My Favorite Cookies–for any season!

Valentine Cookie CutoutsAs the time for Valentine grew nearer, I knew that I had to come up with a special cookie.  The dilemma was–Valentine’s Weekend here at Grape Arbor Bed and Breakfast is also Wine and Chocolate Weekend for the wineries, where everyone is drinking and sampling chocolate.  What dilemma is that, you say?

Well, once you have been drinking wine and eating chocolate all day, believe it or not, the last thing you want to do is eat more chocolate (well, most people seem to feel that way).

So I needed something that would stand out among all the chocolate…and I remembered this yummy espresso cookies that I made a Christmas time in the shape of stars.  So, change the shape!  Hearts and lips!  Voila!

Thank you to America’s Test Kitchen for the inspiration for this very flavorful cookie.Unbaked Cookie Cutouts   A few hints:

#1:  The dough is VERY crumbly, both right after you mix it and after you chill it (do chill it).  Take the dough in your hand and knead a bit until it comes together.   I take the dough by the handful, roll it as thin as I can, make the cutouts, then add a bit more of the crumbly dough to the already rolled dough and roll again.

King Arthur Sparkling Sugar and Ghiardelli Chocolate Wafers#2:     Use smaller cookie cutters, and avoid cutters that have small details.  I purposely avoided cutters that I have with arrows through hearts, as I didn’t think the arrows would make it.  I also have a really cute key cutter (key to your heart), but knew that it would make it off the pastry sheet that I use.  The cutters that I chose were about 2 – 3″ in size.

#3:  I had a lot of trouble with the drizzling chocolate.  The recipe called for melting white chocolate chips.  I tried doing it in the microwave and in a double boiler, and both times they seized and got all granular.  No matter how careful I was, I couldn’t get it right.  So I went to the White Melting Wafers above–problem solved!  I microwave at low in increments of 30seconds, then 15 seconds, til they melt.  Then the problem is..how to get it on the cookie in nice little drizzles…without big blobs.  I solved that by using a chopstick!  Chocolate drizzled cookies on rack

#4:  Easy cleanup hint–put the baked cookies on a rack, with wax paper underneath.  Then drizzle the chocolate over the cookies…then add

#5:  Sparkling sugar (available at King Arthur Flour) nice large crunchy crystals that add the sparkle to the cookie!

Enough of the hints!  Now the recipe:

Finished cookie on decorative plate

Sparkling Espresso Cutouts

Makes about 36 Cookies

  • 2C all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2C packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4C granulated sugar
  • 1T instant espresso powder
  • 1/2C white chocolate wafers
  • 1/4C sparkling sugar
  1. Whisk flour and salt together in bowl.  User stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and espresso powder on medium high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Reduce speed to low, and slowly add flour mixture, and beat until just combined.  Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Adjust oven racks to middle, and heat oven to 300 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.  Take a handful of dough and roll 1/4 inch thick on floured counter.  Cut dough into desired shapes, gathering and re-rolling as instructed above.  Space cookies one inch apart on sheets.  Bake until set, 18 -22 minutes.  Let cookies cool slightly, then transfer to wire rack.  Repeat until all dough is used.
  3. Microwave white chocolate wafers as instructed on package, stirring until it is completely liquid.  Drizzle cookies with white chocolate, using chopstick or fork, sprinkle with sparkling sugar before it hardens.  Let chocolate set until hardened, about 15 minutes.

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