Sometimes you just need a cookie.
And the occasional fairy tale.
This past weekend I spent time with both. As a collector of the old sort of fairy tales, I can tell you they have a definite adult edge. Most aimed to teach children the consequences of bad behavior with scare tactics and not-so-happy endings. It’s a far cry from the stories today that are meant to calm and lull children to sleep. I find them so interesting, comparatively.
So, what goes with a grown-up fairy tale? An equally grown-up dark chocolate and coffee flavored cookie. I’ve never been happier to sweep cookie crumbs from those pages of folklore.
Hours later, the caramel bug bit me -again! I whipped up a batch of easy caramel frosting, and soon after was making caramel-filled-mocha-swirl-sandwiches. Dreamy.
Mocha Swirl Cookies
Yield: 40 cookies [printable version]
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee (I used Starbucks’ VIA)
2 oz. Dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter until creamy.
- Gradually add sugar to butter while mixer is running.
- Add egg and vanilla, beat well. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl and mix again until incorporated.
- With mixer on low speed, gradually add in flour mixture until just combined.
- Remove dough from mixer and divide into two even portions. Dough should not be sticky.
- Return half of the dough to the mixer and add the instant coffee. Mix until combined and dough is speckled with coffee granules. Use finely powdered instant coffee like Starbucks’ VIA, or you may choose to grind standard instant coffee finer in a food processor. Espresso powder would also work well in this recipe. Remove coffee dough from mixer.
- Return the other half of dough to the mixer and add the melted chocolate. Mix until well combined.
- Roll out each dough separately between two sheets of wax paper – approximately 1/4″ thick. Each piece should be a 9 x14″ rectangle. Chill on baking sheets in the refrigerator, at least 1 hour.
- When dough is thoroughly chilled, top chocolate dough with coffee dough. Gently press together the two dough pieces using a rolling pin.
- Let dough stand at room temperature until malleable.
- Use a knife to even one side (down the 14″ length) of the dough. This gives you a nice even start for the spiral.
- Roll dough tightly, jelly-roll fashion, using the wax paper to guide the dough. The chocolate portion of dough usually tears a little when rolling. When this happens – STOP- and pinch the dough back together before you continue to roll. Remember, this is not a race to see how fast you can roll the dough. Do this slowly and deliberately.
- Cover the dough roll in wax paper, then in a length of plastic wrap. Chill thoroughly, at least 1 hour. Turn the dough halfway through chilling to make sure it doesn’t become flat on one side.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove dough from refrigerator, uncover and slice in half with a sharp knife. Place half of dough back in the refrigerator to keep cold.
- Cut dough into 1/4″ rounds.
- Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Repeat with remaining dough.
Sweet Caramel Frosting
Yield: about 2 1/2 cups frosting [printable version]
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 – 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, cubed butter, milk and pinch of salt.
- Place over medium heat and bring to a bubble.
- Let mixture boil for 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Let mixture cool in the refrigerator until barely warm.
- Place caramel in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Whisk caramel for 1 minute at high speed.
- Add confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until just combined, then beat at high speed for an additional 1-2 minutes.
This mixture will fill 20 sandwich cookies, or frost 18 cupcakes.