In case you’re wondering about the name of this cakey, chewy-edged cookie, which nearly explodes through its sugary crust, it’s a nod to a coffee bar creation in which a shot of espresso tops off a cup of masala chai, the Indian spiced tea. It’s right at home on a traditional holiday cookie plate, thanks to its festive cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves. Feel free to add a little freshly grated nutmeg, if you’re so inclined. A strong coffee flavor adds nuance; black pepper lends a spicy kick; and malted milk powder, browned butter and brown sugar all contribute toasty warm notes to this craveable treat.
- YIELD 2 dozen cookies
- TIME 45 minutes, plus chilling
- 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso (not instant espresso) or finely ground coffee
- ½ cup/115 grams cold unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 2 cups/255 grams all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons malted milk powder, such as Carnation brand
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup/165 grams light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
- ¼ cup/50 grams granulated sugar, for rolling
- ½ cup/50 grams confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for rolling
- Put espresso or coffee in a small metal bowl. Put butter in a small saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, swirling and stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until nutty brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the butter to the bowl with the espresso and stir to combine. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of the cookie.
- Combine the flour, malted milk powder, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine thoroughly and set aside.
- Combine eggs and light brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined and slightly paler, about 3 minutes, scraping bowl as needed.
- Add the vanilla and the butter mixture, then mix on low speed until combined. Add the flour mixture, then mix again on low until combined. Transfer dough to a resealable glass or plastic container, and chill thoroughly, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar into two separate bowls. Use a small cookie scoop to portion dough into heaping tablespoons (about 25 grams each). Roll into smooth balls and drop a few at a time into the bowl of granulated sugar, rolling to coat. Transfer to the bowl with the confectioners’ sugar. Roll gently, coating well, then transfer to a parchment- or silicone mat-lined baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between cookies. Place in freezer until firm, about 10 minutes.
- Bake until cookies are golden underneath but still quite tender (they will firm up as they cool), 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheets and transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week.