Chocolate- Dipped Kona Coffee Shortbread

I am lucky to live here in Hawaii…beautiful weather, fragrant flowers… and coffee!

With Coffee so “ono” (delicious in Hawaiian), I use it in various recipes…from coffee rubbed steaks, to drenched kona tiramisu, coffee is more than just a cup of joe.

I recently was asked by a friend when I was making my Kona Coffee Cookies… I invited her over to make them together with a recipe I’ve tucked away from Fine Cooking Magazine.

The flavor characteristics of coffee beans from Hawaii are generally rich in flavor and well balanced. They offer  medium body and cheerful bright acidity. The flavor profile truly compliments these cookies.

The coffee plant came to Hawaii from Brazil in 1925. Farmers realized that the coffee crop grew especially well because of  exceptional soil and rich volcanic minerals, cooler elevations, and sunny mornings and cloudy afternoons. If you ever have a chance to visit the Big Island, you’ll find various coffee farms…if you have a refined palette you can also taste the difference between a coffee from Kona and the other side of the island, Hilo.

For those of you who live on the mainland and abroad…you can use your favorite coffee for these delectable delights.

Enjoy with your favorite beverage, weather it be milk, tea, or you guessed it…coffee!Coffee Cookie Recipe

Here’s the recipe: (beware…they’re addicting!)

Mahalo to Carolyn Weil from Fine Cooking, Issue 61

For the cookies

  • 8 oz. (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 10 oz. (2-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. finely ground espresso coffee beans
For the dipping chocolate
  • 9 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable shortening

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 300ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer bowl (use the paddle attachment) or a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until the butter combines with the sugar but isn’t perfectly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour and ground espresso and mix on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently, until the dough has just about pulled together, about 3 minutes; don’t overmix.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Aim for a uniform thickness to ensure even baking. Using a heart or other shape cookie cutter, cut out shapes as close to one another as possible. Press the scraps together, roll them out, and cut out more cookies. If the dough becomes sticky, refrigerate it briefly. Arrange the cookies on two parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate until chilled, at least 20 minutes.

Bake the cookies until golden on the bottom and edges and pale to golden on top, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (After 15 minutes, swap the position of the baking sheets and rotate them 180 degrees for even baking.) If the cookies are done before 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 275° F for the remaining batches; if they take longer than 1 hour, increase the temperature to 325° F.

Dip the baked, cooled cookies

Set a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on a work surface. Put the chocolate and shortening in a small heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate, stirring, until it’s smooth and warm; don’t let it get hot. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate. Set the cookies on the parchment and let the chocolate set up at room temperature, about 2 hours.

Presentation is everything…paired my heart shaped cookies with one of my original roses…
Presentation is everything…paired my heart shaped cookies with one of my original roses…

Here’s some facts I thought were worthy to share from Organic Coffee Hawaii…the next time you have a coffee date impress your friends with these facts…

  • Coffee is a relative of the gardenia plant family and is thought to be indigenous to the African region which is now the country of Ethiopia.
  • Arabs were the first to cultivate coffee and the first to make a beverage from the roasted beans around 1300 AD.
  • Today coffee is grown in more than 70 countries – all in subtropical regions – and more people drink coffee than any other beverage except water and perhaps tea.
  • The United States consumes more coffee – 300 million cups a day – than any other country, but other countries drink more per capita. The citizens of Finland, population five million, for example, drink a total of 20 million cups per day.
  • Most research shows that drinking coffee has a variety of health benefits and may be good for heart health.
  • Workers who drank coffee rather than napping were more alert and performed better on the job, studies show.
  • Coffee beans have up to 800 flavor characteristics that our senses can detect. Red wine, by comparison, only has 400. Most coffee connoisseurs prefer mild roasts because the longer a coffee bean is roasted, more characteristics are burned off.
  • Espresso Coffee has just one third of the caffeine content of ordinary coffee.
  • The process of roasting causes coffee beans to begin to release carbon dioxide. When you pour hot water over freshly roasted and ground coffee, as in a French press, you will get a foamy head like that from a dark beer.
  • A coffee tree lives for between 60 and 70 years.
  • Specialty coffee is surprisingly affordable. One cup costs about 24 cents making it cheaper than bottled water.

It takes about 5000 pounds of coffee cherries to produce 1,000 pounds of green coffee beans; the beans lose another 20 percent of their weight in the roasting.

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