Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Mocha Cookies with Nibs

A while back I made the Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread cookies found in Dorie Greenspan's wonderful baking book called Baking: from my home to yours. They were delicious but I wanted to make them with some Scharferberger chocolate (called Nibby on the package) that has little cocoa nibs in it to see if that added some extra texture and flavor.

Finally got around to baking the recipe that way and it was good, although not as nibby as I had expected. I added some cocoa to the dough and that part was great...made it more mocha than espresso.

The great thing about this recipe is that you put the dough into a gallon zip close bag and flatten it out, then chill it. Once you cut the bag away from the chilled dough, it is a snap to cut the dough into squares (well if you can actually cut squares it is a snap...mine varied from squares to strangely shaped rectangles) and bake 'em up for a great cookie to enjoy with tea or coffee or ice cream...or by themselves. I shipped some off to friends and my daughter to share the treats. Sweetie is trying to "be good" so we didn't want too much temptation around, plus I enjoy sharing goodies.

Make sure you allow time to chill the dough when you make these. Beyond that they are easy and very tasty, although not very sweet (which is sometimes just right). These are also great if you want to make the dough a day or two in advance of the day you bake them. I bet the dough would freeze unbaked, too, but haven't tried that.

Nibby Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread (Mocha) Cookies
a variation on a recipe in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: from my home to yours

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup high quality unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate with nibs, finely chopped, or ¾ cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to tepid.

Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa together in a small bowl.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar-cocoa mixture together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla and espresso, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough.

Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the chopped nibby chocolate with a sturdy rubber or silicone spatula.

Using the spatula, transfer the dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. The dough will be soft and sticky. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a roughly 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that is about ¼ inch thick. Turn the bag occasionally as you roll and lift the plastic from the dough. When the dough has been rolled to the correct size (about the size of the bag! ) and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out extra air. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or with silicone mats.

Put the plastic bag with the chilled dough inside on a cutting board. Slit the bag open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board & discard the bag. Using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 ½ inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. When baked, transfer the cookies to a rack.

Cool to room temperature before serving. Makes 32 cookies


  1. These look soo nice, Elle! Love the idea!

    And thanks for the award! I appreciate it!

  2. These looks fabulous. I love mocha flavour and of course chocolate. Will definitely give this a try.

  3. The only thing I did with nibs when I could get them was... eat them. Much like I like chocolate covered espresso beans, I like to crunch on the occasional nib. Never thought of baking with them, really. I like the bittersweet flavoring, though. Yum.

  4. Nice stack of cookies.
    American cookies have aquired a bit of a reputation for their high sugar content, so I'm glad you modified it. Should make yummy trail food. :)

  5. Thanks so much for sharing some of these with me. They're delicious. Coffee and chocolate are best friends, so of course these are great.

  6. I've had a pound of cocoa nibs in my freezer for what seems like forever, but I have yet to incorporate them into anything. Is that nuts or what? Your recipe has given me the 'strength; to finally confront them..LOl The cookies and photos look fantastic!

    That said, I have a little something for you at my blog. You can grab it here...

  7. They sound delicious! Now, if only I could convince T. to eat shortbread....

    They make a thing here called Millionaire Shortbread, which is basically a thin layer of shortbread, a layer of caramel, and a layer of milk chocolate. I think this would improve it immensely.

  8. Well you know these would be a big hit in Seattle!