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Hey, are you ready for some cookies? How about some Hazelnut Mocha Coffee and Cream Cookies?
Yeah. That’s right. Hazelnut. Mocha. Coffee. Cream. Cookies. That’s five good words right there.
Full disclosure. I’m not a coffee drinker. Never have been. Probably never will be. It’s not that I don’t like the taste of coffee. I do. Oh, and I love the aroma when it’s brewing.
(Except for when I was pregnant and suffering from 24/7 “morning” sickness, coffee was one of those trigger smells. Not exactly convenient when the office I worked in was filled with the smell of coffee brewing in every kitchen of the building :(
I have two problems with coffee. First, I like it light and sweet… at which point, I figure I’m just drinking dessert.
I couldn’t possibly drink a “dessert” cup of coffee every morning :/ Instead, I’ve lived my life as a tea drinker, unsweetened, and occasionally with a splash of milk.
Second, there’s the issue of caffeine in coffee. I swear one sip and I can feel it. Even if it’s decaffeinated. It’s probably all in my head, but my body will tell you otherwise.
But coffee ice cream? Or affogato? Or mocha anything? All good, especially when they taste like my preferred light and sweet coffee :)
Another thing I like about coffee? It does an amazing job of intensifying the taste of chocolate. I use espresso powder in these brownies and these other brownies and these cupcakes, just for a few examples. Those recipes are simply not the same without that espresso powder.
When coffee is used to intensify the taste of chocolate, I don’t want to taste the coffee. I want it to be ALL about the chocolate.
I don’t want to know it’s there. I just want it to do its job quietly, in the background. So, I try to balance the amount of espresso carefully in those recipes.
But for today’s Mocha Hazelnut Coffee and Cream Cookies? Well, between the “mocha” and the “coffee”, I needed to make sure that flavor came through.
Now, there’s a bit of debate in our house about how much that flavor should come through. While I’m a tea drinker, my husband is a serious coffee guy. For him, there couldn’t possibly be enough coffee flavor in a cookie.
I may have mentioned he was experimenting with some cookies last year (of the mocha variety) that pretty much knocked me off my feet after one bite. I think those cookies were as close as you could come to actually eating coffee :/
I can safely say that he had no worries about anyone else digging into that cookie stash. Those cookies were made for one person only. And that person was quite happy with them.
So I tackled that whole idea again, but from a much more moderate perspective. I wanted a smoother ride for my cookie.
I said I loved the smell of coffee brewing, but hazelnut coffee? Even better. Yep, I would add hazelnuts to my cookie.
Next, I wanted three hits of chocolate. First, just a spoonful of cocoa in the batter. This would add a little cocoa richness to the dough, create a lovely bit of color, yet it wouldn’t turn the whole thing into a chocolate cookie.
For two more hits of chocolate, I went for chips. Two kinds, semi-sweet and milk chocolate. I use that same combo in my Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies.
And really, it’s pretty much a winning strategy in any chip cookie. The variation in chocolate really makes the flavor so much more interesting, and for me, gives the cookie more depth.
I always have a bunch of different chips in my pantry, so as far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier.
White chocolate chips would deliver the cream element of the cookie. I never wanted a white chocolate bunny on Easter, but boy, white chocolate chips in cookies are a dream!
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Okay, this next step is a little additional work, but it’s a brilliant move, I assure you. I chopped everything up. Ugh! And you know how I hate chopping chocolate! Trust me. It’s worth it.
That’s right, instead of just throwing all those chips and nuts right into the cookie, I broke them down into smaller pieces. I used one of those choppers where you just push the top up and down. But, you could also just chop them up by hand.
Normally, I wouldn’t use a chopper for chocolate. I know I couldn’t chop big blocks of chocolate with that tool. But, I was chopping small amounts of chocolate that were already in small pieces, so it worked fine. (That being said, it’s great for chopping up nuts.)
Why the extra step? I wanted all the flavors to be distributed evenly throughout the cookie, instead of hitting them one at a time with each bite. Chopping them up allowed each ingredient to be more fully incorporated into the cookie dough.
And, because I used the chopper, I had some bigger chunks, smaller chunks and some powder. Imperfectly perfect! The powder would just melt right into the cookie while the bigger chunks would give you a more concentrated bit of flavor.
Chopping the chips and nuts up will also affect the texture of the cookie. There’s no bumpy bits of chip then dough, chip then dough. It certainly doesn’t look like your average chocolate chip cookie. It’s much more uniform. There’s delicious flavor throughout.
When they bake, they’ll get lovely crackled tops. They’ll puff a bit in the oven and then settle back down when they cool.
Once they cool, you’ll have a slightly crispy exterior and a soft, chewy center. Oh my gosh, they were even better than I expected! So. Darn. Good!
The coffee flavor was definitely present, but mellow. The chopped up hazelnuts and chocolate chips were nicely balanced, not one overpowering any of the others.
I stored them in a zip top bag overnight and the next day? The crispy edges had softened. The cookies were now uniformly soft and chewy with a wonderful, sink your teeth into it, bite.
A coffee drinker, I am not. But Hazelnut Mocha Coffee and Cream Cookies?
Thank you. I’ll have two :)
Hazelnut Mocha Coffee and Cream Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder I used Hershey's
- 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup chopped milk chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and continue beating until incorporated, scraping bowl and beaters as necessary.
Gradually add flour mixture, mixing on low until blended. Stir in chopped chips and nuts until evenly distributed. Cover surface of the dough directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Scoop 2 Tablespoons of chilled cookie dough and roll into a ball. Repeat with balance of dough.
Place cookie dough balls 2" apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 13-16 minutes until tops are crackly and edges are a light golden brown. Mine took about 14 minutes.
Allow to cool completely on baking sheets. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
*Chopping up the chocolate and nuts is an extra step to normal chip cookies, but this allows the flavor to distribute throughout the cookie. Make sure to take your measurements after chopping, not before.
*If you're all about coffee flavor, try increasing the amount of espresso powder to 2 teaspoons. Then, you can always adjust up or down for future batches. If you just like a nice mellow, but definitely present coffee flavor, just stick to the recipe amount to start and adjust to your preference for future batches.
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