These cookies are what little cookies want to be when they grow up. They taste like part molten chocolate cake, part chocolate covered peanuts, and part heaven. They are made of special ingredients that are really just sophisticated versions of their simpler cousins: Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter. Dark Hot Chocolate blend. Dark chocolate chips. Espresso Salt.
When I got the espresso salt from Christina’s Spice and Specialty Foods last weekend, I knew I wanted to use it in a sweet treat. I researched some recipes and asked for advice. Victoria from The District Chocoholic suggested Salted Chocolate Shortbread Cookies, and Shannon from Tri to Cook suggested Salted Caramel Sauce. Both recipes sound luscious so I will definitely try them someday, but for my first experiment with espresso salt, I wanted to go with something that I’m already very familiar with: no-flour chocolate and peanut butter cookies.
My Miracle Cookies were the inspiration. I wanted a rich cookie with a sprinkle of sea salt on top. Then I remembered my Orange-White Chocolate version and decided to add dark chocolate chips in the mix. I wanted a rich, decadent cookie and thought about my favorite hot chocolate drink at L.A Burdick, so I decided to use a few tablespoons of their shaved chocolate too.
In spite of it’s fancy sounding name, these cookies are very, very simple to make (just like Miracle Cookies and No Flour Orange Peanut Butter White Chocolate Chip Cookies). And don’t expect a healthy version – this has a lot of sugar and a lot of chocolate, and it is all worth it.
These are the ingredients I used (makes 2 dozen cookies):
1 cup Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams (you can substitute Justin’s Chocolate Peanut Butter or any other brand you want, but I am loyal to this)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao semi-sweet chocolate chips)
3 tablespoons dark chocolate cocoa powder or hot chocolate blend (I used LA Burdick Dark Hot Chocolate)
2 teaspoons espresso salt
Preheat the oven to 350. Combine all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Make 2-inch rounds and place evenly on a cookie sheet, then flatten the top of each cookie gently. Sprinkle the espresso salt on top. Bake for 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool and prepare to swoon.
Each cookie is a little crumbly, and when you eat it straight out of the oven (after impatiently waiting a few minutes for it to cool a little), the dark chocolate chips melt so seductively and play off the peanut butter base. The espresso salt sprinkled on top has a mild coffee flavor, and cuts the richness of all the dark chocolate. It is good, so good, that you rush through dinner so you can get to this cookie for dessert. Or you hate your lunch a little bit, because it ends with grapes, and not this. Or even though you just made these cookies, you’re already dreaming of the next time you bake them again…