Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Chocolate Espresso Almond Shortbread Cookies -- #recipe @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ; One of the delights of
traveling to meet readers and talk about my books is eating the food. It’s research. After my signing at Seattle Mystery Bookshop in June, my BFF Lita and I dashed through the rain to the Grand Central building in Pioneer Square. In the Grand Central Arcade, we shared a delicious sandwich and salad from the Grand Central Bakery, but restrained ourselves from the Chocolate Almond Shortbread.

The regret kicked in almost immediately.

So like any good cookie monster, I went searching online. This recipe comes from The Kitchen Paper, and I haven’t varied it much – just clarified what chocolate to use and revised the instructions – although my yield was about double what the posted recipe predicted. Go figure that. I don’t think the version we spotted in the bakery included espresso, but darn, that was a yummy addition. Mr. Right thought it made these breakfast cookies, and I’m certainly not going to disagree.

These froze well, even with the chocolate drizzle. There is no substitute for picking up each cookie and using a teaspoon to spread chocolate on one corner of the cookie – trying to drizzle the chocolate on a plate of cookies just creates a mess and wastes chocolate. Avoid that sin!

Think of them as a little trip to a city well known for its love of coffee and its chocolate makers.

When we gathered Around the Kitchen Table last month, Krista said she combats kitchen messes by setting out a clean plate, knife, and spoon when she bakes. I tried it. You see what happened.


Chocolate Almond Espresso Cookies

2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons boiling water
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate

Pour the coffee powder into a small bowl or measuring cup, add the hot water, and stir until dissolved. Set aside.

Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the food processor. Pulse until fully combined.

Add the butter, cubed, the roughly chopped almonds, and the espresso mixture, and pulse until the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (I use a bamboo cutting board) and shape it with your hands. Cut the ball in half. Place one half on a sheet of waxed paper or plastic wrap, and form into a log about 2" in diameter. Roll, twist the ends to seal, and repeat with the other log. Refrigerate about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350. Slice the log ¼” thick, and bake 16-18 minutes, until the bottoms of the cookies begin to turn golden, but not the tops.

Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

When cooled, melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cookies with a teaspoon.

Makes about 4 dozen. The cookies freeze well, drizzled or naked. 

From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 8, 2017):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. Ooh, yum--they look good! I will say that I have trouble finding instant espresso coffee these days. But I can see that the coffee flavoring would make a difference here.

    1. Sheila, I used an instant dark roast we had, and honestly, I think you could substitute 2 T of strong espresso for the powder and water just fine. But the topic of hard-to-find ingredients could be another Table Talk!

  2. That sounds like a wonderful cookie! I love chocolate and coffee so you have hit some favorite ingredients for me.

  3. Oh, wicked good!
    Coffee and chocolate is the ultimate marriage made in heaven. At least according to my taste buds!

    "When cooled, melt the and drizzle over the cookies with a teaspoon." I think you left out the chocolate here.

    1. I must have eaten the chocolate. :) Omission corrected -- thanks!

  4. The cookies look so yummy, and easy! Coffee and chocolate is my favorite combo. The cookies need coffee for dunking! ( another excellent pairing is Nutella on toast with a layer of orange marmalade! Also served with a strong cup of coffee!)

    1. And Nutella would be fun on these cookies, too! Thanks, Kathleen!

  5. Love chocolate and coffee together. Sometimes I munch a few chocolate chips while finishing my coffee. Yum. Also, a thought for those readers who choose to be gluten free. Substitute almond meal for the flour. Healthier? Use coconut sugar in place of regular sugar. Sounds like I should try them. Do you think regular dark coffee would add the same "kick"?

    1. Jane, I do think a couple of tablespoons of a strong, dark roast would work fine. I haven't baked with almond flour and wonder how it would "take" with the other ingredients. Daryl is our resident expert on gluten-free baking, and she often uses a mix of other flours -- you can scroll through her posts and see the mix pretty easily. That might be your best bet.