Kelsi and Keri Matwick (University of Florida)
When we sipped our way through Alaska's countless specialty coffee huts, we discovered and fell in love with the duo of coffee and cookies. The drive-through access of the unique and charming coffee huts, like the Daily Rush, Mocha Dan's, Firehouse Express, The Hot Spot and Black Bear Coffee Co, made the bitterly winter mornings and afternoons more bearable. During one of our regular stops at the Daily Rush, the woman at the window said, "You need to try our Mocha Chocolate Chunk Cookies." She scooped up two saucer-size cookies from the cookie tray, slipped them into large paper sleeves, and handed them to us, along with our coffee mochas. They were unbelievable, with tender, chocolate-rich chewiness but a crunchy, crisp bite, too.
After dozens of attempts (who can complain about that?!) at a chocolate-chip cookie that could best the all-American classics, we finally arrived at the ultimate chocolate chip cookie that soars to sublime. Dark chocolate chunks and toasted pecans bake into a twice coffee-flavored dough: espresso powder and cocoa nibs, crushed roasted coffee beans with the flavor of chocolate, which highlight the deep complexity of the dark chocolate. Chopping some of the chocolate into small pieces helps the flavors stand out, like a chocolate mist. The whole wheat flour mutes some of the richness, and makes you feel healthy and justified to reach for a second. This is what we call an investment: supporting the small coffee shop owner and baking what may become your new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1 large egg
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chunks or chips, half chopped into tiny bits
1 cup (about 3 ½ ounces) large pecan or walnut pieces, or any nut you prefer
¼ cup cocoa nibs
Mocha Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from Peggy Cullen’s Got Milk? The Cookie Book
- It's hard to wait to bake the dough, but it needs to be refrigerated for at least an hour, better 24 hours, to develop deeper flavors. The flour is able to fully hydrate its chocolatey coffee notes.
- If you're making these for kids or for those who don't like the taste of coffee, you can omit the espresso powder. The cocoa nibs enriches the flavor of the coffee and add a subtle, bitter crunch without an identifiable coffee taste.
- For Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies, sprinkle a little flaky pink Himalayan salt, fleur de sel, or Maldon sea salt on top of the cookies before baking.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugars, salt, vanilla, and espresso powder until well combined. Beat in the egg. Scrape down the bowl using a rubber spatula, and beat for a few more seconds.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix on low speed just until absorbed. Combine the chocolate chunks, nuts, and cocoa nibs in a small bowl, and stir into the dough.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
5. When you're ready to bake, position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
6. Shape the dough into 1 ½-teaspoon balls and drop them onto the prepared sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Gently press the tops flat. For perfectly uniform cookies, scoop the dough using a 1 ½-inch ice cream scoop, leveling the dough off across the top before dropping them onto the baking sheets.
7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Let sit for 5 minutes, then cool completely on the sheet on a wire rack.