Slice 'n' Bake Coffee Cookies with Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans

A crisp coffee-flavored cookie, a favorite for more than thirty years, ever since my friend Lisa won "best cookie of the year" with the recipe at our cookie swap way back forever ago. Don't they look like they'd take forever to make and be oh-so-fussy? But they're not. You'll make a batch with just 20 minutes hands-on time. Plus? I'll never call a cookie "diet food" but each cookie has just 50 calories. Gorgeous on a cookie plate!

Slice 'n' Bake Coffee Cookies with Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans ♥ Small effort, dramatic appearance.

Just Eight Ingredients & Twenty Minutes Hands-On Time. Dramatic Appearance. A Long-Time Family Favorite. Low Cal. Low Sugar. Egg Free. No Baking Powder or Baking Soda. Great for Food Gifts & Cookie Exchanges. Weight Watchers Friendly. So Good!!

Best Cookie of the Year

Some 32 cookie swaps ago, my dear friend Lisa took first prize in the “best cookie of the year” contest with this cookie recipe.

How do I know? Call me a packrat but I still keep old 3x5 recipe cards. So retro, I know, but I love the history in margin notes! This one reads, “Mexican Coffee Crisps, 1991 Cookie Exchange – Lisa’s – #1!”

Every Christmas since, I’ve made these bite-size, coffee-flavored cookies.

But this year, I noticed how little sugar is in the dough and that the cookie dough needs no egg – a plus if you’re up to your elbows in flour and butter but running short on eggs.

Then I tracked how long it took me to make the cookies. Great surprise! Twelve minutes to mix. Three minutes – really – to slice the dough onto cookie sheets. And once the cookies are baked? Those fancy-looking squiggles? Five minutes. I kid you not.

That’s a lot of bang – with good looks and good flavor – for just twenty-minutes of hands-on time.


Swapping Recipes & Cookies

Lisa and I have been sharing recipes since, um, let's see, 1985! Like me, she blogs so it's always fun to see the back and forth between the many recipes we have in common. Do check out My Own Sweet Thyme!

On the savory side, you'll find:

On the sweet side, there's:

Some times it's hard to remember exactly who was the "first" to try the recipe!

About This Recipe: Slice 'n' Bake Coffee Cookies

  • This is a simple cookie yet has a distinctive coffee taste and an impressive appearance, thanks to a squiggle of coffee-flavored icing and a chocolate-covered espresso bean. It's not your everyday cookie, I've never seen it elsewhere. It's quick to make and needs just eight ingredients!
  • Distinctive Ingredients = Instant Espresso Powder + Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans
  • Short Ingredient List = flour + cinnamon + salt + salted butter + brown sugar + powdered sugar
  • For Garnish = A squiggle of frosting + a chocolate-covered espresso bean
  • Seriously, the hands-on time is ridiculous. Mix the dough, slice and decorate, that takes only twenty minutes! There is some chill time and the baking time, of course, but that's all hands-off.
  • This cookie takes no special techniques, save possibly one. When you shape the cookie dough into rolls, I always find it hard to make keep the logs round, one side always flattens. An almost-round cookie is no big deal, of course, but I like to flatten the logs on four sides. Once the cookies are sliced, they'll bake square cookies, not round-ish cookies with a flat area.
  • Two ingredients may take a little searching. The first is instant espresso, some times called espresso powder. Look for it near the instant coffee in good grocery stores; it comes in small jars and the granules last for years, which is good, since recipes often call for only a teaspoon or two at a time. I usually go for an Italian brand, Medaglia D'oro. (Amazon offers that and several other brands of instant espresso (affiliate link) too.) The second is chocolate-covered espresso beans, they're definitely harder to find. Trader Joe's carries a big container but the beans are really too big for these cookies. After that, you just have to keep your eyes peeled. I do have good luck at coffee shops and chocolate shops.
  • This is a calorie-friendly, just 50 calories per cookie, including the icing and espresso bean!
  • As written, the recipe makes a small batch of cookies, just 2-1/2 dozen. That's quite a small amount of dough for a stand mixer, so you might consider a double batch.
  • So good! I hope you love these!

  • If you like this cookie, you'll love my Mini Coffee Cookies with Currants.
  • Not quite what you're looking for? Check out my other cookie recipes and my best ideas for holiday baking.

Here's What's NOT In This Recipe

Sometimes, what's left out of a recipe is just as important as what's put in. That's definitely the case here.

  • No Eggs, not a single one!
  • No Leavening, that is, no baking powder or baking soda.
  • Little Sugar, just 1/4 cup of brown sugar for 30 cookies, that's 1/3 the sugar of many cookies.
Slice 'n' Bake Coffee Cookies with Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans ♥ Small effort, dramatic appearance.

How to Make "Brown" Cookies Work on a Cookie Tray

When I put together a cookie tray, for attractive presentation, I always include "color" – often from No-Roll Christmas Sugar Cookies or Frosty Christmas Trees.

But I was quite pleased how this "all-brown" cookie tray looked for a holiday dessert tasting we hosted this last weekend. It worked because there were different textures and shapes, the square Slice 'n' Bake Coffee Cookies topped with a squiggle of icing and an espresso bean, long biscotti dipped in chocolate and irregular shapes of chocolate-topped Graham Cracker Toffee. Pretty, yes?

Slice 'n' Bake Coffee Cookies with Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans ♥ Small effort, dramatic appearance.

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

  • Can you really eat an espresso bean? Yes! Just pop one in your mouth and bite down, you'll break through the coffee and find a burst of crisp coffee bean, easy to chew and swallow. And of course, wow, you know how well chocolate and coffee go together. Just be careful, these babies are packed with caffeine, eat more than one or two and you'll definitely feel a caffeine buzz.

  • What if you only have instant coffee, does that work? Yes! Instant coffee is a great substitute for instant espresso and it's way easier to find. I keep a jar on hand all the time, just for baking, not for coffee.

  • Is it "espresso" or "expresso"? Well. It depends. There's no question. Officially and rightfully, it's "espresso" with an "s". But sorry, world, lots of us, including me, occasionally fall back to "expresso" with an "x" out of ignorance or habit or just plain contrariness. Me, I'm working on it!

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this fun cookie recipe inspires you, please do save and share! I'd be honored ...

Slice 'n' Bake Coffee Cookies with Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans ♥ Small effort, dramatic appearance.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes total
Chill time: at least 4 hours
Time to table: 5 hours
Makes 30 cookies, easily doubled or tripled
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick/4oz/112g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 30 chocolate-covered espresso beans (about 1-1/4oz/32g)

COOKIES In a bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar, then mix in the espresso-water mixture. Turn in the flour, mix until well combined.

CHILL Turn the dough onto a work space lined with a piece of waxed paper. With your hands, form a square roll about 8” long and 1-1/2” square. Wrap with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, at least four hours.

BAKE Heat oven to 350F. When the oven is hot, slice the roll with a sharp knife to produce squares about 1/4-inch thick. Place an inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 – 15 minutes until the bottoms are crisp and golden. Let cool completely.

SQUIGGLE ICING In a small bowl, mix the espresso powder and water, then work in the powdered sugar. Transfer the icing to a freezer bag, snip one corner just a little. Working from one corner to the opposite corner, squeeze out the icing in a zig-zag. Press an espresso bean into the icing. Let the icing dry.

STORE Arrange a single layer of cookies in a cookie tin with a tight lid, top with a sheet of waxed paper, then repeat.

FREEZER OPTIONS These cookies freeze well, either the unbaked rolls of dough or the baked cookies. The cookies do freeze better without frosting and the espresso bean.

ALANNA's TIPS Look for the smallest chocolate-covered espresso beans you can find. The ones from Trader Joe’s are just too-too big. St. Louisans, I find small ones at Global Foods in Kirkwood but in other years in other cities, I had good luck at my favorite chocolate shop and even someplace like World Market. Oh! And Starbucks! Wondering where the baking powder or baking soda is? This recipe uses none! One batch is slightly small for a stand mixer, consider using a hand mixer or mixing a double batch or just be prepared to scrape the sides of the bowl frequently. While baking, these cookies make the kitchen smell heavenly!

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cookie: 49 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 8mg Cholesterol; 32mg Sodium; 5g Carb; 0g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 0g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 1 & SmartPoints 2 & Freestyle 2 & myWW green 2 & blue 2 & purple 2 & future WW points
Adapted from an unknown source, the original name was "Mexican Coffee Crisps" and it turns up once or twice online but no source is named there either.

Seasonal Cooking: Up to Your Elbows in Sugar and Flour?

Frosty Christmas Trees Homemade Microwave Caramel Corn Gourmet Chocolate Mocha Cookies Gingerbread Muffins Graham Cracker Toffee Cranberry Macadamia-Butter Cookies Butter Tart Bars Perfect M&M Cookies Sesame Candy Fresh Cranberry Drop Cookies Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies Colored Roll-Out Sugar Cookies Holiday Baking Tips from a Certifiable Cookie-Baking Fiend No-Roll Christmas Sugar Cookies Bourbon Pralines Slice 'n' Bake Coffee Cookies with Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans Fresh Cranberry Cake Chocolate-Almond Shortbread Cookies Christmas Banana Bread Fresh Cranberry Bars Old-Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies Family Shortbread Cranberry Walnut Bread Big Fat Chewy Molasses Cookies

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.