Dark chocolate and espresso go hand in hand, and these Chocolate Espresso Cookies are the perfect way to combine the two! They're sprinkled with a little flaky sea salt to make a quintessential sweet and salty combo. Even if you're not a big coffee drinker, these cookies are still delicious! The espresso powder brings out the flavor in the chocolate, making them a perfect holiday cookie.
If you're looking for other holiday cookie ideas, try these Molasses Marshmallow Stuffed Cookies, Chocolate Covered OREOs, or Candied Orange Slices. They all go together very well in a holiday cookie box!
Why you'll love this recipe
- The espresso powder brings out the chocolate flavor in the cookies.
- The flaky sea salt is a great finisher - giving these cookies a salty and sweet combination!
- Chocolate Espresso Cookies are a great holiday cookie, but also appropriate any time of year!
There are just a few key ingredients you'll need to bring these Chocolate Espresso Cookies together.
- Dark chocolate: You can use dark chocolate chips, melting disks, or a dark chocolate bar chopped into chunks. Just make sure you're using high-quality chocolate! I like to use Lindt 78% Dark Chocolate.
- Brown sugar: I like to use light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar would also work well.
- Espresso powder: This gives the cookies their espresso flavor and brings out the flavor in the chocolate. Feel free to be a bit heavy-handed here if you really love espresso! Also, please note that espresso powder is not the same thing as ground espresso beans. Make sure you're actually using espresso powder.
- Flaky sea salt: I like to use Maldon Sea Salt to sprinkle on top of the cookies.
See full recipe below for detailed instructions.
Substitutions & Variations
Below are a few easy substitutions and variations you can try:
- Use dark brown sugar - This recipe uses light brown sugar, but you could use dark brown sugar if you want a slight molasses flavor.
- Use your preferred chocolate - This recipe uses dark chocolate, but you could also use milk chocolate for a different flavor.
I have not tested this recipe with other variations, but if you do, let us know how it turns out in the comments! I always love to hear how you're adapting these recipes and use those as ideas for future recipes as well!
How to Make Chocolate Espresso Cookies
There are only a few simple steps to making these cookies!
Melt the chocolate and butter. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk together the flour, espresso powder, cocoa powder, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
Cream together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg until smooth and light, about 4-5 minutes.
Slowly add the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
Use a spatula or wooden spoon to fold in the dry ingredients, just until combined. It will feel wet for cookie dough, don't worry!
Use a cookie scoop to drop 2 Tablespoonfuls onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Keep the dough in a circle / ball. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and bake.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and use a sturdy glass to carefully move the cookie in a circle (to make it perfectly circular).
Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack or enjoy!
Expert Baking Tips
- The dough will seem very wet - that's ok! Resist the urge to add more flour to the dough.
- Use a sturdy glass to swirl the cookies and make them perfectly round while they're still warm.
- Let your pans cool fully in between batches. If you put the dough on an already-warm pan, it will start melting immediately and will spread too much (and burn) in the oven. I suggest using two baking sheets, and putting in one at a time!
I like to use a KitchenAid 5-Quart Stand Mixer to make the cookie dough, but you can also do this with a handheld mixer and a large bowl. To melt the chocolate and butter, you can use a double boiler or a thick-bottomed pan (I like to use a Le Creuset enameled saucepan).
I highly recommend using a cookie scoop to measure out the cookies. They'll all be the same size, and this is also easier to use with a dough that is so sticky. You'll need a few baking sheets and a cooling rack as well.
Room Temperature Storage: Once cooled, these Chocolate Espresso Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Freezer Storage: Let the cookies cool fully, then transfer to an airtight container lined with wax paper. Freeze the cookies for up to 2 months. Let the cookies thaw to room temperature before serving.
Make sure your baking sheets have time to cool between batches. If the baking sheets are warm, the cookies will spread too much.
If you don't like espresso, these might not be the cookie for you! You could make these without the espresso powder, and increase the cocoa powder to 3 Tablespoons for an extra chocolatey cookie.
You could also make these cookies with milk chocolate.
No, you can omit the sea salt if you prefer.
Espresso powder is a concentrated version of instant coffee. It is not just ground espresso beans. Espresso powder is also not great for drinking - it's really designed for baking.
Chocolate Espresso Cookies
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 Tablespoons espresso powder
- 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or thick-bottomed sauce pan. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. With the mixer on low, slowly add the chocolate mixture.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, espresso powder, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, using a spatula to fold until combined. The dough will seem wet for a cookie dough.
- Use a cookie scoop to scoop 2 Tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Make sure there is room between each cookie as they will spread. If using a half-sheet pan, I suggest making 6-8 cookies per sheet. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
- Bake for 12-13 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a sturdy glass to swirl the cookies while still warm to make them perfectly round. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool fully.