At first, I was insulted. Honestly insulted. What, I don’t look like I can get down my coffee with a treat? Oh, really. But then, never one to say no to sugar, I ate a cookie. One bite, and it was gone. Washed down with good coffee. And, oh wait. Let me dip that other cookie, so that an edge of the shortbread melts just a little, heavy with milky roast. Oh, the sparkling sugar is slowly falling off. Wait, are you going to eat your cookie?
So, although it would seem wholly logical for everything to be improved with the addition of a cookie, a free cookie for that matter, I was unaware. Until I received those two little shortbreads on my saucer. And yes, I can say that a little bite-sized cookie surprise with your coffee is an improvement. Enough so that I made a batch, and now have delicious Brown-Butter shortbreads daily.
An excuse to eat more cookies? Yes. Delicious cookies in their own right? Oh, most definitely. Bite-sized, fat-laden heaven. The perfect marriage for a good cup of coffee?
Oh, yea. And apparently a cookie with your coffee is a tradition, in the better-informed parts of the world.
One of the few times I’ll curse the granola-filled ways of California. Not enough deep fryers, not enough cookies.
Coffee Cookies (Brown Butter Shortbread)
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, browned and cooled to room temperature
½ cup (1 stick), unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
½ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 generous pinch kosher salt
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
1. To brown ½ cup butter, place in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt and then continue to cook until butter solid have just begun to toast and turn brown. Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a glass or metal bowl, letting cool before using.
2. Cream together butters and sugar until well combined. Add vanilla, flour and salt, stirring until just combined. Shape into a disk and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment. On a lightly floured surface, roll the shortbread out to about ¼ inch in thickness. Using a 1” diameter cookie cutter (a shot-glass, for the most practical) cut out the shortbread rounds. There will be approximately 40-50 cookies. Place on lined baking sheets and refrigerate the rounds for 10 minutes. This is important because it allows the cookies to retain their shape while baking. After chilling, brush the cookies with the whipping cream and sprinkle with the sparkling sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges have begun to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature and store, sealed, for up to seven days.