On the list of my sins ( far too exhaustive to contemplate listing or even contemplating), both caffeine and chocolate are prominent. For a long time, caffeine kept me moving through the day. Through the infancy of a daughter who wouldn't sleep, through crisis management (an airline collapse, terrorism and anthrax attacks spring to mind), and midnight conference calls, there was always a coffee nearby. Additionally any private management meeting, in my world of open plan offices, also happened "over coffee", which meant downstairs at the coffee shop. Things got so out of control that caffeine stopped it's positive effect on me and started giving me heart palpitations. Yikes. I was forced to severely reduce my intake. Periodically I fall back into bad habits, and find myself having to cut back again. I have never indulged in chocolate as wantonly as I drank coffee - just a little nibble here and there, with a mouthful of bitter dark chocolate usually sufficient to quash any craving. But the chocolate and coffee combination? I adore it. Cappucino? Yes please.
These tiny cookies bring all that is good about chocolate and coffee into one little biscuit. And they are really a little treat. The dough is rolled out into sausages that are about 3cm in diameter before being chilled and sliced and then baked. They wind up the perfect size to sit on the saucer next to your coffee - a tiny unit of energy to nibble while you read the paper or take that conference call or manage that crisis or do whatever. The recipe comes from a wonderful old cookbook of mine by Barbara Tropp: "The China Moon Cookbook". If you ever see this cookbook, even if you don't like Asian food, grab it for the cookie recipes.
from "the China Moon Cookbook" by Barbara Tropp
makes 10 dozen cookies
125g cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 extra-large egg
1 cup plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. instant coffee powder or granules
1 ½ tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
½ cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and both sugars on medium speed until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg and mix until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour, instant coffee, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and chocolate bits; mix thoroughly for 2 to 3 minutes.
Gather the dough together and turn onto a lightly floured board. Using lightly floured hands, roll the dough into 2 or 3 even 3cm-thick logs. Wrap the logs separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 175C. Move an over rack to the middle position. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Slice the logs into 1/2 cm thick coins, and place them ½ inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. One sheet at a time, bake until the cookies are lightly golden and are firm enough at the edges to slide off the parchment without sticking, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets set on wire racks.