Ellen Clifford
September 19, 2015 6:06 am

Flavorful by Tish Boyle is an exercise in decadence. Boyle identifies the nine flavors most prominent in the dessert world, and puts them through their paces. The flavors are vanilla, berries/cherries, apples, citrus, sweet cheese, nuts, caramel, coffee and chocolate. The desserts run the gamut from traditional to inventive, and as promised, there is something in here for everyone.

I am always torn between vanilla and chocolate. I find them two of the most beguiling. I hate that people use the term “vanilla” to mean plain and boring. Vanilla is anything but that and Boyle provides a full spectrum of dessert recipes to prove her point. Creme brûlée cupcakes anyone?

As for berries and cherries, naturally there are some pies and tarts in that chapter. Same with the apple chapter, although some of the more unusual offerings like Green Apple Sorbet and Apple Honey Cake are still on my to-do list. The citrus chapter brings a lot of lemon and lime as well as some more exotic treats. Red Grapefruit-White Tea Sorbet and Orange Blossom-Cinnamon Ice Cream may force me to finally buy an ice cream maker. Sweet cheese and nut desserts are not my personal favorites but if you are into cheesecakes and nutty sweets these chapters will be of interest.

The chapters I flipped to immediately were for caramel, coffee and chocolate. Someday I will get around to making Banoffee Pie and Caramel Sauce. Frosted Espresso Layer Cake and Brooklyn Blackout Cupcakes likewise are on the dream list. As for what recipe to share with you, I wanted one you could easily get to cooking up today. I went with one that seemed quickly doable and although located in the coffee chapter, there is chocolate involved. And if you consider how caramelized the brown sugar in these cookies gets I’d say the recipe gets in on the caramel action too. What can I say? I’m indecisive. And I like to have it all.

Naturally, I was as fond of the dough as I was of the cookie. Is there anything more magical than cookie dough, dolloped on ice cream? I think not. And come to think of it, if you have these cookies with vanilla ice cream you get to have your vanilla too. Ice cream sandwich anyone? You CAN have it all!

Espresso-Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies adapted from Flavorful by Trish Boyle

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 9 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. finely grond dark roast espresso beans (I substituted instant espresso powder)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup 1/2 inch chunks milk chocolate (I substituted Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped chocolate covered espresso beans
  • 1 cup walnuts (I omitted)

Whisk flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In an electric mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the sugars. Add the ground coffee, vanilla and egg and beat until blended, scraping the sides of the bowl if needed. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour, one third at a time until almost blended. Take the bowl off the mixer and stir in the chocolate, chocolate espresso beans and nuts (if using). Cover dough and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. Let the dough sit out for 15 minutes. Then scoop rounded tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart. Wet palm and flatten to disks 1/2 inch tall. Bake 10-12 minutes until puffed and a bit browned around the edge. Bake one sheet at a time. Cool on a wire rack.

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