Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Cookie Time: Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps

Paul loves these crackley cookies, so I make sure to make them every year. They have a dark cake-y center and sweet crunchy outside that makes for a delicious combination. These have the added depth of espresso powder, but we have made them without coffee, and they are just as delicious. The dough freezes well, which helps those of us who bake in quantity and have to plan ahead.

Cookie Baker's Tip: These would be delicious with other flavorings that complement chocolate. I'm thinking orange? raspberry? rum?

Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons instant espresso
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon milk
Confectioners' sugar, for coating

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well combined; mix in cooled chocolate. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat in milk until just combined.

Flatten dough into a disk; wrap in plastic. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Pour confectioners' sugar (about 1/2 cup) into a medium bowl; working in batches, roll balls in sugar two times, letting them sit in sugar between coatings.

Place on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies have spread and coating is cracked, 12 to 14 minutes; cookies will still be soft to the touch. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

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