Why This Recipe Works
Some of the best desserts feature coffee—think coffee ice cream and tiramisù. Coffee is also frequently paired with chocolate for a mocha flavor, but we've never seen it take a starring role in a cookie recipe. We wanted the coffee flavor in our cookies to be front and center, so we started with the strong stuff: espresso. Instant espresso powder gave our cookies a double shot of coffee flavor without adding excess moisture; we found that a full 2 tablespoons of espresso powder were necessary to satisfy our java craving. Only 1 tablespoon of hot water was needed to dissolve the espresso before whisking it into the melted butter (since espresso is water-soluble, it wouldn't effectively dissolve in just the warm butter). Surprisingly, coffee-flavored liqueur added neither flavor nor complexity to our cookies, but vanilla extract helped balance and soften the espresso's potent kick. The addition of toffee bits contributed buttery, caramel notes and a welcome texture to our cookies without overshadowing the coffee flavor.
Makes 24 cookies
You can substitute espresso granules for the espresso powder; however, they might not dissolve as readily in the water. These cookies taste great at room temperature, but they're best when served still warm from the oven.
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon hot water
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1¼ cups (8¾ ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup toffee bits
1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in bowl.
2. Whisk espresso powder and water in large bowl until espresso dissolves, then whisk in melted butter and sugar until incorporated. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Using rubber spatula, gently stir in flour mixture until soft dough forms; fold in toffee bits.
3. Working with 2 tablespoons dough at a time, roll into balls and space them 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Bake until edges are set but centers are still soft and puffy, about 16 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 10 minutes. Serve warm or transfer to wire rack and let cool completely before serving.