March 30, 2011

Espresso Cardamom Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last Thursday was one of my nearest and dearest friends' birthdays; you know what that means, right? I had to bake something; it's a given.

When I think of my friend Francesca, I think of cardamom coffee.  She was the first person to introduce me to the idea of making flavored coffee at home.  It's such a fantastically simple concept, yet it had never crossed my mind.  All you do is put a bit of whatever whole spice you'd like (in her case, it's cracked cardamom pods) into your french press with some coffee grounds and brew as usual.  D'oh!  But this post isn't about coffee, it's about cookies.  Espresso Cardamom Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Since cardamom coffee makes me think of Francesca and cookies are easy to transport (I'm all about practicality here), I decided to make a cardamom coffee flavored cookie.  I had a hunch that dark chocolate would be a perfect complement to the flavors of coffee and cardamom, so I decided to add chocolate covered espresso beans to the cookies and kill two birds with one stone (as I said, I'm all about practicality).

I used the classic Tate's chocolate chip cookie recipe as a base because I've never heard of anyone who doesn't like Tate's cookies [Note: if you exist, I'd advise you not to show yourself as you will surely be shunned-- mostly in New York and the Hamptons though.]  I'd never tried this recipe before but it worked wonderfully.  The cookies came out with Tates' trademark crispness and rich tan color.  As for the taste, my friend absolutely loved them but, in the interest of full disclosure, they were a little heavy on the cardamom for my taste.  I have a feeling I'll be making a plain chocolate chip version in the near future... 

Espresso Cardamom Chocolate Chip Cookies
If I were to make these a second time I think I'd add in a teaspoon or so of instant espresso or coffee powder.
Adapted from Tate's Bake Shop via GOOP (thanks Gwyneth!)

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (I used a mortar and pestle to grind Decorticated Caradamom, if using pre-ground, you may want to add slightly more)
1/2 cup (1 stick) lightly salted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
2/3 cup dark chocolate covered espresso beans, chopped
2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ.

Whisk the flour, soda, salt and cardamom together in a bowl. In another large bowl, mix the butter with a wooden spoon to lighten it a bit and then mix in the sugars. Add the water, vanilla and eggs to the butter mixture. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined and then fold in the chocolate covered espresso beans and cacao nibs, if using.

Using two soup spoons, drop the cookies 2" apart onto two nonstick or greased cookie sheets. Bake for eight minutes if you want them soft in the middle, twelve if you want the trademark crispiness.  Rotate the sheets after four minutes (I didn't find this necessary). Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool, and repeat the process with the rest of the batter.

Makes about 24 cookies

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