As I write this I should be working on like...at least three other assignments for work and school. This semester has been a BUSY ONE, and I feel like I've spent the bulk of it just playing catch up. And while all the late nights and early mornings have been totally worth it, sometimes I just want to kick back, take a break, and make some cookies. Well, kick back, take a break, make some cookies, and ALSO watch the 10+ shows with 2.5 episodes each that have collected on my DVR list.
Can we talk about being busy for a second? It's kind of a blessing and a curse, isn't it? On the one hand, I certainly remember a time when I had nothing BUT time; I had one idea of where I wanted to go career-wise, and I would get so close, but no dice. Then I would cry (we're getting real today) and wonder why I couldn't get the same opportunities that other people were getting, even though I wanted them. It's only now, several years later, that I've started to think about why I wasn't getting those opportunities. Plainly, it was because they were not meant for me. See, I understand now that that wasn't where I was supposed to go in life. If I had done some of those things then I would never have gotten to come back to the east coast, I would have never gone back to school, and i would never have been open to the opportunities that I have now. And going forward, I understand that I'm just not meant to have everything that's coming my way, and I must, MUST be okay with that. Because ultimately, it means that somewhere down the line the things that I'm supposed to do will be there waiting for me. So even when I feel like I can barely keep my eyes open, and that I haven't had much of a social life in months, I never let myself complain about it. Because Heaven knows I know what it's like to not be busy.
LOL OK, let's talk about cookies now.
Here's something else I've learned about myself over the years: there are flavors I hate by themselves, but looooove when they're in other things: coffee is one of them. I've never really been a coffee drinker. I'm not sure if it's because my parents weren't super keen on me drinking it growing up, or I just didn't have a taste for it. Aside from the occasional cup at brunch in the city, I can pretty much take or leave the stuff. The flavor of coffee, on the other hand, is a totally different story. I like my espresso powder in cakes, truffles, cookies, and ice cream. If I make anything with chocolate, in goes some espresso powder. I am a forever fan of the flavor of coffee,
As you may well know, baking for people is my move. I have won hearts, made friends, and mended fences through the power of baking. I recently started a job that I really like, in a field that I really love, and as soon as the time was right, I decided to fire up the oven and feed the people who I would one day like to call new friends. And what is the main component of any office setting? Coffee of course! But I had a bit of a problem: most of my go-to coffee-flavored desserts were designed to be eaten immediately, and I was looking at a "make overnight, travel by train, and serve mid-morning the next day" type of situation. Whatever I made had to travel well and improve with time. On top of that, I was faced with the added challenge of two counts of tree nut allergies! Luckily, Dorie Greenspan had my back in the form of a recipe her in cookbook Dorie's Cookies, and together she and I (meaning me, talking to pages of a cookbook) decided that the coffee-malt cookies I had bookmarked would totally fit the bill.
Here's a fun story: this recipe calls for "malted milk powder." In the recipe introduction Dorie assures the reader that malted milk powder is a common household ingredient and that it should be in any grocery store. I'd never seen it before, but of course, that didn't mean that the local Stop & Shop, with its shelves jam-packed with foods wouldn't carry it, right? Right. So off I went with no real contingency plan if I couldn't find the key ingredient in cookies that I absolutely had to get right (and also show UP with since I'd had to notify people ahead of time that cookies were due to arrive to their stations first thing Monday morning). Up and down and up and down the baking aisle I went, frantically scanning each shelf, picking things up, and putting them back. Absolutely nowhere did I find the malted milk powder. I found MILK POWDER, and hoped and prayed that they were the same but alas, they were not. Eventually I flagged someone down. Perhaps he could sense my desperation (mixed with frustration) and ran off to be my hero and find the malted milk powder. And at last! He ushered me to the COFFEE AND TEA AISLE (of all places) where the malted milk powder was actually OVALTINE. Back on track, I thanked him and was on my way.
These cookies are insanely easy to make. You're basically just throwing all the ingredients together and mixing; definitely my kind of recipe when I'm in a hurry. The edges are crispy, but the cookies are nice and chewy in the center. The espresso flavor is strong with a subtle hit of vanilla from the Ovaltine. One nice thing about coffee-flavored desserts is that you can almost (I said ALMOST) pass them off as a breakfast item. Which, I'd like to add, is kind of what these ended up being since I couldn't stop myself from racing over to serve them first thing at 9:00 am.
And how did it go, you ask? At the end of the day my ten cookies turned into two, and I got lots of appreciative smiles. Baked goods work every time.
What You'll Need:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup original Ovaltine (malted milk powder)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground coffee (I like Cafe Bustelo)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Position the racks in your oven into thirds and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, Ovaltine, and baking powder. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer with the paddle tool attached (or a hand mixer, or a wooden spoon), beat the butter, sugars, ground coffee, and salt together on medium speed until well-mixed. If any of the mixture has made its way to the sides of the bowl, scrape it down using a rubber spatula. Return the mixer to medium speed and add the egg and egg yolk one at a time, making sure each addition has been mixed in well before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla.
Now it's time to add the dry ingredients. Make sure the mixer is off, then add the dry ingredients all at once, and set the mixer to low. Keep an eagle eye on it; you don't want to over-mix. Wait until the dry ingredients have been completely into the dough, then shut off the mixer. To make sure your dough is well put-together, give it a few turns in the bowl using a rubber spatula.
Using a cookie scoop or a teaspoon measuring spoon, scoop out and level portions of the dough. Roll out the dough into balls using the palms of your hands, then place the balls an inch apart on the lined cookie sheets.
Bake the cookies for 14 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets from top to bottom rack and from front to back at the halfway mark. These are the type of cookies that continue to firm up outside of the oven, so don't be alarmed if only the edges are brown and the cookies look undone.
Transfer the cookie sheets to wire racks to cool for about ten minutes before lifting them off the sheets and letting them rest on the racks until they are completely cool.
To store: These cookies can be kept in airtight containers for up to 3 days.
SOURCE: Dorie's Cookies