Waking up at 6 a.m. or earlier every day to be a “real person,” sucks. Being summoned for federal jury duty meant that for two weeks I had to do just that in order to catch the correct train to Chicago, make it to the federal building, through the security check-point, and into the juror room before 8:30 a.m. This is probably normal for most of you but I’ve been staying up way too late these days and ended up falling asleep in my courtroom chair multiple times each day. NOT GOOD. The other half of this problem is that I don’t drink coffee. I know, I know, I’m crazy. I’m just not that into coffee or coffee-flavored anything. The memories of a failed baking project from long ago are vivid; I anticipated whatever chocolatey thing I was making to taste chocolatey, and even though there was only a tablespoon or so of instant espresso mix in the recipe, I could taste nothing else and left the rest of the goods for others to eat.
So you can see why then, when my mom found this recipe for chocolate-orange espresso thins last week, I was hesitant to take on the project. But they were great. The best part is that YOU CAN (safely) EAT THE DOUGH. I’m not one to usually eat doughy things anyway, after you’ve had salmonella once you aren’t anxious to get it again. The point remains: you can eat this dough without fearing for your intestinal well being. There are no eggs in the dough and eating it is similar to eating a really sophisticated fudge.
I have only two complaints about this recipe: 1. The log of dough (which looks less than delicious) has to chill over night which is torturous when all you want is a petite chocolate-orange disk in your mouth, and 2. I could. not. stop. eating them. Neither could the rest of my family. I only baked half-a-log’s worth of cookies the first time for one Sunday night dinner with my grandparentals, and we collectively gobbled up every last one. My mom baked the other half for me to tote along to St. Louis but forgot them at home in the rush to the airport. Best welcome home ever.
The recipe has four steps; the most difficult of which is rolling the log into a truly cylindrical shape before chilling. My first cookies came out a little lopsided, luckily we fixed that before baking the other half of the batch. In addition I recommend slicing the cookies a little thicker than 1/4 inch since at that degree of thinness, eating the cookies is like not eating anything at all.
These delicate, crumbly little chocolate wheels are a dream. The orange and espresso flavors are subtle and yet present, and the cookies have the texture and taste of a chocolate shortbread. Coffee exception made—these are so, so good and the espresso only enhances the flavor. You’re socked by the deep, dark chocolate flavor first which is thankfully more bitter than sweet. These cookies do not have that all-too-common level of sweetness that makes it feel as though you’re literally eating diabetes, and they make an excellent pairing with a hot beverage like Tazo Wild Sweet Orange tea. Top the cookies with orange-colored sanding sugar in place of white and they’re perfectly dressed for Halloween.