Chocolate. Orange. Espresso. In one bite. That says it all, doesn't it? I think this, typically British, flavor combination is absolutely brilliant. Coming to think of it I encountered a myriad of choco-orange candies when I spent time in the UK during college which is where I think my fondness for it began. Martha, of course, has managed to perfect this anglo-flavor combo with her recipe. These cookies are wonderfully chocolately, orangey and espresso-y, without being overpowering. Plus, since they are not ridiculously ginormous like a Starbucks frisbee-style rainbow cookie, you can eat two or three and not feel so guilty that you decide to skip yoga and start the resolutions again tomorrow... When you make these be sure to sit down and enjoy a few by yourself during naptime, with a warm cup of tea or glass of milk. We all deserve a sweet break now and then!
Chocolate Orange Espresso Thins, adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 t. instant espresso powder
1/2 t. Kosher salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 c. confectioners' sugar
1 t. finely grated orange zest
1 t. vanilla extract
Coarse sanding sugar for sprinkling
1. Mix flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Put butter, confectioners' sugar, orange zest and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Scrape down sides. On low speed add the flour mixture until just combined.
4. Place dough down on a Silpat or parchment paper. Shape into a log that is 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Make sure there is no air in the log. Wrap log in plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours or overnight*. (*See Naptime Stopwatch)
5. Preheat oven to 350F. Cut log into 1/4 inch thick slices. Transfer slices to baking sheet lined with Silpat or parchment paper. Brush tops of cookies with water and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets and then transfer to wire rack. Cooled cookies can be stored in airtight container for up to 1 week.
*Naptime Recipe Props: The dough gets sticky so be sure to work quickly. When shaping the dough it is crucial that the log is as round as possible. Before tackling the cookie dough practice your technique by rolling "spaghetti" with playdough!
*Naptime Stopwatch: The dough took about 8 minutes to prepare. Couldn't. Be. Faster. The longest part of the recipe is letting the dough rest before baking (at least 2 hours please!), and then baking each tray (about 15 min. each.) I prepared the dough during naptime, let it rest during the evening, and did the slicing and baking after bedtime (while watching the season premiere of Nip/Tuck. Poor Christian!)
*Husband Says...: "Superb! These cookies are very tasty despite the fact that I was extremely skeptical of your lecture on the brilliance of the choco-orange combo. You were right. I was wrong. I love you and your cookies."
*Toddler Says...: "More peease! I love all things chocolate and simply can't understand why you won't ever yield and give me chocolate for every meal of the day. But I'll settle for what I can get. Until I figure out how to negotiate and use things like not eating as leverage."