). I decided it was time to change that. Real coffee in general is just such a wonderful thing. When it is made with good, fresh beans in an espresso machine, it is far better–if you aren’t a fan of the strength of espresso, though I personally find a well-made espresso so smooth that the strength isn’t a problem, try a watered-down “caffè americano” style espresso some time. I think you’ll find it better than drip or French-press coffee. Anyway, I digress.
I decided to make a batch of cookies that included one 3 oz. shot of actual espresso. The first ones were delicious, but a bit brick-like. So I just had to make a batch the next week and try it again. Well, I did that a few times, and I think I’ve come pretty close to where these cookies need to be. They really do taste like espresso in solid form, if you manage to get that far . . . the dough is so incredibly tasty, I almost wanted to put it in the fridge and eat it all raw. I’m still trying to figure out how to make the baked cookies as delicious as the dough. So far I haven’t been totally successful. But each time I made these, I fed them to two other coffee-lovers (plus Joanna), and everyone gave them rave reviews.
So here we go. In which we make espresso with an espresso machine, and then turn it into cookies (makes about 16-18):
1 stick butter (slightly softened is ok, or do it in a mixer)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 shot espresso (3 fl. oz)
2.25 cups flour (consider reducing it for more coffee flavour, start with 1.75 cups and add more only if the dough is too soft)
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder (if you reduced the flour, bring this down a tad too)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
1 heaping cup of semi-sweet & white chocolate chips
So the first thing to do is, of course, to brew your espresso. You could certainly replicate these cookies by making a 3oz cup of Via, but if you do that then why didn’t you use a recipe that just used the powder in the first place? If you want to do these properly but don’t have an espresso machine, you could always go to your local coffee shop and bring an espresso home. But people’s cups (and especially coffee-shop single and double-espresso) vary greatly in size. I happen to know, because I measured them, that these cups are 3 fl oz:
Now, set that to the side to cool. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl or using a stand mixer.
When those are creamed together, add the vanilla, and the egg, and beat them into the dough, just until incorporated.
So when that is done, you are ready to get your espresso and put it in. It should have cooled off a bit by this point. It can be warm, but if it is still very hot I’d suggest waiting longer or putting it in the freezer for 10 minutes or so. When the coffee is ready, pour it on in, and sort of stir things together. There’s too much liquid for you to get it smooth, but stir it around a bit. Be careful because it likes to slop around and out of the bowl. I made a mess the first time I did it.
Now, mix together the dry ingredients in another bowl. Don’t forget the cocoa powder. That chocolate flavour just makes these excellent. I’m using Valhrona cocoa powder. Use your favorite kind, but I suggest a real Dutch-processed cocoa, with a rich, deep red-brown color.
Then add the dry ingredients to the cookie mixture (I do about half at-a-time), and stir until the consistency is smooth and any lumps of flour are gone. You’ll have a wonderfully creamy looking cookie dough.
You could bake this as-is. You really could. But I wanted to make it just that much more amazing . . . and I happened to have both semi-sweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chunks. So I put in about 3/4 cup of the chips and a handful or two of the chunks.
Stir those in, and your dough is ready. Try some. It is crazy. Then, before it is all gone, grease some baking sheets and place the remaining dough in medium-sized balls several inches apart. I didn’t measure them, but if I had to guess I’d say I used about 1.5 to 2 tbsp per cookie.
Bake at 350 F for about 10-12 minutes. If you don’t have a convection oven, I’d suggest rotating the cookies half way through. They should look done but still be soft to the touch. You don’t want them to be rock-hard. You could do as little as 8 minutes, so they are just barely done, if you want them chewy. I think they are better a little crisped around the edges.
Remove from the sheets to a rack to cool. Then consume!