These fantastic coffee walnut cookies are really easy to make. The buttery flavor comes at you first, then the sweet and slight bite of the ground coffee hits. The walnut makes everything flow together beautifully.
What makes this recipe even better is that the dough can be made well ahead of when you want to bake the cookies — it keeps for three days in the fridge or up to three months in the freezer. So you can make a roll of dough and then bake only as many cookies as you feel like having, so they are always fresh.
But perhaps the very best part about these cookies is that they are even tastier a day or two after they're baked, which means they are an easy and delightful gift to give out at holidays or to bring to parties. Their simplicity and amazing flavor makes them perfect if you want to impress folks at a party or give as a fancy gift, but are pressed for time and want to keep things simple. So bookmark this recipe for the holiday season!
I made this recipe using fair trade coffee from a small fair trade roaster called Empty Pockets, a company kind enough to send me a sample of their wares. The company is run by the husband-and-wife team Wyatt Cavalier and Grace Carter.
Empty Pockets Coffee states, "All our fair trade coffees are rated in the top 10 percent of coffees worldwide (not just the top 10 percent of fair trade coffees). Fairtrade coffee means our growers get a set minimum price on top of a Fairtrade premium, and this helps them invest in their — and their farms’ — futures. Knowing this about the things we buy — whether wine, chocolate, chorizo, or, yes, coffee—makes it all taste just a bit sweeter."
I can attest that Empty Pockets coffee tastes amazing. Living in San Francisco with easy access to some phenomenal coffee roasters like Blue Bottle, Four Barrel, and Ritual Roasters, I've become pretty picky about how my coffee tastes. If Empty Pockets distributed to the U.S., I'd probably drink it every day. Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for U.K. residents) they're based across the pond, in London, so we don't get their coffee in the U.S. But they have free delivery in the U.K.
For this recipe, you can use any coffee you like, though I highly recommend you first, stick with fair trade (and better yet, shade-grown fair trade) and second, stick with light or medium roasts. Make sure it's good quality coffee, and that you aren't using some stale or instant stuff. Just like when cooking with wine — if you won't drink it on its own, don't use it for cooking.
This recipe is adapted from Serious Eats.
Total time: 30 minutes (plus 2 hours to chill the dough)
Yields: 18-20 cookies
- 1 cup all purpose flour (I used Authentic Foods Multi-Blend Flour to make these gluten-free.)
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 6 tablespoons raw cane sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 heaping teaspoon freshly ground coffee beans
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
- Combine the flour, walnuts, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until the walnuts are finely ground. Next, add the ground coffee and pulse until blended into the mixture.
- Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is damp and crumbly. Add the vanilla extract and pulse until the dough begins to clump up around the blade. If the dough is still too crumbly, drizzle in a little cold water until it sticks together but is not wet.
- Remove the dough and press it into a ball with your hands. Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper and roll it out until it is two inches in diameter. Press the ends of the roll to square them off, then tightly wrap the rolled dough in the parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for at least two hours to chill.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dough from the fridge. Slice into 1/4-inch rounds. If the dough crumbles as you slice, just let it sit for a minute or two to soften slightly. Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spaced about an inch apart. Press a whole coffee bean into the center of each cookie.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half way through so the cookies brown evenly. When the cookies are golden brown, remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet for about 1 minute. Remove them from the sheet and allow them to finish cooling on a wire rack.