Espresso Triangles with Dark Chocolate and Cacao Nibs

I don't know whether I am more excited about the taste of these rich, sophisticated cookies or the easy technique I've discovered for rolling and cutting them. 

They have a robust espresso flavor made by diluting ground espresso beans in coffee liqueur. I especially like Van Gogh Espresso or Double Espresso Vodka (if you like caffeine, you will love these vodkas), but kahlua or any other coffee liqueur will work just as well. I then stir in a chopped bittersweet chocolate bar with cacoa nibs. 

Cacao nibs are the new darling of the food jet set. They are roasted ground bits of the cacao bean and have a subtle bittersweet chocolate flavor. They are crispy, so they add a delightful little crunch to cookies, cakes and topping for ice cream and yogurt. 

 You have probably seen the nibs referred to as either cacao or cocoa nibs. If you are confused, you are not alone. In short, cacao is the purest raw form of chocolate with no additives. Cocoa refers to the heated form of cacao with added sugar. When you see cacao nibs, powdered cacao (or cacao powder) in the supermarket, the bean is in its raw state—uncooked, additive free, and unprocessed. 

You can buy cacao nibs in many upscale supermarkets or you can often find them incorporated into dark chocolate bars.  You don't have to go running around searching for cacao nibs to make this recipe. These cookies will be awesome made with any good quality chocolate bar. Although the cacao nibs add a nuance of chocolate and crunch, there is not enough of them in the bar to make a huge difference. But when I added them to the name of the cookies, they immediately became trendier. 

Now let's get the show on the road and make these delicious cookies. 

 To make the batter, after you mix butter with brown and white sugar and flour, then mix in finely chopped chocolate. 

 To make the batter, after you mix butter with brown and white sugar and flour, then mix in finely chopped chocolate. 

Knead the dough to help it hold together and then divide it in half.  Shape each piece into a 6-inch disk. 

Knead the dough to help it hold together and then divide it in half.  Shape each piece into a 6-inch disk. 

Roll each disk into an 8-inch circle between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Roll each disk into an 8-inch circle between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When the pastry is chilled, pull off one sheet of parchment. Flip disk onto a baking sheet and pull off top sheet of parchment. Bake until firm. 

When the pastry is chilled, pull off one sheet of parchment. Flip disk onto a baking sheet and pull off top sheet of parchment. Bake until firm. 

After it is baked, sprinkle the top with sugar. Using a large spatula, slide the disk onto a work surface. 

After it is baked, sprinkle the top with sugar. Using a large spatula, slide the disk onto a work surface. 

Using a wide knife or cleaver, cut the disk into 16 triangles. 

Using a wide knife or cleaver, cut the disk into 16 triangles. 

I love this technique for rolling and cutting cookies because it eliminates the mess of flouring the board, keeping the dough chilled, and re-rolling scraps. Try using it with any of your favorite rolled out cookies. Unless you are making them for a specific holiday or purpose, all rolled out cookies taste just as good cut into triangles. And this technique is so easy that you may find yourself making cut-out cookies more often. 

ESPRESSO TRIANGLES WITH DARK CHOCOLATE & CACOA NIBS

3 teaspoons ground espresso coffee (not instant)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coffee liqueur such as Van Gogh or Kahlua, or water
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar, plus 4 teaspoons for topping
¼ cup golden brown sugar, packed
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 (3 to 3.5 oz.) dark chocolate bar with cacao nibs, finely chopped

  1. Measure espresso into a very small bowl. Stir in liqueur or water and vanilla; the coffee will remain granular. In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat butter and granulated and brown sugars until blended, about 1 minute. Scrape espresso into mixture and mix to blend. Add flour and salt and mix on low speed to incorporate and then mix on medium speed until well blended. Scrape sides, add chocolate pieces and mix until blended. Divide dough into 2 equal parts. 

  2. Place half the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper and pat into a 6-inch round. Top with a sheet of wrap and roll into an 8-inch circle. Repeat with second half of dough.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. 

  3. Place oven rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 flat baking sheets. (Do not use cushioned or black sheets.) Remove plastic wrap from one round of dough and flip the dough onto a baking sheet. Remove top sheet of wrap.  

  4. Bake in center of oven for 15 to 19 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and top feels firm, but cookie is still a little soft in the center. Remove from oven and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar. Cool on baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes. Slide onto work surface and cut into 16 wedges. Repeat with second round of dough. 

MAKE AHEAD: Cookies may be stored airtight for several days or frozen.

Makes 32 triangles.

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