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Holiday Cookies: Espresso Chocolate Sablés

For us, no cookie party or holiday dessert spread would be complete without a chocolate chip cookie. We consider these beauties from Dorie Greenspan a grown-up version of that favorite cookie treat.


My original recipe for these deeply coffee-flavored and amply chocolate-flecked cookies produced a classic shortbread with the melt-in-your-mouth texture that’s the hallmark of great shortbread and the result of using only confectioners’ sugar in the dough. When I adapted the recipe [for my cookbook] and baked the cookies in metal rings, constraining their spreadability, the change was anything but subtle: The sablés were still tender, but their texture became denser and their flavor more intense.

Of course these are good with coffee and coffee drinks, but they’re surprisingly nice with milk and not at all bad with cognac. — Dorie Greenspan

Espresso Chocolate Sablés

Makes about 40 cookies

1½ Tbsp instant espresso
1 Tbsp boiling water
2 sticks (8 oz; 226 g) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
⅔ c (80 g) confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp fine sea salt
Pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
2 c (272 g) all-purpose flour
4 oz (113 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1. Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water. Set the extract aside to cool to lukewarm or room temperature.

2. Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, salt, and cinnamon, if you’re using it, together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed, until well blended. Mix in the vanilla and espresso extract on low speed. Turn off the mixer, add the flour all at once, and pulse to begin incorporating it, then mix on low speed until the flour almost disappears into the dough. Scrape down the bowl, add the chopped chocolate, and mix until evenly distributed. Give the dough a few last turns with a sturdy flexible spatula.

3. Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide it in half. Shape each half into a disk.

4. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, sandwich it between pieces of parchment paper and roll it to a thickness of ¼ in. Slide the dough, still sandwiched, onto a baking sheet — you can stack the slabs — and freeze the dough for at least 1 hour or refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

5. When you are ready to bake the cookies, center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 325°. Butter or spray a regular muffin tin, or 2 tins, if you’ve got them. Have a 2-in-diameter cookie cutter at hand.

6. Working with 1 sheet of dough at a time, peel away both pieces of paper and put the dough back on 1 piece of paper. Cut the dough and drop the rounds into the muffin tin(s). The dough might not fill the molds completely, but it will once baked. Save the scraps from both pieces of dough, then gather them together, re-roll, chill, and cut.

7. Bake the cookies for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they feel firm to the touch and have some color. Transfer the muffin tin(s) to a rack and leave the cookies in the tin(s) for about 10 minutes before carefully lifting them out onto the rack to cool completely.

8. Continue with the remainder of the dough, if you only baked 1 sheet, always using cool tins.

Notes

The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen, well wrapped, up to 2 months; cut and bake directly from the freezer. The cookies will keep in a tin at room temperature for about 5 days or, wrapped airtight, in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Meet the lady behind the cookies: Read our profile of Dorie Greenspan and visit her website at doriegreenspan.com. For more cookie recipes, get Dorie’s Cookies.

Photo: Davide Luciano

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