It’s officially holiday baking season! Well, I guess it has been for a couple weeks now, but I’m just starting to get into it.
Every year, I make the same standby Christmas cookies. There are a few I just can’t live without, including these ginger snaps. It’s just not Christmas without them. Other staples include sugar cookies and my mom’s chocolate crisps. Those three cookies must happen every year.
I also add a new cookie to the rotation every year. A Christmas cookie wildcard, as it were. Sometimes it’s a chocolate-peppermint situation or a lemon cookie or even a fun brownie if I’m feeling really wild and crazy.
This year, it’s these peanut butter espresso fudge cookies.
Read that title again. Peanut butter. Espresso. Fudge. Cookies.
Is there anything else you need in life? Not me. These cookies are a chocolate lover’s dream. A chocolate-peanut butter lover’s dream. AND a coffee-lover’s dream. I fall into all three of those categories, so obviously, this recipe was meant to be.
They are the perfect mix of crunchy, crumbly, fudgy, and chewy. They’re dense with chocolate flavor and go swimmingly with a cup of afternoon (or morning) coffee. They’re rich and sweet but not too sweet, which I love. It means I can eat more of them!
Dan is a big fan of double chocolate cookies, as in cookies that have cocoa powder in the dough and chocolate chunks mixed in. Every time I make a cookie like this, he loses his mind over them. I’ve made a couple variations of such cookies over the years, and without fail each time, he goes bonkers for them. Declares them the best cookies of all time.
Until I make him the next variation, of course.
This variation involves peanut butter, and it’s a known fact that my husband might be the most chocolate-peanut-butter-obsessed person on the planet. I’ve talked about this many times (just search “chocolate peanut butter” on the site). He cannot get enough.
Which may explain why these cookies disappeared in a matter of days, and I only had one or two of them. Every time I would walk into the kitchen, Dan would have his hand in the container of cookies. LITERALLY caught with his hand in the cookie jar! The tell-tale chocolate crumbs around his mouth and guilty grin that would spread slowly across his face didn’t help his case, either.
Because it’s the holidays, I’ll allow it.
PS: I put together a video of this recipe (my first one! Be kind!) to show you how easily they come together. My hope is to start making more recipe videos over time. This one is a very raw first attempt, but I’m pleased with how it came together!
14 oz semisweet chocolate chips, divided
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
⅓ cup chocolate-covered espresso beans
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine salt
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
Preheat the oven to 300°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a heat-safe bowl, place 6 oz of the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter. Heat in the microwave in 15-second increments, stirring after each session, or until the chocolate is melted and smooth (alternatively, you can melt the chocolate mixture in a double boiler). Set aside to cool slightly.
Place the espresso beans in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place in a large bowl.
To the espresso beans, add the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
To the melted and cooled chocolate-butter mixture, whisk in the sugar, eggs, water, and vanilla until very smooth.
Add the dry ingredients in batches, folding and stirring after each addition. Finally, stir in the remaining 8 oz of chocolate chips.
Using a cookie scoop, measure out 1-tablespoon sized balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2-3 inches between each cookie.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the cookies are puffed and the tops are slightly cracked. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.
Adapted from here.