Chocolate Espresso Snowballs

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I used to be an avid baker. I would bake something sweet at least once a week because I refuse to buy grocery store cookies and cakes because they all taste horrible. Once I started working at a bakery in March, I stopped baking. Almost everything we make at work is better than anything I could ever do, so it became a lot easier for me to just pick up some cupcakes for a party rather than bake my own. There are also those days when I can’t stand to even look at another cookie once I walk out of those doors. Now that the holidays are upon us, I feel like my love of baking has come back in full force. The bakery I work at creates really beautiful baked goods, but it makes me miss the homemade taste and look of my own kitchen. I spend all day tossing cupcakes that are slightly smooshed or cookies that are a little brown. But when I come home and bake, I embrace those imperfections rather than criticizing them. It’s those imperfections that let my family know I made these goodies with my own two hands rather than just taking the easy way out. Even though I love small businesses and family-owned bakeries, I strongly encourage everyone to bake something yourself this Christmas. Your family will love it so much more than anything from a store, I promise!

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But anywho, enough about me. These cookies are the bomb. They’re a riff on traditional Italian Wedding Cookies. I took a boring and predictable cookie and punched it up with strong coffee and chocolate flavors. The chocolate isn’t overly sweet and the espresso isn’t too bitter. You’re left with a well balanced and crunchy cookie that’s perfect with coffee and milk. Since they are a harder cookie, they’ll travel well no matter where you go this holiday season. They also freeze beautifully. I made one dozen to enjoy now and set aside 2 dozen to  freeze for Christmas. To freeze, just place the cooled cookies (do not powder them!) into a large ziploc and remove all of the air. Then store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, take the bag out of the freezer and pour some confectioners sugar inside. Zip it back up and toss the cookies in the sugar as they’re defrosting. It couldn’t be any easier!

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Chocolate Espresso Snowballs

Adapted from Food & Wine

Makes about 3 Dozen

  • 2 sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • confectioners sugar for coating

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.Combine the butter, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, and espresso powder in a large bowl. Mix the ingredients until light and fluffy using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. Add the flour in 1/4 cup increments until the flour is thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans. Cover and refrigerate the dough for half an hour.

2. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets using the butter wrappers from earlier. Gently roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place them about 2 inches apart from each other on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are dry and slightly firm to the touch and the bottoms have begun to brown. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Once the cookies are cool, coat with powdered sugar. Enjoy with family and friends over a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.

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