If the idea of chomping into a roasted coffee bean doesn't scare you, these cookies are calling out your name. Actually they are not as intense as they look. Each cookie probably only has about the amount of caffeine as the average cup of decaf coffee. And the flavor of the coffee bean (yes, it's real) is quite tasty. The slight bitter edge that it has is completely offset by the flavor of the cookie.
My Coffee Bean Cookies are inspired by Alice Medrich's Coffee-Walnut Cookies. I made my version with almonds instead of walnuts, and I think it gives them a slightly milder flavor. But if you have good walnuts on hand, by all means use them. And if you want to roll out and cut the cookies with cookie cutters, refer to her original recipe. I've taken the simple slice and bake approach here.
These cookies remind me of a nutty shortbread. Of course they are delicious with coffee. They are also excellent with tea. For some reason the flavor of the coffee doesn't conflict with the tea. My husband, who doesn't normally get excited about cookies, loves these. I think it is because they are not too sweet. They are perfect for a coffee lover, or really anyone. Oh, and as long as you have a food processor, they are incredibly easy to make.
Coffee Bean Cookies
1 cup of blanched almonds
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons finely ground good coffee (I have been using Starbucks Christmas Blend, but any good medium roast should be fine. Alice Medrich says not to use espresso-roast)
1 3/4 sticks of unsalted butter (14 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon of vanilla infused brandy (or plain brandy)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Approximately 40 whole coffee beans (the same roast that you used above)
1. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are finely ground. Add the flour, sugar, salt and ground coffee and pulse until they are all combined. Add the butter in several pieces and pulse until the mixture looks crumbly. Add the brandy and vanilla extract and pulse until it begins to clump together slightly.
2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead a couple times until it holds together. Break into 2 pieces. Roll out each into a log about 10-12 inches long. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. You can keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freeze for up to a couple months.
3. When you are ready to bake: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take your dough out of the refrigerator, and let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes. Then slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. Using ungreased, unlined cookie sheets (this will allow them to brown and don't worry, they won't stick), arrange the rounds at least 1 inch apart. They will spread. Press a coffee bean with the seam side up in the middle of each cookie.
4. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until just lightly browned on the edges. I use Alice's advice to rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. It does help. After baking, the cookies will firm up in about a minute and can be transfered to a wire rack to thoroughly cool before storing in an airtight container. Even after a week, they are fresh and delicious. Alice says they will last a month. Sadly I have not been able to keep them that long.
Makes 3-4 dozen