Dark Chocolate Espresso Cookies
The word "love" isn't strong enough to describe my feelings for coffee. It's a need, a connection. A relationship. I'm not whole without coffee in my life. It's not about the caffeine, it's about the ritual. In order to truly understand, I have to go back to the beginning.
They say smell is the closest link to memory. It's true. It doesn't matter where I am; it doesn't matter how many years have gone by (ugh, 37). If I smell coffee I'm a little girl again, snuggled in my childhood bed, with the sunlight from the window gently nudging me to wake for school. Flannel pajamas, my stuffed bunny (her name was Flopsy, she was my best friend) tucked under my arm, my sister sleeping in the bed next to me, my brother's bedhead, and the scent of freshly brewed coffee creeping through the halls of our little house. Sometimes the scent was accompanied by my mom's cheerful singing, "Good morning! Good morning! Good morning my friends...!" I honestly can still hear it, our morning wake up call. Our family.
I just described a Folger's commercial. It almost sounds too perfect, but that's how it was. Warm. Cozy. Simple. Happy. Home.
That's when my love affair with coffee began, when I was little girl. My mom always had a big steaming mug of coffee in her hand. It was like an accessory. She even carried a subtle aroma of toasted beans, mostly in the morning, when she'd greet us. I wanted to mirror my mom's every move, and was always pestering her to try a sip. One day, she gave in. I was about 10 years old when she made me my own very cup. She called it "coffee milk." It was far more milk than coffee, and mixed with a very generous serving of sugar. I'm sure she thought I'd cringe at the bitter taste and never ask for more...but she was wrong. I was hooked instantly. Maybe it was the toasty, nutty flavor that tickled all my senses, or maybe it was my first moment of feeling grown up. I've never gone a day without it since.
These cookies combine two of my favorite things together: coffee and chocolate. The coffee enhances the intense chocolate flavor in these soft and chewy morsels. They're not only intoxicatingly decadent, they're stunning to look at. A roll in powdered sugar just before baking causes a crinkle effect, creating a striking contrast. I use dark cocoa powder to give them some drama, but traditional cocoa powder will work as well. They're best enjoyed over a freshly brewed cup of joe.
Dark Chocolate Espresso Cookies
* Makes 3 dozen cookies
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 4 tsp espresso powder (not instant coffee)
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 heaping tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups Hershey's Special Dark Unsweetened Cocoa, or other unsweetened dark cocoa
- 6 eggs, at room temperature (see note)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar for rolling and dusting (about 1-2 cups)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Prepare a shallow bowl with powdered sugar. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix the flour, sugars, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt till combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, combine the cocoa powder and melted butter. Mix on medium speed till combined. The mixture will resemble a very thick, dark paste. Add the room temperature eggs and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes till fully combined. The mixture should be fluffy in texture, almost like frosting.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed till everything is combined. The batter will be sticky and somewhat grainy.
- Measure 1 heaping tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Roll again in powdered sugar, coating entirely. Place the coated balls on baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-13 minutes. The cookies will form cracks and look slightly underdone in the center.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.
Baker's Notes: Room temperature eggs are extremely important. Chilled eggs will not blend into the butter and cocoa mixture. To get eggs to room temperature allow them to sit in warm water for 5 minutes. It's also crucial to use high quality espresso powder. You want an intense coffee flavor.