Monday, December 8, 2014

Coffee Walnut Shortbread Cookies

I started off cookie baking season with a few completely new and different varieties. I wanted to bring some treats to a meeting, and I knew several of the people attending avoid eating gluten. Luckily, I had a review copy of Alice Medrich’s latest book, Flavor Flours, to use for inspiration. Medrich set out to experiment with flours like rice, oat, corn, sorghum, teff, buchwheat, coconut, and nut flours to discover new flavor combinations, and all of the recipes in the book are gluten-free. Unlike other gluten-free recipes that involve mixes of several flours and starches, these recipes mostly stay true to one type of flour at a time. There’s a chapter for each flour, and the recipes highlight the flavor, texture, and aroma of that flour. The New Classic Boston Cream Pie is made with layers of corn flour chiffon and a pastry cream that incorporates rice flour rather than wheat flour. I’ll definitely try this soon since Boston Cream Pie is Kurt’s most favorite dessert ever and also because the light corn flour chiffon and super silky pastry cream promise to be better than the original versions. The Carrot Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting with rice and oat flours is another updated classic I want to try. The Savory Corn Sticks that are sprinkled with smoky paprika would be great with a cocktail, and the Panforte Nero with buckwheat flour, cocoa powder, and spices sounds like an ideal addition to a cheese course. The Chestnut Jam Tart was the first recipe I tried since it was described as a “simpler-to-make linzer torte.” It’s a sturdy tart that can be cut into small servings that are easy to pick up and eat with your hands. The crust comes together in record time once you have chestnut flour of course. I was determined to locate it, and thankfully one of our newest Whole Foods Austin locations was able to special order it for me. The dough was pressed into a tart pan and was topped with strawberry jam and then sliced almonds and bits of reserved crust dough. The added flavor from the chestnut flour was lovely with the jam and nuts. I also made the Brown Sugar Pecan Nutty Thumbprints. The dough is a puree of pecans, sugar, brown sugar, salt, and an egg. It’s a very sticky dough, but once chilled it was easy to shape into balls to be baked. The balls flatten a bit as they bake. When removed from the oven, indentations were pressed into the cookies, and they were filled with jam. Pecans and brown sugar is a pretty perfect pairing. Last but certainly not least, I tried the sorghum flour shortbread cookies shown here. 

The Coffee and Walnut cookie is a variation on the Salted Peanut Shorties in the book. The dough was made by pulsing walnuts, finely ground coffee beans, and salt with sorghum flour, rice flour, and sugar in a food processor. Chunks of butter and cream cheese along with a splash of bourbon, vanilla, and one of water were added, and the mixture was processed until it formed a smooth dough. The dough was shaped into a log on parchment paper, and I added a step to the process here. I chopped some additional walnuts, added a little more finely ground coffee and some demerara sugar, and rolled the dough log in the nutty mixture. The dough was then wrapped and chilled overnight. The next day, one quarter-inch rounds were cut and baked until golden on the edges. 

It’s no secret that I love the flavor of coffee in sweets and that I love baking with various types of flour. This cookie was sure to be a hit with me. The shortbread is tender and crumbly in the best way, and the coffee balances the sweetness. It’s going to be fun to bring new additions to my bins of various flours and bake more treats with all their unique flavors. 

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19 comments:

  1. I love the use of sorghum and rice in these nutty holiday treats, Lisa. They look scrumptious.

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  2. Delicious cookies! This is such a great combination of flavors. Heavenly!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. Shortbread is always a favorite at our house! Served with a cup of hot chocolate the Coffee Walnut Shortbread is a fabulous holiday cookie that everyone can enjoy.

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  4. These do look wonderful. I can imagine they would be very good with a cup of coffee. They certainly do look very buttery. I always like to make shortbread at Christmas time and this is a great version xx

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  5. I love shortbread! Its texture is just so nice. The flavors in this look wonderful -- terrific cookie. Thanks.

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  6. A golden and delicious cookie recipe, I love the combo of walnut and coffee together! Time for hot chocolate :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  7. Lisa, your shortbread look amazing! I have Alice Medrich's new book and have been itching to dive in. Maybe this is where I should start!
    Wishing you and yours very happy holidays,
    xoxo
    E

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  8. This shortbread looks delicious - I really like the flavor combination you've used!

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  9. I made coffee and walnut combination cookies last year. The idea of rolling the log in that nutty mixture is so cool and makes them look so pretty and gives one an idea of whats inside these cookies. Pinning these right away.

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  10. so thoughtful of you to accommodate the gluten-free folks! i've never heard of ground coffee in a cookie recipe, but i'm on board! i like what you rolled them in, too!

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  11. Hi Lisa, these are so thoughtfully made, very clever to roll them in the nutty mixture. Gorgeous!

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  12. What an intriguing book! I'll definitely be looking that up and recommending it to friends that are GF eaters!

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  13. If any one can come up with creative gluen free treats, it's Alice Medrich! She is a favorite author of mine and I am sure the recipes are all wonderful! Of course you whipping them up helps a whole bunch too, Lisa:)

    I'm always intrigued when coffee is used as an ingredient. Mixed with walnuts must be simply amazing!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Lisa...

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  14. What a treat and not only for those who have to stick to a gluten free diet.
    These cookies are making it definitely to our Christmas party this year.

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  15. Hi Lisa, I'm so far behind on blog reading and commenting. I wanted to stop in and wish you and your family a Wonderful Holiday Season. I truly enjoy your blog and look forward to a delicious 2015. Hugs.

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    1. Thank you, Lea Ann, and happy holidays to you!

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  16. My coffee loving son would adore these shortbread cookies. Alice Medrich has never steered me wrong...and this looks like another winning recipe!

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  17. I love the sound of these as I adore any baked good with coffee, especially if there are nuts or chocolate involved. Plus, Alice's recipes are always imaginative and always work.

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