Cookies. Holidays. Coffee. So much yes!
Last year I did a recipe for Chemex gingerbread cookies, and coffee cookies seemed like an excellent theme to continue for the holiday season this year. Truth be told, it’s hard to go above and beyond Chemex cookies—because come on, Chemex—but when I found this recipe for next level rolled out sugar cookies, I knew that a coffee rendition was the only inevitable next step.
This recipe is a slight adaptation on one from Stella Parks, a pastry chef over at Serious Eats. Why is this recipe perfect for specialty coffee lovers? Because it’s a little geeky.
First of all, sugar cookies are based on ratios; just like coffee brewing! This one is a little heavier on the sugar, because, holidays. Sugar cookies are in fact all about basic food chemistry, and while most sugar cookies just incorporate butter, Parks’s recipe goes a little above and beyond. As Parks writes, “instead of butter alone, I use a bit of coconut oil, too. Butter contains water, so cutting it with coconut fat lowers the water content of the dough, upping the richness of the cookies, and thereby improving their shelf life—an essential quality for make-ahead cookies destined for gifting and care packages.”
Add a little bit of coffee grounds and you’re one step closer to coffee sugar cookie bliss.
Then comes the question of icing. I do a basic powdered sugar and brewed coffee combination, then add ground coffee to it depending on what color I want (less ground coffee for a lighter brown, more for a darker shade). The end result is a sugary, caffeinated hit. Everything you ever needed to get yourself through the holidays.
You can of course go out and buy a coffee cookie cutter, or you can DIY like I do, by making a stencil out of paper. I made two versions, one in the more traditional coffee mug form and the other in an espresso cup.
Coffee Sugar Cookies
8 tablespoons (4 ounces, 113 grams) salted butter, room temperature
8 tablespoons (3.5 ounces, 100 grams) coconut oil, firm but creamy
1 cup (7 ounces, 200 grams) natural cane sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon finely ground coffee
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 ½ cups (12.5 ounces, 355 grams) organic all purpose flour, plus more for rolling out cookies
½ cup (2 ounces, 60 grams) organic powdered sugar
1 ½ to 2 teaspoons brewed coffee
For light-dark coffee icing: base icing recipe plus ½ teaspoon finely ground coffee
For dark coffee icing: base icing recipe plus 1 ½ teaspoons finely ground coffee (you may need to add just a touch more water to get the right consistency)
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, coconut oil, and sugar. One note: a lot of people own stand mixers. I am one of those people who don’t. But it doesn’t stop me from baking, it just means creaming the butter, coconut oil, sugar, and egg by hand. This is totally doable, but be sure to cream nice and vigorously. You want a smooth batter not a porous one. If you are doing this by hand, you need to be extra careful about starting with softened coconut oil—you don’t want any hard clumps in the batter.
In a small bowl, lightly whisk an egg then add it to the butter mixture. Add the vanilla extract and coffee grounds and cream all the ingredients together until smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine the baking powder, baking soda, and flour. Mix together, then add to the butter mixture. Mix together until a dough forms. Roll into a log, cover, and chill.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a baking sheet.
Roll out the dough on a generously floured surface until about ¼-inch thick. Using a cookie cutter or a paper stencil and a knife, cut out cookies in the shape of coffee cups. Using a spatula, carefully transfer to the greased baking sheet.
Bake for about 12 minutes. If you want crispier cookies, bake a little longer until golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a flat surface.
Let cool completely before icing.
To make the icing place the powdered sugar in a bowl and add in the coffee slowly. You want a thick icing, not runny, and it’s easy to add more coffee than it is to add more powdered sugar. Once it’s a firm but spreadable consistency, place the icing in a pastry bag, or if you are like most normal people (myself included) and don’t own one, do the plastic bag trick: spoon the icing in a Ziploc bag and push it down to one corner. Cut a tiny piece of the corner off so that you can push the icing out. Details on how to do this can be found here. It’s not the most eco-friendly version, but hey, you’re only making these once a year! You may need a few batches of this icing to ice all of your cookies; make them all in different shades of brown so you can decorate like the finest of holiday cookie decorators.
Store the cookies in an airtight container. Munch happily and pair with a delicious cup of your favorite coffee. Happy holidays from all of us at Sprudge!