Where do you get your inspiration from? For baking, my inspiration comes from a lot of different places. Sometimes it's Foodgawker, or another baking blog I follow and admire (cough, Joy the Baker, cough). Often I'm inspired by a sudden craving (and if these cravings usually hit during class, at the gym, or in yoga class, well...I'm not admitting anything). But sometimes inspiration comes from the most obvious of sources: convenience. You would with what you've got.
The campus coffee shop features a different snack each week. This week's snack was chocolate covered coffee beans. I love chocolate covered coffee beans. But I don't come across them all that often! It's sad. Obviously, I snatched up a bag. (Ok, it was two.)
Munching on them the other afternoon, my thoughts started wandering instead of doing what they were supposed to: studying for my biopsychology test (yiiiiiiiikes). Inspiration doesn't always strike at opportune moments. And it usually - for me, anyway - comes when you're doing something else. There's a lesson in there somewhere, probably. But we can dwell on that later. Maybe during biopsych on Monday morning.
Anyway, my wandering thoughts wandered straight into an idea. A beautiful, crunchy, chocolate covered idea. Why not make chocolate chip cookies only use the chocolate covered coffee beans instead of chocolate chips?
Why not indeed.
I immediately ceased my snacking (and definitely got straight back to work, yes, of course) so that I would have plenty of coffee beans left to fill cookies with. In the end, I had plenty, but I still decided to supplement them with some good old fashioned chocolate chips. Just for good measure ;)
I love how these turned out. The chocolate shell of the coffee bean gets soft in the baking process, like a chocolate chip, but the bean inside gives the cookie an unexpected crunch and a small burst of bitterness to counterbalance the chocolate's sweetness. It's harmony, pure and simple.
I love these cookies...but I will admit one caveat: If you don't like coffee, these are probably not going to be your cookies. Buuuuttttt if you live with/know some coffee drinkers, you can totally make these cookies for them, and then just eat around the coffee beans. Or! Replace the coffee beans with chocolate covered raisons. There ya go. You're all set.
Chocolate Covered Coffee Bean Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon molasses
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate covered coffee beans + 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Brown 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon of butter. Once butter is browned, remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool slightly.
In a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the other stick of butter with the granulated sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and molasses and beat until incorporated. Add the slightly cooled brown butter and the brown sugar and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk and mix until fully incorporated.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add all at once to the butter mixture and mix on low until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scoop dough into balls using a small cookie scoop and place 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
Adapted from Joy the Baker's cookbook