german chocolate tea cookies

When I’m not making all manner of cakes and retro cafeteria pizzas at home for fun, I’m making donuts at my day job.

Do you realize the number of times someone has said to me, “Time to make the donuts”? It’s endless.

I’m pretty much just like that guy, waking up at 3:30 AM so I can sleepily make my way to work and create donut goodness for the masses. Since my background is all pastry-related, I try to turn traditional desserts into donut flavors. Key lime pie? Did it. Coffee cake? Yep. Oreos? Did that, too. German chocolate cake? But of course!

Sometimes inspiration strikes and I am able to apply that same method to treats I make at home. I have a deep admiration for German chocolate cake and all the flavors that go into it (coconut, pecans, and chocolate, yes!), and thought that if those flavors worked well in a donut, why not a cookie, too? Since Russian Tea Cakes (aka Mexican Wedding Cookies) typically include a bunch of pecans, they seemed like just the dessert to cram a bunch of chocolate and coconut into, as well.

These crumbly shortbread-like cookies are packed to the gills with roasty pecans, dark chocolate, and sweet coconut flakes, then rolled in a cozy blanket of powdered sugar and cocoa powder. All the traditional flavors of German chocolate cake are there, now in one handy mouth-sized cookie! Obviously they pair great with coffee or tea — I’m thinking a hot mug of spicy chai tea would be phenomenal with these little cookies. Why not give it a go?

german chocolate tea cookies

(makes 20 cookies)

8 oz unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c (83 g) powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 c (90 g) roasted pecans, chopped
3/4 c (54 g) shredded sweetened coconut
6 oz (173 g) dark chocolate, chopped fine
2 1/4 c (268 g) flour

1 c (198 g) granulated sugar, for rolling
3/4 c (125 g) powdered sugar, for rolling
1/4 c (26 g) cocoa powder, for rolling

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper;  Set aside 2 tablespoons of the 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the softened butter, extracts, salt, and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar minus the two tablespoons. Beat with the paddle attachment for two minutes on medium speed, scraping down the bowl after 1 minute.

Using a food processor, pulse the roasted pecans and coconut with the reserved 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar until the nuts and coconut are chopped into small bits. Dump into the soft butter mixture with the chopped chocolate and the flour, and mix on speed 1-2 until a dough has formed and is just starting to clear away the sides of the bowl.

Gently mix together the 3/4 cup of powdered sugar with the cocoa powder until well-mixed. Divide the cookie dough into 20 pieces weighing 1.4 ounces each, and roll by hand into balls. Coat each cookie dough ball in granulated sugar, and then in the sugar/cocoa mixture. Set aside the sugar/cocoa mixture once all the cookies are coated.

Space the cookie dough balls out evenly on the parchment lined pan and bake in the preheated oven for 28 minutes. Once they come out of the oven, allow the cookies to cool a bit on a wire rack until basically room temperature. Roll the baked and cooled cookies once again into the sugar/cocoa mixture, then serve!

These cookies came out just as I hoped they would. Serve these cute little cookies during a lazy weekend visit with friends, or curled up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea. Chock full of pecan flavor, with sweet coconut and lots of dark chocolate, they’re a fantastic way to get more German chocolate flavor into your life. You know, in case you were lacking in the German chocolate department.

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