Espresso Bean Cookies

If you are a coffee lover, a true connoisseur it may be that you are constantly searching for new ideas around coffee – whether how to make the best ever coffee dessert, or come up with the best blend of beans. One such coffee connoisseur is Mr Hiroshi Kiyota, who owns the Irukaya coffee shop. And he has taken the concept of brewing the perfect cup a lot further than most. Ever heard of aging your coffee for ten days? We hadn’t either.

Kiyota’s concept of a coffee shop is very different from most. His place in Tokyo takes only four people at a time and it’s reservation based. You can’t come in a group larger than two either. Why? To brew each cup takes about ten minutes and he does not want to be rude and keep guests waiting. If you come to the shop though you have to drink at least one coffee an hour. No loitering in other words. It kind of makes sense if you bear in mind there are ony four seats.

There are other rules in the Irukaya coffee shop also. You aren’t allowed to smoke, take phots, or use your phone. We presume it’s becaue it would distract from the reason you are there: the coffee.

When Kiyota makes a coffee he blends the different beans himself – weighs them out, grinds them and makes the coffee using a nel drip (handheld flannel filter). It appears he sees coffee much like most see whiskey  and he bases a lot of his blends on world famous whiskeys. He also serves whiskeys in his coffee shop, both in the coffee and as a separate drink. But you have to buy one coffee for every whiskey you buy.

Maybe most of us would get lost if we tried to perfectly measure each single cup, use therometors, scales, hand held filters and even allow our coffee to age for ten days before serving it…but it can be seen as an inspiration for all when you think about how far you can actually take the perfect cup. If one can age coffee, what else can one do with coffee?

Espresso + Chocolate = A Match Made In Heaven

If you own a coffee shop, love entertaining coffee loving guests, or are an avid coffee lover yourself, your love of coffee may not stop at the actual cup. You may fancy coffee, sweets, desserts and even art made of coffee!

We were scouring the net for new ways to use coffee in desserts and came to think of American chocolate chip cookies, because who can resist those gooey indulgent masterpieces? If they are done right they are irresistable to most! The problem is that they aren’t always done right and instead of a gooey masterpiece you end up with …a brittle, hard cookie that tastes too much of sugar and too little of everything else. So we challenged ourselves to find a recipe that did the cookie justice and sprang to mind as Heidi rarely fails to bring out the best of anything. And low and behold she has a Triple Chocolate Espresso Bean Cookie Recipe and to make things even better Heidi only uses whole foods ingredients. No nasties in other words. She even uses wholemeal pastry flour, which, she explains, is as light as normal pastry flour.

So below you find Heidi’s recipe for indulgent, out of this world, American Triple Chocolate Espresso Bean Cookies (she warns you may want to try the dough as you are making them, but as it contains raw eggs, we recommend you wash the eggs before use in that case as salmonella often is found on the outside of the eggs and only use eggs from a trusted farmer. Otherwise you simply have to wait to taste till they come out of the oven…).

Recipe From Heidi:

2 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons freshly ground espresso powder

3/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda

3/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

3/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

1/2 cup natural cocoa or cacao powder (Scharffen Berger or Dagoba), not dutched

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (soft to the touch)

2 cups fine-grain natural granulated sugar (evaporated cane sugar) – for example, I love    Alter-eco brand, OR do 1 1/2 cups sugar + 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

8 ounces chocolate covered espresso beans

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Assemble dry ingredients: In a medium bowl whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cacao powder. Set aside.

Assemble the wet ingredients: In a big bowl or with an electric mixer beat the butter until it is fluffy and lightens a bit in colour. Now beat in the sugar – it should have a thick frosting-like consistency. Mix in the eggs one at a time, making sure the first egg gets incorporated before adding the next. You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice as well. Add the vanilla and mix until it is incorporated.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients: Add the dry ingredients to the wet mix in about four waves. Stir a bit between each addition until the flour is just incorporated. You could add all the flour at once, but it tends to explode up and out of the mixing bowl and all over me every time I do that. At this point you should have a moist, brown dough that is uniform in colour. Stir in the espresso beans and chocolate chips by hand and mix only until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Drop the cookies onto baking sheets: I like to make these cookies medium in size (they are rich!) – and use roughly one heaping tablespoons of dough for each one. I leave the dough balls rough and raggy looking – I never roll them into perfect balls or anything like that – this way each cookie will have a bit of unique personality.

Place the cookies in the oven: Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes on the middle rack. You don’t want to over bake these cookies at all or they will really dry out. If anything, under bake them just a bit. When they are done, pull them out to cool.

Tip: If you don’t want to bake all the cookies at one once you can freeze some of the dough for quick cookies later. Instead of placing the cookies in the oven put the cookie dough balls into a freezer-quality plastic bag and toss them in the freezer. You can bake straight from the freezer at a later date, up the baking time by a couple minutes to compensate for the frozen dough.

Big Batch: 2-3 dozen chunky, medium cookies.