Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps

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You can say what you want about Martha Stewart.  She might make you feel small, or she might not be the friendliest woman around, but the gal can cook, dammit.  Her stuff's reliable.  Martha's recipes are well written and they work.

This weekend I used two new Martha recipes - one that's sure to become a staple in our Christmas cookie rotation, and one that I might make again for a crowd, but probably not just for the three of us.  I'll explain that one later in the week.  Since we're on the brink of Christmas, and ya'll might be noodling around for something else to add to your dessert plates, today we'll do the sweet stuff! 

These cookies are SO tasty. Soft, chewy, rich and dark and not over-the-top sweet.  And pretty, too - look at 'em up there, so dramatic with their dark brown and stark white!  A couple of practice pointers:  Don't be afraid of this dough - when you first blend the ingredients, it'll have the consistency of thick frosting, but if you freeze it as directed, it'll set up well and be easy to work with.  I'd also recommend you double the recipe - really, 18 cookies won't be enough once your crew gets their paws on these!

Chocolate Espresso Snowcap Cookies (originally from MarthaStewart.com)

1/2 c. all-purpose flour 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder 4 t. instant espresso 1 t. baking powder 1/8 t. salt 4 T. unsalted butter, room temperature 2/3 c. packed light-brown sugar 1 large egg 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled 1 T. whole milk 1/2 c. confectioners sugar, for coating

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well combined; mix in cooled chocolate. With mixer on low speed, gradually add dry ingredients; beat in milk just until combined. Flatten dough into a disk; wrap in plastic. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place confectioners' sugar into a medium bowl; working in batches, roll balls in sugar twice.

Place balls on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies have spread and coating is cracked, 12 to 14 minutes; cookies will still be soft to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 18 cookies.