When fragrant meadows are calling and the sunlight melts your cares away, retreat to fields of green for a glorious day of outdoor bliss. A picnic basket filled with savvy sandwiches, fresh vegetables, and home-baked treats will tempt you to while away the hours.
Capture the moment–that perfect spring day–when blue skies beckon and it’s impossible to stay inside. With picnic baskets in hand, take to the tender grass, and stake your claim with a well-worn quilt and a tossing of soft, plump pillows. Surround yourself with favorite friends, handpicked bouquets, and plenty of fresh-squeezed lemonade.
For dessert nibbles throughout your idyllic afternoon, Espresso Chocolate-Chip Cookies promise a sweet and satisfying pick-me-up. Fueled and flavored with espresso powder, coffee extract, cocoa nibs, and a mountain of chocolate chunks, these decadent confections celebrate the occasion in style.
- 1 1 /4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening, softened
- 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coffee extract*
- 3/4 cup milk-chocolate chunks
- 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks
- 1/2 cup cocoa nibs
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, espresso powder, salt, and baking soda.
- In a separate medium bowl and using a mixer on medium-high speed, beat shortening, cream cheese, sugar, and brown sugar for 5 minutes, or until creamy. Add egg, vanilla extract, and coffee extract, and beat well. Reduce mixer speed to lowest setting. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing to combine after each addition. Fold in milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and cocoa nibs.
- Using a 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop, place single scoops of cookie dough at least 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until edges turn light golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- *Coffee extract can be purchased at Whole Foods and other specialty-foods stores.