Category Archives: Coffee

Dinner Parties: Espresso Delights

Things rarely turn out the way you plan, but when you adapt and go with the flow, it can all wind up working out anyway.

Sophie and I had another dinner party recently, because the last time we had one, our good friend Anna wasn’t able to attend, being in the Philippines and all. I had originally planned on making Lemon Garlic Shrimp as an appetizer, and pink lemonade cupcakes for dessert.

Yah, I didn’t get to make either.

Because funds have been tight for both me and Sophie, after e-mailing back and forth we decided to forgo the appetizer and leave it for some other time. I had tried to think of alternatives like Tomato Garlic Tuscan Bread, Dinner Rolls, etc, but ultimately came to the conclusion that it would be far easier to just make the dessert.

The pink lemonade cupcakes were also a no-go, again because of the money problem. And after flipping through various recipes, both in books and online, I came up with the idea of making espresso cookies, but as ice cream sandwiches instead of just cookies. I would only need to buy espresso powder and I’d be set!

I got to Sophie’s house around 3 (another thing that didn’t go as planned — the party was supposed to start at 4, but since half of our guests couldn’t make it until later we changed the time to 5). She had already made the main course already — chili — so I was able to start making the cookies pretty much right away.

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And get used to seeing better quality pictures, because for my birthday on the 24th my dad got me a very nice quality camera that was half off on Amazon (still need to get a memory card for it, though)!

Anyway, because creaming butter and sugar is too annoying to do with a hand mixer, I kneaded the dough by hand, which was an arm workout but rather fun, as it always is. Sophie observed that the dough looked like a dinosaur skull, so I did this.

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Yeah, we have fun.

This recipe isn’t really too complicated, and it tastes pretty much exactly like the mocha cookies I did a while ago. Same texture and everything, only these had bits of chocolate in them and weren’t dipped in chocolate. And I used espresso powder instead of the Starbucks Via instant coffee.

But this espresso powder just as a coffee? Kind of gross, to be honest. It did taste pretty good in the cookie, though. Or maybe I just don’t like really strong coffee. Totally a possibility.

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I shaped the dough into bigger balls (heh, balls) than the recipe suggested, since these were going to be sandwich cookies, and flattened them slightly with my hands, just like I did with the mocha cookies. Seriously, they’re pretty much the exact same thing, and I got them from the same magazine. Way to go, guys. Way to go.

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The cookies came out soft and wet at first, but you just let them set for about half an hour or so and they’ll harden up just fine (heh, hard).

It turned out, however, that the cookies were a little too crumbly around the edges for us to feel safe making ice cream sandwiches out of them. So, when the time came to serve dessert, we just inserted the cookies into bowls of vanilla ice cream, which I don’t have any pictures of because the ice cream was melting extremely quickly. Have this photo of the cookies on a wire rack instead.

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Sophie is fancy and has a wire rack while I just let the cookies cool on the table. Like I have room for a wire rack! Please.

The evening was very fun! Wine was drunk, board games were played, conversations were had. I had to leave before everyone else, unfortunately, since I had come by bus, but it was an awesome time. Hopefully we’ll throw another dinner party at some point in the future! Or maybe just a dessert party…

Espresso Delights

(adapted from Ultimate Cookies & Bars)

1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (or instant coffee if you can’t find any)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 oz. finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate

Powdered sugar or unsweetened cocoa powder (for decorating)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat the butter with an electric mixer on high for ten minutes, then add the powdered sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, and cinnamon. Or, alternately, throw all those ingredients in the bowl and mix with your hands.

Beat in the flour and stir in the chocolate. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls (or larger, if you want bigger cookies), and flatten slightly with your hands. Place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about twelve minutes, or until the cookies edges are set.

Let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or cocoa powder if desired. 

Mocha Cookies

I’m back! I didn’t bake anything last week, I know — life gets in the way. Plus we had way too many sweets around the house last week, and the last thing we needed were yet more delicious treats (well, okay, maybe not the last thing).

But! This week is different. I bought a magazine with tons of cookie and brownie recipes, many of which I will be utilizing in the future I’m sure, and I flipped to a random page and decided to make these really good Mocha Cookies.

Now, the original recipe was “Mocha Wands”, and I was supposed to get a cookie press with a star tip to make them into these really cool-looking wands. But I really didn’t feel like buying a cookie press, so I was going to just roll them into strings and call them Choco-Wands.

You see, back in middle school, when I was deep in the throes of my Harry Potter obsession, I wrote a fic entitled The Marauders Go Golfing, and in this fic the characters were snacking on something I invented called “Choco-Wands”. I envisioned them as sort of mini Pockys (although I was not aware of the existence of Pockys at the time), only more intricately shaped as wands. They were in a bright red, thick plastic bag with a window. I was quite proud of this snack I had created, and wished I could make them myself. So, I tried to today!

Um… try being the operative word here.

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…Yeah. They look more like worms than wands, no? Plus they’re burnt.

So I gave up the dream of getting to make Choco-Wands (for now), and made them as regular, round cookies instead.

The smell of the Starbucks Via instant coffee was wafting through the kitchen the entire time I was making this, and I have to tell you, it smelled pretty great. I’m not a fan of Starbucks coffee normally, but the mocha instant coffee smells great, and it tasted good in the cookie, too. I haven’t tried it as a coffee yet, though.

I sprinkled half of them with pecans…

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…and half without.

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I’ll be bringing these to work soon, so hopefully people like them! In the meantime, here’s the recipe.

Mocha Cookies

adapted from Ultimate Cookies & Bars

1 cup of butter, softened

3/4 cup of sugar

4 teaspoons Starbucks Via mocha instant coffee

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In medium mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on high speed for 30 seconds. Add in sugar, instant coffee, salt, and baking powder, and beat until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Then beat in the flour.

If you have a cookie press with a star press, put unchilled dough inside and force into 3-inch long strips onto cookie sheet. If not, simply roll the dough into balls with your hands and flatten slightly before placing on sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until edges are firm. Let cool.

Dip ends of the wands or half of the round cookie into the melted chocolate. Sprinkle pecans on and let stand or sit until set.