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I made it all the way through high school and college without coffee. Sure, I nursed a mug or two of sugared milk with coffee as flavoring at Denny’s with friends, an iced mocha from Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to the beach. But I didn’t need it, and I wasn’t sure if I liked it. Then we moved to Seattle. I stayed strong for a few months, but eventually acquiesced. (Caved? Succumbed?) There is quite a difference between coffee for coffee’s sake and good coffee and espresso, made with love by trained, passionate aficionados. Luckily for me, and to nobody’s surprise, my city is chock-a-block with the latter, and I am a happy girl as a result. I love coffee, French roast and shade-grown and cold-brewed and the like.

A few months ago, I decided to make some coffee-flavored cookies; I was chocolated-out (at the moment– I am now back on track) and wanting to bake something different. I had an idea in mind and sought to find a recipe online to try, and would you believe I couldn’t find anything that was just right? Maybe I was being picky, but I wanted just coffee, no chocolate, no nuts, no frosting. Eventually I found this recipe, which was close to what I had envisioned, well-reviewed and looked adaptable to the changes I intended to make. The following recipe is my version, slowly but surely tweaked to my liking.

I call these cappuccino cookies because the white chocolate chips give them a hint of creaminess, reminiscent of a good foam. The ratio of chips to cookie is deliberately low, but you can add more if you want to; I was trying to stay away from overwhelming the coffee flavor with too much sweetness. If you want just coffee cookies, leave out the chips; if you want something closer to a mocha, replace the white chocolate with dark chocolate. I made an almond latte version of these cookies I loved by replacing the vanilla with almond extract and the coffee liqueur with amaretto– they were divine. And as bonus, they are just the right consistency to make a killer ice cream sandwich: use chocolate, vanilla, coffee or another of your favorite flavors for a yummy summer treat.

Cappuccino Cookies (makes about 65 cookies)

  • 2 tsp. instant espresso powder (I like this one)
  • 2 T. coffee liqueur
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. white chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet, or line with parchment or a silicone sheet. Set aside.

In a small bowl (I used a coffee cup– it seemed appropriate), mix the espresso powder and coffee liqueur and allow to sit for a few minutes to ensure the powder dissolves fully. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until fully incorporated; add the vanilla and espresso-liqueur mixture.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; add this mixture to your wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips and chill your dough in the fridge, covered loosely with a plate or plastic wrap, for at least 30 mins. before proceeding. The dough will last in the fridge for a few days, but cover it more carefully if you intend to store it for a while.

Use a teaspoon or small cookie scoop/melon baller to form balls of dough just larger than a cherry. (I experimented with larger cookies and found they didn’t cook well.) Bake for 15 mins., until the cookies are starting to brown around the edges. Cool for 5 mins. and then remove to a rack to cool completely. Store cooled cookies in a tightly-covered container for up to a week.