Friday, April 30, 2010

Chocolate Orange Espresso Thins

We recently celebrated National Library Week in our library and one of the events we held to celebrate was a tea for the faculty at the college. We went all out and even had real teacups! We made a lot of the food ourselves, since the library doesn’t have a big budget. We’re quite the group and we can put together a pretty nice shindig. Since I made cookies for the library all the time, I was asked to bring cookies.

Figuring that it would be a fancy tea, I knew I would need to pick the right thing to make. I thought about making Madelines, but since I needed to bring these in the middle of the week, the timing didn’t really work to make those again. I came across this recipe and I figured they would be perfect: petite and dainty for a tea, plus I could make the dough in advance and then bake them up fresh for the tea. I also thought they would go well with the other cookies that I was making: Lemon Meltaways.

I really enjoyed these and they worked really well at the tea. I used dark cocoa powder so these were deep and rich. I didn’t think that the orange flavor was very strong, but that’s ok. One of my coworkers doesn’t like orange so that was just was well. The espresso flavor was great, and I suppose a bit of the contrast to the tea that was served, but no one complained! My cookies weren’t all that thin, and I liked that. You could cut them thinner if you wanted an even crispier cookie, but I was really pleased with how they turned out.

1-1/2 cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
Coarse sanding sugar

In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, instant espresso powder and salt. Stir to combine and set aside. In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter, powdered sugar, orange zest and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium low and gradually add the flour mixture until just combined.

Divide dough into two halves. Shape each half into a log, 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in parchment paper. Chill at least two hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Cut logs into ¼ inch slices and place on prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops of the cookies with water and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until set, 15-17 minutes.

Cool on the sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

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