I made these easy-but-delicious cookies for a holiday cookie exchange I had at my house in mid-December. They are rich and festive, but would be excellent any time of year...you definitely don't need to wait until next Christmas to make them! The mocha flavor makes them a bit grown-up, and I under-baked them so they'd be extra fudgy and chewy. I love the crackled pattern on top, which comes from pulling the cookies out of the oven when they're puffy and letting them fall as they cool. I achieved better crackles on some cookie sheets, I think because it takes a bit of practice to pull these out of the oven at just the right moment. Luckily, all the batches were equally delicious!
Chocolate-Espresso Cookies (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Makes 2 dozen
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate melted
3-ounce bar of Scharffen-Berger Mocha chocolate (or another mocha or dark chocolate bar), coarsely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350, with racks in upper and lower thirds. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; mix in vanilla. Combine espresso powder and melted chocolate; beat into butter mixture. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix just until combined. Fold in chopped chocolate.
3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, 3 inches apart, onto two baking sheets. Bake until edges are dry and tops are just set, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through (cookies will still seem soft when you pull them out). Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will be puffy when you pull them out but will fall to create a dense center and a nice crackled pattern on top. (To store, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.)