This month’s theme – foods we bake for the people we love – was originally inspired by Valentine’s Day. Though as the end of the month rolls around, I’m finding a different meaning and am feeling feeling particularly mushy (as in sentimental, not as in unpleasantly squishy). As Streusel mentioned, she’s been doing a lot of adulting lately – and as her pal, I wish I could be there to distract her with some clothes shopping, coffee drinking, or spend time harassing her about why she’s given up red wine.
Since I can’t be there right now, what I can instead do is send a small token of friendship and support, in the shape and form of a cookie (our pal Erica call these “love gifts.”) As Streusel mentioned, she’s got a thing for chocolate (she’s also got a thing for yak, and there was the time she enjoyed herself some rattlesnake sausage, but I’m less helpful with the exotic meats). She also, bless her, has a deep appreciation of coffee. AND apparently likes a bit of fruit in her chocolate (I know we’ve discussed my hesitancy regarding fruit + chocolate, but this is about Streusel and not me… mostly 😉).
So, speeding their way to Streusel via USPS, is a package of these chocolatey, rich, pillowy cookies. The cherries add chewiness, the chocolate-covered espresso beans add a bit of crunch, and the punchy espresso flavor will hopefully remind Streusel that she’s got some fans in Seattle that are thinking of her.
A note that these cookies don’t actually have to be Cherry Espresso, they can also be Double Chocolate Almond Espresso Cookies (or really, any other mix-in that fancies you). You see, I wanted to include Addison (Streusel’s spirited, super fun kiddo) in these cookies and figured the chocolate-covered espresso beans may not be her thing. So, I made a batch with chopped almonds and chocolate chunks. Then, I realized that I’d forgotten that the batter has espresso powder in it. Sooo… unless Addison is really in to coffee at an early age, I owe her some cookies. I got you, kiddo.
Preheat the oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and vanilla. Add to the butter and sugar and mix until combined.
Whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and espresso powder. Add all at once to the wet ingredients, mixing on until just combined.
Stir in the espresso beans and dried cherries.
Using a tablespooh-sized cookie scoop, drop the dough on to the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle kosher salt on top and place in the oven.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops are a bit cracked and the cookies look dry on top. Remove from the oven, let cool on the pan for about 5 minutes then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.
To crush the espresso beans, I placed them in a zip-top bag and used a rolling pin to crush
Any mix-ins will do, you just want to measure out about a 1 to 1/2 cups’ worth of ingredients. After I made the basic dough, I divided it and made half with the cherry and coffee beans and the other half with chopped almonds and chocolate chunks.
Next time I made these, I’m adding in cocoa nibs. I think they will be divine!
Strudel and Streusel are two friends living in different cities, sharing a love of baking (and butter) through this blog. With Streusel in Denver, and Strudel in Seattle, we've found our little site to be a great way to stay in touch, share recipes we love, and talk about experiences in our respective cities.