Sunday, January 3, 2010

espresso cookies - always follow your first insticts

espresso cookie - 26I'm in Washington state right now so I think it's only fiting that I make something coffee-flavored. My parents as well as myself are both coffee-drinkers and coffee-lovers. Every morning I refuse to start my day on a good foot unless I have my Twilight-themed coffee mug with my particular preference of coffee (being the New England brand usually). That being said, I found an interesting cookie recipe which included espresso granules (which I am now a proud owner of because of making Tiramisu the other day).

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The ingredients are the same as a brown sugar cookie for the most part, with the exception for the espresso powder of course.

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To mix the espresso powder into the batter you need to mix it with warm water first, to allow it to dissolve. I guess this prevents the powder from remaining as little granules, and allows the batter to thoroughly get the hint of espresso.

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The rest of the mixing process is the same as other cookies I make... Mix wet, add dry slowly, wrap into saran wrap, and place in fridge.

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Now on to the hard part. For some reason I always have trouble following the directions when it comes to placing the dough correctly on the cookie sheet. I was supposed to roll a ball of dough into the sugar-and-espresso mixture (seen above) like a typical sugar cookie... But, once again, I decided to only dredge half of the cookie in sugar because I didn't want what happened to my first sugar-dipping mishap to happen here.

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So first I rolled them into balls so I knew they would all be of similar size. Then I sqashed them a little with my palms (taking this idea from the Cook's Illustrated Sugar Cookie, which keep in mind, came out perfect when I did this) and dredged half of it in the sugar mixture.

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Okay, so now I'm a little angry. I went against my typical preference of leaving cookies rounded (opposed to slightly flattened) because I thought these would come out the same as the Sugar Cookies. Apparently, what I've always been avoiding has happened here- my cookies came out too flat.

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I mean, don't get me wrong, they still tasted fine... but it just wasn't what I was hoping for. I will continue to advocate making large round cookie dough balls, as well as underbaking them to maintain the chewy consistency that I love (and if you know me, this is probably my number 1 rule in baking cookies). By flattening cookie dough (with the exception of the magical Sugar Cookie recipe apparently) the resulst will yield much thinner and much crispier cookies (yuck).

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What frustrates me the most is that the cookies still were chewy in the center. This is frustrating because imagine how good they'd be if they were made them the way I wanted to... Like the cookie would have the perfect texture and the perfect consistency.

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So although these did taste good, I didn't like the fact that they could have been better. This recipe will probably be placed on my "I'll-bake-them-again-one-day-but-probably-not-because-I-don't-bake-things-twice" list.

Taken from Better Homes and Gardens magazine, Ultimate Cookies, December 2009
"Sugar-and-Spice Coffee Slices"

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening (I just used butter)
1 cup granulated sugar
2+1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (omitted, I wanted it to be strictly coffee flavored)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon hot water
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour

1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
2. In small bowl stir together the espresso powder and hot water until dissolved. Add to butter mixture along with egg; beat until combined.
3. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.
4. Divide dough into thirds. Shape each portion into a 7-inch long log. Wrap each log with plastic wrap. Chill about 2 hours or until firm. (I just rolled it into a ball and set in fridge)
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
6. Using a sharp knife, cut logs into 3/8th-inch slices. Place slices 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet (I rolled them into little balls and flattened them until they were about 3/8th-inch thick, although I probably won't flatten it next time). Sprinkle with Coffee Topping. If desired, gently press a few coffee beans onto each slice.
7. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until edges are light brown. Let stand for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

coffee topping:
In a small bowl stir together 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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