Thursday, March 10, 2011

Of Coffee and Chocolate...and Cookies! (Chocolate Coffee Cookies)

I make a lot of cookies. I love to make cookies, which is a good thing, since I usually make a batch about once a week! For the past year and a half I have been making them for our church's monthly board meetings, and now I also make them on Thursday mornings as a treat for our Thursday evening home Bible study group. The folks are so appreciative so they are a delight to serve!
But over the months, I have gotten a bit bored with oatmeal and chocolate chip and have tried many different varieties. In fact, I borrowed a Better Homes and Gardens giant cookie recipe book from the library for about a month once! While I had that book checked out, I experimented a little with using instant coffee in cookies. As most of you know (if you know me well at all!), I LOVE coffee! My whole kitchen is practically a shrine to it, I have been accused of being a coffee "snob," (okay, maybe it's true...) and I am a coffee shop addict as well. I love the drink and the atmosphere that goes with it! But I have another love. You guessed it- chocolate! Along with many of my sex, I believe chocolate is a great fixer. Not the best, of course, but there are quite a few things chocolate is a perfect salve for. :) I used to be stuck on my milk chocolate, but my older brother finally convinced me that dark chocolate is superior to all other varieties! And the best thing about these two loves is they go so well together! And put that flavor into a cookie- wow!
For my open house Christmas party I made some cookies called Coffeehouse Flats that were coffee/chocolate cookies, and they were actually half dipped in melted chocolate as well- so delicious! But they were also a lot of work! The dough had to be rolled and chilled, sliced and dipped and was rather time consuming (worth every minute though!).
Earlier this week, before our board meeting Tuesday, I felt in the mood to try something different, but not too complicated, so I searched the internet for "chocolate coffee cookies" and when I found a recipe by a blogger who calls herself the "chocolate goddess" I knew they would be good! They were also simple drop cookies, which was perfect for my busy Tuesday! Her recipe is for "Double Chocolate Coffee Cookies" because she adds chunks of dark chocolate to the already chocolaty mix- however, I have one man at our study who doesn't like chocolate chips or chunks in cookies (I cannot grasp this, but I concede anyway...), so I left the chunks out, leaving myself trying to imagine what they would have tasted like with an extra dark chocolate kick! Instead of the chunks, I threw in some chopped walnuts that I'm trying to get rid of (our local food bank gave Travis two large bags full!)- at the chocolate goddess' suggestion. :) First I mixed the instant coffee granules with hot water to dissolve them (this keeps there from being any "crunch" in the finished product!), which made a thick, strong smelling liquid.

Setting that aside, I combined the dry ingredients including- I loved this measurement- two heaping tablespoons of Hershey's cocoa powder!

Then the butter and the wet ingredients in another bowl, adding the thick coffee mixture as well.

Once the wet ingredients were well mixed, I got out my trusty wooden spoon and added the dry to the wet. The dough looked marvelously fudgy and was very tasty (okay, I sampled...and forgot to take a picture!)! The walnuts went in last. I've never really been one for nuts in my brownies, but lately I have enjoyed nuts in cookies, so I gave it a try. I'm still debating whether I like them that way or not. I love walnuts in oatmeal cookies now, but I might leave the nuts out of these next time. Experiment with your own preference! Or try different chocolate, like semi-sweet or milk or even white! After I plopped them on the baking sheet, they were in about 9 minutes and came out....completely delicious! Coffee and chocolate, united in a soft, fudgy, chewy cookie! This recipe is definitely a keeper. Perfect along with a cup of coffee or a tall glass of milk!

Chocolate Coffee Cookies
(printable version)
adapted from The Chocolate Goddess
makes about 3 dozen

1/3 c. instant coffee granules
2 tbsp hot water
2 2/3 c. flour
2 heaping tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 c. walnuts (or whatever else you want to put in)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Dissolve coffee in 2 tbsp hot water. In a separate small mixing bowl mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Beat butter and sugar at a medium speed until fluffy. Pour coffee, vanilla and eggs into the butter mixture; mix well. Reduce mixer’s speed to low and slowly pour flour mixture into the butter mixture. Fold walnuts (or chocolate) into the dough. Drop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Bake about 9 min.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Monthly Menu- March

March is here! It is only 18 days till spring is official, and even if there is snow on the ground up here in the Inland Northwest, I will rejoice! Isn't it wonderful that spring comes every year? Thank you, Lord!

Week 1 (March 1-5)

Honey Ginger Chicken Stir Fry with White Rice
Courtesy of my sister-in-law, this turned out to be a very light and yummy alternative to our usual stir-fry, with sauce from a packet and vegetables from the freezer. I loved using fresh veggies, and the sauce was perfectly light!
Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Soup with Rolls
A new recipe from, I have officially turned my Soup Saturdays into Soup Wednesdays. While it doesn't have the same ring to it, it is more convenient for me. Soups do so well in the crock-pot, I don't have to worry about them during Awana at all. It usually doesn't matter how long the simmer if I get back later than planned. :)
Honey-Mustard Baked Chicken with Brown Rice and Asparagus
My sisters are visiting from Oregon, and this is a favorite that my sister Jewelissa created. So we'll make it together!
Whole Wheat Pizza with Fruit & Veggies
Spaghetti with Rolls
A neighbor gave us a delicious looking batch of his own homemade sauce, and I froze it, so I look forward to trying it later this week!

Week 2 (March 8-12)

Game Hen with Potatoes
Okay. Travis came home one day with this itty bitty chicken from our Food Bank. I think it's a Cornish game hen but I'm not positive. So...I'll try treating it like one and see what happens!
Leftover Cabbage Beef Soup with Corn Muffins
From the freezer!
BBQ Chicken with Mashed Potatoes
A great easy crock-pot dish.
I think I've decided to make Fridays pizza days. We never get tired of the homemade crust and it's soooo easy!
Pot Roast with potatoes or Butternut Squash

Week 3 (March 15-19)

Chicken and Broccoli Stuffed Shells with Alfredo Sauce
A recipe courtesy of my sister-in-law's blog
Beef Barley Soup with Crescent Rolls
Made from the roast from Saturday!
Train Wreck
Taco Salad, Rief style!
Hot Dogs and...?
Turkey Dogs!

Week 4 (March 22-26)

Lasagna Casserole with Green Salad
Like lasagna, only easier. :)
Chelsia's Chicken Stew with Biscuits
A great standby soup we haven't had in awhile!
Waffles (or Pancakes) with Turkey Bacon and Canned Peaches
Breakfast for dinner!

Week 5 (Whew! This is a long month! March 29-31)

Shepherd's Pie
Classic comfort food: meat and veggies with mashed potatoes and cheese on top. :)
Chicken Tortilla Soup with Trimmings
When I made these last month, I made enough to freeze a batch, so this will be easy!
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