When I was making homemade Girl Scout cookies last month, Phillip continually referred to the Savannah Smiles as “Mocha Mauis,” at first as a placeholder for a name he couldn’t remember, and later just because he thought it was funny. Eventually we started talking about what exactly would go into a cookie called a Mocha Maui. Coffee & chocolate were givens, but macadamia nuts and coconut also had to make their way into these cookies to get a Hawaiian vibe going.
A week or so ago, I set out butter in my mixing bowl to come to room temperature, and glanced guiltily at it as I passed by it several times daily. Once or twice, I had to use my mixing bowl and evict the butter from its home to make way for cheesecake filling or pizza dough. I was so busy making award-winning pies, taking care of my sick baby, and running around for Easter, I ran out of time for Mocha Mauis. But last night, Phillip had a sweet tooth, and I had left all of my Easter cheesecake bars with my dad, so I offered to whip up the Mocha Mauis as soon as I put Nolan down to sleep.
In the same way that some people (read: me) are sweet & salty nutcases, Phillip is crazy for sweet & bitter desserts. His love of bitterness may be unrivaled by man or beast. Neither of us are regular coffee drinkers, but when Phillip does order a drink, he goes for an espresso or a macchiato. He revels in coffee-flavored ice cream, molasses cookies, the darkest of dark chocolates, and stout beers.
Armed with this knowledge, I wasn’t shy about amping up the bitterness in this recipe. I dissolved a full tablespoon of espresso powder into melted butter (turns out bringing the butter to room temperature was unnecessary) and dispersed chopped 72% dark chocolate throughout the batter. I used dark brown sugar, whose higher molasses adds depth of flavor and chewiness to the cookies. The toasted sweetened coconut and macadamia nuts help balance things out, but I would still say that coffee is the primary flavor in this cookie.
I thought the batter might be too thin and spread into crispy puddles, but they didn’t, so I didn’t have to throw a late-night hissy fit. If I were making them for myself, I’d probably cut the espresso powder in half, but when I asked Phillip if I should have reduced the coffee, he said that they were perfect as-is. And I wouldn’t be surprised to find him dunking them into a mug of black coffee.
- ¾ cup (120 grams) macadamia nuts, chopped
- ½ cup (40 grams) sweetened shredded coconut
- 16 tablespoons (225 grams) unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder*
- 2 cups (240 grams) flour
- ¾ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (215 grams) dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ¾ teaspoons sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 8 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I used 72%)
- Set your oven rack to the center position and preheat oven to 375°F. Line four baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- On a small baking sheet, spread macadmia nuts on one side and coconut on the other (it doesn't matter if they touch or get a bit mixed up.) Place the pan in the oven and let the nuts and coconut toast until lightly browned and fragrant, about 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the cookie dough.
- Whisk together flour and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt 12 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the espresso powder until it has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter until it has melted.
- Transfer melted butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt to the bowl and mix until combined. Add eggs and beat the mixture for 2 minutes on medium-high speed. Let the mixture rest for two minutes, then beat again for about 30 seconds.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the chocolate, macadamia nuts, and coconut with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- Divide dough into 24 portions, about 2½ tablespoons each (I used a #24 disher), with 6 dough portions on each baking sheet. Bake cookies one sheet at a time for 12-14 minutes each, until the edges are set and the tops are still a bit soft. Transfer pans to wire racks and allow the cookies to cool completely on the pans before serving.
- *If you are not as crazy about coffee and bitterness as my husband, cut back the espresso powder to 1½ teaspoons.