These cookies are lightly sweet, with a hard-to-place flavor. I really enjoy the looks on people's faces as they're trying to figure out what's exactly going on here. Balance the coffee, cinnamon, and salt, and your guests will only know that you've made something delicious.
They're deceptively elegant and don't take a lot of effort to make; they're technically a roll-out cookie, but can be done without a rolling pin, and without destroying your kitchen or taking all day.
I always make them coffee-cinnamon style, but the recipe was originally written to include tea, which I'm sure would be great too. (See first note at the bottom about flavorings.)
- 0.75 cup (2.25 oz / 65g) powdered sugar, measured then sifted
- 1 teaspoon (4g) espresso powder or about 1.5 tsp (6g) instant coffee, or 1.5 (0.3 oz / 8g) tablespoons finely ground tea (see note below)
- 0.5 teaspoon (2g) cinnamon
- a pinch of salt
- 1.25 stick (5 oz / 140g) unsalted butter, salted or unsalted, chilled
- 1.75 cup (8.5 oz / 240g) flour
- 3 egg yolks
- ~1 cup (7 oz / 200g) granulated sugar (optional, for coating)
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Mix together sugar, cinnamon, salt, and coffee/tea element (see note below). If coffee/espresso looks like granules, smash with the back of a spoon until more powdery (but it will mostly dissolve anyway). Add butter and mix until smooth and pale.
Add the flour on low speed; mix until combined.
Add the egg yolks, scraping down the sides to make sure everything's homogenous. Mix just until the dough forms a mass.
At this point, taste it and add whatever you think it needs. I almost always end up adding a little extra salt and cinnamon. The dough is pretty forgiving; you can play around with mixing in more flavoring elements, but try to limit this to a few minutes - the dough will eventually become overworked and produce a denser cookie.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and smash it until it's about an inch thick (this will save time in the next couple of steps). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, optimally a couple hours.
Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface. Aim for a thickness of about half an inch (13mm). Go a little thinner if you're after more of a crunchy than crumbly texture.
Cut with small cookie cutters, or cut by hand into squares or diamonds or whatnot. Cookies should be about an inch (25mm) wide, or smaller.
Toss each cookie in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat. Skip this if you want, but it does make for a nice crunchy exterior.
Place about a cookie's width apart on baking sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes. Done when slightly browned around the edges.
I don't like tea, so have never used it in these and don't have many tips to share. I suspect you'd be better off with a black than a green or herbal tea. I can imagine a chai-cinnamon-nutmeg thing being great, but just be sure to taste the dough near the end and make sure all the flavors seem balanced.
Original recipe calls for 1.5 tablespoons of tea, which sounds like a lot to me. You might be better off including half this amount, and adding more as necessary.
Whatever flavoring element you use, tea or coffee, MUST be finely ground. Espresso powder is great for this, but I've also used instant coffee with good results (they're essentially the same thing, although the espresso is more strongly flavored). I abhor instant coffee but it does fine in these.
If you don't have a rolling pin, use a wine bottle or sturdy glass to roll out the dough, or just use your hands to press it flat. The top surface need not be perfectly smooth, and it's not a huge amount of dough, so this is doable by hand.
If you don't have parchment paper, your next best option is to lightly grease the cookie sheets, but I haven't tried this. It will probably work fine, but parchment is always optimal.
Whenever I make cookies I'm always tempted to make one giant one. You really can't do that with these - such a dense dough just will not get done all the way through, if the cookies are much wider than about an inch.
Since it's such a small amount of powdered sugar, you can probably get away with not sifting it, if you feel it's reasonably free of lumps. Or just smash at it with a spoon.
Really lovely with a cup of strong coffee.
Children do not like these cookies.
Of course I would love to hear about it if you make these.
Photo here; original recipe here.