Chocolate Espresso Cookies

As I’m sure I’ve covered during my written navel gazing a time or two, I put a lot of thought into what gets included in each year’s holiday baking.  My hope is that there is a little something for everyone.  So, always sugar cookies (kids), something fruity, something nutty and something chocolate (that doesn’t also include nuts).

Last year’s chocolate crinkles while popular, were not the wisest choice from a baking perspective.  With oil rather than butter as the fat source, I found myself having to roll and reroll hundreds of chocolate balls again and again (with butter, the dough stiffens up and holds its shape).  And though world peace cookies are a favorite of mine personally,   I’m afraid their simplicity gets lost in all of the other flashier offerings.

So, this year I was on the hunt for a new chocolatey cookie. After trying a few candidates (I know, it’s tough eating all that chocolate), I finally landed on Sarah Kieffer’s double chocolate espresso cookies.  They are simple enough that kids  like them, but fancy and complex enough thanks to the addition of cacao nibs, to be holiday-worthy.

Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies

Sarah Kieffer

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C (213g) AP flour
  • 1/2 C (50g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 tsps ground espresso
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 14 TBS (198g) unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 3/4 C (150g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 C (150g) golden brown sugar
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
  • 5 ounces (142g) semisweet chocolate chopped into bite-sized pieces (I like using mini chocolate chips)
  • 2 TBS cacao nibs.  I found mine on Amazon: cacao nibs.

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle of the oven, preheat to 350 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso and baking soda.
  3. Set aside 4 TBS (57g) butter in a medium bowl.
  4. Melt remaining 10 TBS butter (142g) in a medium saucepan.  Brown the butter until it is dark, golden brown and gives off a nutty aroma (2-3 minutes).
  5. Pour browned butter (and any bits) into the bowl with the set aside butter.  Stir until all butter is melted and combined.  Stir in the granulated and brown sugars, vanilla and salt.
  6. Whisk-in the egg and egg yolk until fully combined and the batter is smooth and glossy.  Let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk again for another 45 seconds.
  7. Add-in the flour mixture and fold to combine.  Fold-in the chocolate and nibs.
  8. Form the dough into 2 TBS balls (or scoop).  Please 8 balls on each sheet.
  9. Bake cookies, one pan at a time until the centers are puffed, about 8-9 minutes.
  10. Transfer pan to wire rack and allow to cool completely.  Sore in an air-time container.

As a note–I like to refrigerate the dough balls over night to develop the flavor and texture.  If you do as well, just add on a minute extra to bake the cold dough.

 

 

Pan Thumped Snickerdoodles

There are times when I think I’ve done, baked, eaten and shared every cookie there is.

Luckily, each time my ego begins to slip in this direction, I stand corrected by something new and innovative that someone other than me thought up.

Case in point: pan thumping (and now you too will have the 1997  one hit wonder genius, Tub Thumping in your head).

Pan thumping’s (well, actually, banging…I just wanted you to join me in my Chumbawumba misery) mistress, Sarah Kieffer gives the fully skinny on the technique in her new book: 100 cookies: The baking book for every kitchen.  Arthur of the popular blog, The Vanilla Bean Blog, she discovered the ripply-edge effect of picking up and (gently) banging the edge of the pan of cookies starting at the half-baked mark while on a quest to find the ultimate chocolate chip cookie.

It’s a little like cookie dough whack-a-mole.  About halfway through the bake, you go in for the first bang, allow the cookies to puff up and then repeat at two (or so) minute intervals until your cookies are to desired doneness.  The result is a crispy ripply edge and chewy center.

Ms. Kieffer’s original pan banging recipe was for chocolate chip cookies.  I haven’t tried that recipe yet, but did jump right in with the snickerdoodle version.  Because it’s fall.  And cinnamon = fall.

The verdict: delicious and gorgeous.  The pan banging takes a little more attention (and time–you have to bake them one pan at a time), but the results were thin, crispy and chewy.  Basically snickerdoodle nirvana.

I did make one slight adjustment to the recipe, that I’d recommend if you already have the ingredient on hand.  Right before these cookies, I made a couple of my favorite chocolate cakes, Lori’s Chocolate Midnight Cake and used up the last of my vanilla.  Not willing to stop my baking process to run to the store, I subbed in a reduced amount of almond extract.  If you have some, try it out.  The difference is subtle but enough to make them a little unique.

And, just in case it’s still not stuck in your head.  I’ll leave this here:

(Pan Banged) Snickerdoodles

adapted just slightly from Sarah Kieffer

Ingredients

  • 2 C (184g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 C (227 g) unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1 3/4 C (350g) granulated sugar, separated
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1/2 tsp almond extract)
  • 1 TBS ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to center and pre-heat to 350 degrees.  Line three sheet pans with parchment (or aluminum foil, dull-side up).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar and nutmeg.
  3. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter on medium until creamy (about 1 minuye).  Add 1 1/2 C  (300g) of the sugar and beat until very light, 2-3 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla (or almond extract) and mix on low to combine.  Add the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together remaining sugar and cinnamon.
  5. For the dough into balls.  The original recipe calls for 3 oz balls.  I prefer a smaller cookie and used a 1 ounce scoop.  Roll each dough ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  6. Place on pan an equal distance apart (if 3 oz balls, you’ll fit about 4 on half-sheet pan.  Twice that if using 1 oz scooper).
  7. Bake the cookies one pan at a time.  Bake until the dough balls have flattened but are puffed slightly,  8 minutes (closer to 7 in my own oven).  Life one side of the sheet pan up about 4 inches and gently let it drop against the oven rack.  After the cookies puff up again, repeat.  Repeat a few more times, baking 14-15 minutes total, until the edges are golden brown but the centers are still lightish.
  8. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 10 minutes.  After this, move to rack (no pan) to cool completely.