Spelt Vanilla Coffee Cookies with Pistachios & White Choc Chips

CoffeeVanillaCookies1So I had this random dream not too long ago. In the dream, my friend and I were going to see a movie. We took our seats in the cinema, and I told her to wait right there while I bought some snacks. I went down to the snack bar and had a look at my choices.

There was a small packet of popcorn (I don’t know why it came in a packet) that cost $11. This made me angrier than it should have – I was absolutely infuriated with the injustice! Eleven freaking dollars for a tiny packet of popcorn that’s not even hot or buttered! There was also a packet of some generic-brand lollies that was the same size as the popcorn packet, but this was only $3. Even though they looked really gross and unappetizing I bought that one because it was cheaper. And then a whole bunch of other really random and nonsensical things took place because, well, you know how dreams are.

But anyway, the point I’m trying to make is, movie food is expensive! Even in my dreams I cannot escape from the totally outrageous prices. I think it’s because for some reason, most people can’t watch a movie without eating. For me it’s also commonly a case of, “If we eat dinner beforehand we’ll be late for the movie, therefore we will eat popcorn for dinner.” And then you see almost-full buckets of popcorn just left behind in the cinema. What a waste – of both money and popcorn!

Sure, you could just buy snacks at the grocery store beforehand (assuming you have time, you’re not lazy, and it’s still open) but here’s another option that lets you get creative and ensures that your house will smell delicious upon your return – bake a bunch of cookies at home and smuggle them into the cinema!

And that’s the story behind how these cookies came to be. It was one of those winter afternoons where I was longing to fill my house with the scent of freshly-baked cookies. Of course, I wanted to share them rather than have them sitting in my pantry and tempting me all weekend, so I toted them off to the cinema and saved approximately ten thousand dollars on movie snacks.

So now let’s talk about the cookies themselves! I wanted to use up a few little odds and ends in my pantry and make these cookies a bit “different” (in a good way, hopefully). The cookies themselves are flavoured with vanilla essence as well as some vanilla-infused instant coffee for a double hit of vanilla goodness. The sweetness of the vanilla balanced out the strong coffee flavor which was quite nice. Then it was time to think about mix-ins! I threw in a packet of white choc chips because normal choc-chip cookies are too mainstream (also because I didn’t have any milk/dark choc chips) and half a container of pistachios. Might as well get creative and put them to good use instead of letting them sit around and go to waste!

Also, because I’ve been really into Spelt flour lately, I used that in place of regular flour. I like to think that this made them a little bit healthier, and would justify the fact that a couple of those cookies, along with a handful of popcorn, was essentially my dinner that night. Not that I’d promote cookies as a healthy alternative to dinner on a regular basis. You’ve got to eat your vegetables, people!

Here’s the recipe. If you don’t have vanilla-flavoured instant coffee (I used Moccona brand) then just regular coffee will work just fine.

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Spelt Vanilla Coffee Cookies with Pistachios & White Choc Chips

90g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vanilla-infused instant coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup self-raising flour
½ cup spelt flour
½ tsp of salt
¾ cup white choc chips
¼ cup pistachios

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line two baking trays.

Beat the butter, vanilla extract, dissolved coffee and sugars with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Sift in the flours and salt and stir in the choc-chips and pistachios.

Drop heaped teaspoons of the dough onto the prepared baking trays, leaving ample space between each cookie (about 2-3cm) so they can spread.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly browned. Leave to set on the trays for 5-10 minutes or until firm, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Coconut Mocha Cookies

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Do you ever look in the pantry or fridge and just feel a bit guilty for having a whole bunch of cooking or baking ingredients that you never use? Or that you bought for one particular recipe, but only needed a little bit, so there’s a whole box/sack/packet left over? And you really don’t want it to go to waste?

Because that totally happened to me this weekend. Actually, it happens to me quite often, especially with cooking chocolate. Sometimes a recipe only calls for half of one of those big blocks of cooking chocolate, and the rest gets wrapped up and stowed away in the fridge for “next time” you decide to make a chocolatey treat. Of course, when “next time” rolls around, the recipe needs more than that bit you have left in the fridge so you end up just opening a new block.

Well, this recipe is a great way to use up that neglected block of chocolate (as long as it hasn’t been neglected for like, twelve years or something… you might want to have a quick peek at the expiration date, actually) since there’s no set amount of chocolate you have to use – just melt some down and use as much as you desire. It’s fairly quick and easy too, so it’s great for when you get the sudden urge to bestow delicious cookies upon your friends and family… an urge that tends to hit me quite often.

So before I delve into the story of these cookies, it’ time for a fun fact: I suffer from – no, rather, I enjoy – a coffee addiction! Coffee actually has numerous health benefits, and it makes me way easier to deal with during the early hours of the morning. Without my morning (caffeine) fix, I’d probably look and feel like Grumpy Cat for the first six or seven hours of my day.

The other cool thing about liking coffee so much is that I’m always inspired to add a bit of it to otherwise non-caffeinated recipes, giving them an extra flavor kick! That’s exactly what happened with these cookies. I also dipped half of them in some melted dark chocolate (oh look, another addiction of mine) so I could use the word “mocha” in the recipe title (and because I decided it would taste nice, too). The cookies are soft and chewy, with the coffee and coconut flavour coming through nicely – they’re still alright on their own even without dark chocolate. The dark chocolate makes it very rich and indulgent. Ever had a  coconut mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks? It’s a little like that, in cookie form.

And to finish off on a totally random note before sharing the recipe, wow, autocorrect recognises the word Frappuccino! Good job, autocorrect! :D

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Coconut Mocha Cookies

100g unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules, dissolved in about 1 tablespoon hot water
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
About 150g of dark cooking chocolate (you may need less or more, depending on how much chocolate you want to coat each cookie in and whether or not you want to leave some plain)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grease and line two baking trays.

Combine butter, sugar, vanilla and coffee in a large mixing bowl and stir until smooth and well-combined (you may want to use an electric mixer for this). Beat in egg until just combined. Sift in flour and add desiccated coconut, and stir until combined.

Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls (it will probably be quite sticky – it helps to dampen hands with water when doing this) and place on trays, flattening slightly, making sure to leave plenty of room to spread.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly golden and cooked through. Leave on trays to cool.

When cookies have cooled, melt at least 150g of dark chocolate following packet instructions. Dip half of each cookie in the dark chocolate, using a knife to smoothen. Spread dipped cookies out on several plates and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for chocolate to set and harden.