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Mocha Cookies with Butter-Toasted Almonds and Chocolate Chips

Mocha cookies resized

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter for toasting the almonds, plus 2 sticks, softened, for the cookie batter
  • 1 slightly rounded cup sliced blanched almonds
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 ¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine table salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 slightly rounded teaspoons instant espresso, crushed on wax paper to a powder
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs, made tepid by steeping in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes
  • 1 ½ cups (firmly packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 generous tablespoon Lyle’s Golden Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces chocolate chunks or chips (dark, semi-sweet or bittersweet)

To toast the almonds: Line a plate with doubled paper towels and sit next to the stove. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch skillet, over medium heat. Add the almonds and continue to cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the nuts are golden and very fragrant, taking care not to allow them to burn. Pour the almonds, along with any surrounding butter onto the prepared paper towels and sprinkle the top with some salt and set aside to cool.

To make the cookie batter: Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, powdered espresso and cocoa powder and then sift into another bowl. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a bowl and a wooden spoon), cream 2 sticks softened butter with the brown sugar and the syrup until homogenous. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and, once incorporated, turn off the machine. With the machine turned off, add the dry mixture and then mix on low until almost combined. Lift the paper towels holding the nuts and pour them into the mixing bowl along with the chocolate chips and mix well. Stop the machine and, using a large, sturdy rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and around the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any residual film the butter and sugar mixture. At this point you can go directly into baking or divide the cookie batter between long, doubled sheets of plastic wrap and form cylinders that can then be wrapped in foil, labeled and frozen for 2 months. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight before proceeding.

To set up to bake: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 or 3 cushioned cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place a couple of wire racks on your counter.

To bake: If using a room temperature cookie batter, use a cookie scoop to place uniform rounds on the parchment lined baking sheets, allowing 2 inches between each mound. If using a log of chilled cookie batter, allow the log to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes, just to soften a bit. Cut the log into 1 ½ inch chunks (I use a ruler) and place on the parchment. Bake in the preheated oven for 9 to 12 minutes, taking care not to over-bake the cookies. (Baking time will depend largely on the temperature of the batter and also the size of your mounds.) When done, the edges will seem firm and the very center will be soft. Cool the cookies on their baking sheets and then transfer them to a platter or a cookie jar. Store at room temperature, in an airtight container.

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