Flour Power

Cookies are an integral part of the holiday season. They're the treat left out for Santa, the gifts for friends and family, and the late-night sweets enjoyed with a glass of milk. Nestled in a tin or fanned out across a festive platter, cookies help create and conjure memories of loved ones, so having a few stand-out recipes is crucial.

These slice-and-bake Mocha Brownie Cookies are a crowd-pleasing confection that can be made from pantry staples. Cocoa powder, instant coffee and vanilla extract work harmoniously together to form a sweet cookie rich with notes of dark-chocolate brownie and roasted coffee. Glistening sprinkles on the outer edge provide satisfying crunch, a pleasant contrast to the tender, cakey center.

Mocha Brownie Cookies require chill-time in the freezer, so plan accordingly. They can be made in advance and stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or 1 month in the freezer. If stored at length in the freezer, let thaw at room temperature until sliceable but still cold (30 minutes to 1 hour), then add a minute or two of extra bake time.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
2 tsp. good quality instant coffee
1/2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened*
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. sparkling white sprinkles

PROCESS
Batter Up. Add flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee, sea salt and baking powder to a medium bowl, whisking to combine. Add butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream at medium speed until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Mix in the egg and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides as needed. In 3 additions, mix in the dry ingredients just until combined. Don't overmix here. Scrape cookie dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently roll into a log that's 2 inches in diameter. Cover the entire surface of the dough with sprinkles, and then roll back and forth several times to make them stick. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and chill in the freezer for 1 hour.**

Slice and Bake. Preheat an oven to 350°F and place an oven rack in the middle position. Slice log into 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick rounds and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving 1 inch of space between each cookie. Bake until the cookies are set around the edges and slightly puffed in the center (9 to 11 minutes). Let rest for 1 minute on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

* To achieve the right texture here, the butter must be softened at room temperature for a few hours. If you forget to do this, cut a stick of butter into 8 even slices and place in the stand mixer bowl (or on a plate). The slices shouldn't be touching each other. Set the bowl in a warm spot for 1 hour, and the butter should be soft enough to use for this recipe.

** For perfectly round slice-and- bake cookies, place wrapped log of dough in an empty paper towel roll that's been cut open lengthwise. Tighten the roll around the dough, then secure with rubber bands or tape. Chill in the freezer according to the instructions above.

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