Friday, April 18, 2014

Chocolate Espresso Snaps

Seems like I've just been going from one double chocolate recipe to another, and it might have to do with the weather. Or, it might have to do with my obvious addiction. Same thing...

It's starting to get cool around here.

By cool I mean days of 21 degrees C. Please don't hate me for saying that...

Autumn is in the air in Sydney, Australia and I'm finding that my lounge-around-the-house elastic tube top will no longer suffice. I know North America has not had the most forgiving winter ever, so this might come off almost arrogant. I don't mean it that way. And, if you feel like rolling your eyes and moving onto the next webpage, just remember there's a delicious recipe at the end of this!

It's all good though, because as many of you tumble into Spring, Sydney-siders will be moving to Autumn and eventually Winter. Although 10 degree nights might not sound that chilly, consider a constant cold draft and the fact that indoor heating comes at a premium. Picture me in high socks, sweat pants, several T-shirt layers beneath an over-sized ROOTS hoodie and a hot water bottle in my lap. Suddenly it's not so glamorous.

I still need a hot tea before bed and when paired with an espresso-infused chocolate biscuit it's like a big fat hug from a polar bear. Warm and cozy, but not quite as furry. Chocolate puts me in a comfy place.

These snappy cookies are crisp with a satisfying chew. Depending on how long you bake them you can have crisp all the way through if that's how you dig it. Just make sure not to over bake (ie. burn) as it is difficult to judge "golden" in a chocolate cookie dough! Even though they may still feel soft from the oven, they will firm up as they cool. Trust that. Cocoa is sneaky that way.

They start the same way as most cookie doughs do: cream butter and sugar, beat in egg and vanilla, beat in dry ingredients of flour, cocoa, leavening and salt just until combined.

Extra bittersweet chocolate chopped to bits adds more depth and sophisticated bitterness to these already robust and addictive cookies.

Expect to warm your insides and excite the taste buds - something that we can all use more than just once in a while.

Chocolate Espresso Snaps
    Makes 30 cookies

1 ½ cups (215 g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (42 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee granules)
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup (150 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (135 g) granulated sugar
½ cup (110 g) packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
56 g/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup granulated sugar for rolling

Sift flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to blend and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and both sugars for 2 minutes, until somewhat light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract until combined. Add dry ingredients all at once and mix on the lowest speed until just combined. As the mixer is running, sprinkle in chopped chocolate. Turn dough out onto a piece of wax paper, wrap well and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking trays with parchment paper.

Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and then roll in sugar to coat evenly. Place dough balls on prepared baking trays, spacing them 2 inches apart and then flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until flat and cracked at the surface. For crispy cookies, bake the full 12 minutes. Let cookies cool on pan for a few minutes before transferring individually to a wire rack to cool completely.

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