Last week I needed something chocolatey. Really, truly, deeply chocolatey. It was just that kind of a week.
And nothing brings out really, truly, deeply chocolatey-ness better than coffee! I’ve been working on perfecting a cookie recipe that allows both flavors to shine together, rather than one being overpowered by the other. My friends, I think I’ve finally come up with a winner.
This cookie has the lovely, shiny crust of a brownie:
But do not be fooled by that delicate, light exterior! Inside, these babies are deep and dark, as all really, truly, deeply chocolatey desserts ought to be. And, just to keep you on your toes, they’re studded with melty morsels of dark chocolate gooeyness. See?
This is a wonderfully indulgent cookie. Its texture is somewhere between a brownie and a cookie, and you can nudge it more towards one or the other by fiddling with your baking time. The flavor is fantastically chocolatey, and each bite comes with a burst of coffee courtesy of the dark-roasted coffee grounds. I think that was really the key here – in the past, I’ve always tried using brewed or instant espresso/coffee. Using actual coffee grounds was seemed counterintuitive – I assumed they would yield a gritty texture and/or bitter taste. Boy was I wrong! These cookies have a perfect balance of chocolate and coffee flavors, and as far as texture goes, the coffee grounds are hardly noticeable. If you do happen to notice them, they just add a nice, subtle contrast to these cake-like delights.
And then there’s the sea salt. Oh boy oh boy. Talk about the piece de resistance! As much as I love rich desserts and sweet treats, making sure my desserts have enough salt in them to balance the sweetness is always a top priority for me. Usually just a teaspoon or so of regular table salt will do. But with these cookies I didn’t just want balance; I wanted contrast! Chocolate and coffee do pair wonderfully, but they are also both very powerful flavors. Their powers combined needed more than just a little balance to keep them from getting out of control. They needed a little punch in the face. Enter: sea salt. (Cue dramatic music) The sea salt is mixed into the dough and sprinkled on top, which means you notice it immediately upon biting into these treats. And given the strong flavors of the dynamic duo that the sea salt is up against, that little punch in the face is a welcome contrast indeed.
There’s a lot going on in these cookies. But it all comes together perfectly with each really, truly, deeply chocolatey bite.
Dark Mocha Sea Salt Cookies
2.5 cups dark (60% or higher) chocolate chunks, divided
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon finely ground dark-roast coffee or espresso beans (NOT instant)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt + extra for garnish
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (Optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.* Combine eggs, sugar, and coffee in mixing bowl. Beat until the thick, pale, ribbon stage** is achieved (takes about 5-6 min at low-medium speed with the Kitchenaid paddle attachment).
3. While the egg mixture is beating, melt the butter and one and a half cups (NOT all) of the chocolate chunks together. Reserve the remaining cup of chunks and set aside. You’re welcome to use the double boiler method, but I find that the microwave works just fine for this step. Just make sure to follow my instructions on how to do so without burning your chocolate.
4. Once both mixtures are ready – i.e. the eggs have ribboned and the chocolate has melted – slowly beat the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
5. Add salt and baking powder – beat to combine.
6. Add flour – beat on low until just combined. Do not overmix. Overmixing can yield tough cookies. And no one likes a tough cookie!
7. Add remaining cup of chocolate chunks (and toasted nuts, if using). Beat on low until just combined – again, do not overmix!
8. Scoop dough onto a greased cookie sheet or sheet of aluminum foil. Sprinkle sparingly with extra sea salt if desired. Bake at 350F for 10-12 min, until cookies are shiny and cracked on top.
9. Eat one immediately after removing from the oven. You’ve earned it.
*If you’re not using a stand mixer, reverse steps 2 and 3.
** If you’re not sure what I mean by this, google “ribbon stage eggs” for informative explanations, photos, and videos.