Friday, March 16, 2012
Coffee Walnut Cookies
Crisp. Buttery. A distinctive shot of the best and brightest coffee. The richness of walnuts. All of these favorite things co-mingle deliciously in this fabulous cookie from Alice Medrich.
This is an adult cookie. In addition to the usual flour, sugar, butter and salt, there’s a bold level of coffee and a splash of brandy in the mix. It’s rich with all of these elements in perfect balance. Packed with flavor and texture, it’s all there in wonderful detail in every bite.
The cookie dough comes together in the bowl of a food processor, which means it can be assembled without much time or forethought if you have all the ingredients. The nuts are finely ground with the flour, so you’re biting into a very smooth and delicate crumbly texture. And, as we all know, it’s all about the crumbs, the ultimate cookie achievement.
Don’t you find it just a little bit difficult when you see a recipe that informs you that the cake or the cookie or whatever tastes better the next day? This is true for pastries that have a complex flavor profile with spices or strong flavors like coffee. When they are allowed to ripen and settle in over a day, the flavor does improve. This is one of those recipes so it bears repeating. Taste a couple of them and, if you can, store the remainder in an airtight container and enjoy them the next day. You may have to hide the cookie box. Good luck.
This is every bit a recipe to stash in your cookie file for those times when you need a gift or something to go with a hot beverage, when only a good cookie will do.
- Alice Medrich bakes these cookies on ungreased baking sheets for better browning. She suggests foil if you want to prepare the sheets. I used parchment.
- Do be sure to garnish each cookie with a coffee bean. They bake into crunchy coffee flavor blasts.
- The cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months.
- If the dough begins to crumble at all when slicing into cookies, let it soften for a few minutes.
- I haven’t tried this with other nuts but I think almonds or hazelnuts would work nicely.
- The baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container for at least a month.
Coffee Walnut Cookies
adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich
Makes about 45 2” cookies
2 C flour
1 C walnuts
3/4 C sugar
1/4 t salt
2 t fresh finely ground medium-roast (not espresso-roast) coffee beans
7 oz (14 T) cold butter
1 T + 1 t brandy
1 1/2 t vanilla
45 whole coffee beans for garnish
Place the flour, walnuts, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the walnuts are finely ground. Add the ground coffee and process to combine thoroughly.
Cut the cold butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Pulse until the mixture looks damp and crumbly. Add the brandy and vanilla and pulse until the dough begins to clump up around the blade. Remove the dough and gather the clumps into a ball. Form the dough into a 12” log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the dough into 1/4” slices and place 1” apart on baking sheets. Press a coffee bean into the center of each cookie.
Bake until light golden brown at the edges, about 12 to 15 minutes. Halfway through the baking process, rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back. Place on a cooling rack, letting the cookies firm up before removing. Cool completely.