No family Christmas celebration would be complete without homemade cookies. These tender coffee-chocolate cookies make a unique addition to cookie trays.
A thick half-coating of quality milk chocolate adds a complimentary rich flavor and contrasting smooth texture to a tender cookie base. Real chocolate lovers may want to double the coating and enrobe the whole cookie. Encasing whole cookies in warm melted chocolate can get messy so the half-coating or a 3/4 -coating is easier to do. A round cut out shape is the easiest to dip in chocolate.
For a roll-out cookie, these are relatively easy to make. The recipe originally came from Fine Cooking, but this version has several major revisions including:
- Simplifying the baking process with one step and a shorter baking time
- Reducing the amount of sugar and salt
- Using milk chocolate coating instead of dark
- Adding vanilla sugar, vanilla extract and liquor
A splash of Frangelico, Kahlua or spiced rum strengthens the flavor and most if not all alcohol traces vanish during baking. Usually, the dough is too crumbly to form a ball at first; adding a tablespoon or two of liquor does the trick. Weather, the brand of flour and butter along with a myriad of other baking variables can make the dough more moist or dry. The dough is ready to roll out when it can be formed into a ball with some crumb.
Chocolate Capped Cappuccino Cookies
1 cup cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar (preferably, vanilla sugar — granulated sugar seasoned with a vanilla bean pod)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons espresso coffee beans, finely ground
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons of Frangelico, spiced rum or Kahlua liquor
12 ounces good quality milk chocolate, broken into quarter-sized pieces (such as Trader Joe’s Belgian Pound Plus Milk Chocolate Bars)
1 tablespoon of vegetable shortening (plain Crisco)
Place one oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325° F. Lightly grease three cookie sheets with margarine and set aside.
Place butter, sugar and salt in a stand mixer bowl (use the paddle attachment) or a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until the butter combines with most of the sugar for 1 or 2 minutes. Add the flour and ground espresso and mix on low speed for a minute. Next, add the vanilla extract and liquor, scraping the bowl frequently for 2 minutes, until the dough begins to form a large ball. If the dough will not hold together, fold in another tablespoon of liquor. Do not over mix the dough.
Roll the dough to ¼-inch thick uniform thickness on a lightly floured surface. Use a round 3-inch cookie cutter to cut out circle shapes. Place shapes on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies just until they start browning, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before carefully removing the cookies from the baking sheet. Place cookies on parchment lined trays to cool.
While the first sheet of cookies is baking, prepare the next sheet of cookies. Press scraps together, roll out and cut out more cookies. If the dough gets sticky, refrigerate for a few minutes. Follow baking directions above and repeat until the dough is gone.
Dip the baked, cooled cookies:
Wait until cookies are completely cooled, an hour or two, or cover overnight. Set a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on a clean cookie sheet and set aside. Put the chocolate and shortening in a small heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth. Move the parchment lined cookie sheet near the melted chocolate. Dip half of each cookie into the melted chocolate. Work quickly to avoid the chocolate setting too fast. If needed, reheat the chocolate a little and add a little bit more of shortening. Set the cookies on the parchment lined cookie sheet and let the chocolate set up at room temperature, about 2 hours.
Enjoy these cookies with coffee or tea. Happy holiday cookie baking!