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.

Bench notes:
- 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.


vanillasugarblog said...

coffee/espresso cookies are one of my all time favorites.
am going to print this one

Cilia said...

Maybe I'm asking for the obvious, but do you mean REAL coffee beans? Or chocolat, coffee flavoured beans? This sounds great, by the way, and stunningly easy!

pastry studio said...

Hi, Cilia. Yes, just plain old real coffee beans! They are definitely easy to make. Hope you have a chance to enjoy them. Cheers!

ththelittleloaf said...

I know exactly what you mean about that wait - those cookies where you have to freeze the dough 24 hours are a killer too! These look well worth the wait though - sophisticated, strong flavours and so yummy!

Redd H from Salted Spoon said...

I love when recipes come up that I immediately love the sound of, and then the only ingredients I need to pick up is the booze!

I can't wait to make these!!

pastry studio said...

Redd H, yes, I know that wonderful feeling of reading an ingredient list and thinking, wow, that sounds fantastic!! In these cookies, you don't really taste the brandy so you could probably get away with making these without it but they are delicious as written.

Barbara said...

You don't very often read that a cookie tastes better the second day. And with these, it might be impossible to have any left for the next day. Hard to hide things at my house! :)

ValHalla said...

I acquired some espresso powder that I have been searching for recipes for--so sorry for asking about another substitution when you have obviously carefully tested and graciously shared this one! But I have to ask, does espresso powder impart too strong a flavor, and is that why you recommended coffee instead? thanks so much!

pastry studio said...

ValHalla, no problem! In fact, Alice Medrich has an earlier version of this cookie in one of her other cookbooks and it uses 2 1/2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder instead of the ground coffee beans. It gets combined with the brandy and vanilla extract and added at the end of the mixing.


Tamarat said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for the the recipe. I love to bake cookies but I usually don’t like the taste because let’s face it, even though I love to bake I am no expert and some of my cookies come out a little crumbly. But this cookie came out moist and delicious. And for those who are focused on weight control don’t have to worry because their is just the right amount of sugar in this recipe.

Portland Coffee Companies said...

Great blog, informative and up to date. Bookmarking your page. Thanks and more power!

Best Cheescake Recipes said...

I'm an absolute LOVER of coffee and desserts! This coffee cookie recipe has me itching to go to the market right now and make these for a breakfast treat. Thanks for the great recipe. Have you ever had requests from people to order from you or do you only provide the recipe?

pastry studio said...

Thank you, Portland Coffee.

Best Cheesecake, I used to do pastry catering years ago but am now focused on recipe development and this blog.

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