How to make coffee cookies from scratch
The following is cross-posted from our coffee blog because it’s a perfect fit here, too.
At the end of November/beginning of December, I spent a couple weeks seeing coffee and coffee people in Chiapas, the southern-most state of Mexico. With the exception of a dinner in an American chain hotel the night of my arrival, it’s safe to say I didn’t have a bad meal on the entire trip, and some of the things I ate were just magnificent. Among other things, the country is replete with fabulous baked goods.
I have a bit of an irrational love for certain cookies, but it’s a really narrow range. Your garden-variety chocolate chip (or even so-called “gourmet” chocolate chips) just doesn’t do it for me. For me, cookies need to be small, thin and crisp, for starters. They also need to be simple, but flavorful. A really well-done sugar cookie, or a ginger snap, is the kind of cookie I like. At Carajillo Cafe in San Cristobal de las Casas, I had what may be the prefect cookie for me: a coffee cookie. It was a good size (bordering on too large, but not really over the limit), with a crisp texture and a foundation of butterscotch. The coffee was subtle, enhanced by a decorative bean on the cookie. As cookies go, on a 100-point scale, this one was about a 90 for me. I was determined to replicate it when I got home.
Without a recipe to guide me, I had to go through some trial and error to come up with a coffee cookie that beat the one in Mexico, but after the third attempt I finally nailed it. Here’s the recipe:
Coffee Cookies – makes 60 small cookies
0.5lb (2 sticks) butter, room temp
1-1/4c brown sugar
1 whole egg + 1 yolk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 TBSP very finely ground coffee
60 coffee beans
Cream together butter, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix flour, salt and baking powder. Combine butter and flour mixtures till they are a dough. Roll in 10 gram balls (a little bigger than a teaspoon), place 24 per sheet. Press each cookie flat with palm. Sift ground coffee onto cookie, place one bean in center. Bake at 350F for 17-20 minutes.
The variation between my attempts was really due more to technique than ingredients or proportions. In the final analysis, three things really mattered:
- Giving the dough balls a little flatten with your palm changes how the cookie finishes;
- Use a sifter of some sort to sprinkle the coffee evenly on the dough after flattening (I used a small screen colander-style strainer), so not try to do it by pinching with your fingers like a pinch of salt;
- Baking duration – it took longer than I thought it would to achieve the degree of crispness desired. Your oven may vary, but 15 minutes was definitely not enough @350F in mine. I did one batch at 17 min and another at 20 min and didn’t note much difference between them, but there was a huge difference between 15 and 17 minutes.
Here’s the finished product:
We hope these cookies make your list of holiday favorites!
To be consistent with other posts on this blog, here’s the rough cost info:
Butter, $3; Flour, $0.40; Eggs, $0.60; Brown Sugar, $0.80; Coffee, $0.25; Other, $0.25. Total $5.30. Made 60 cookies, so $0.09 per cookie. I consider a serving to be 2 cookies, so $0.18 per serving.