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Dark Chocolate, Cherry and Cashew Cookies

July 31, 2014

Dark Chocolate, Cherry and Cashew Cookies | Espresso and Cream
Hello, strangers! It feels like forever when in reality it’s only been about a week since I last checked in with you. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ve seen more than enough photos of our vacation, but I’ll be sharing a full update of our time in Boston and Maine very soon. It was such a wonderful trip and even the rainy weather couldn’t get us down. A huge highlight? We happened to be in Kennebunkport at the same time as Natalie and Dan, so we grabbed ice cream together and chatted. So fun!

Now that we’re back home, I’m really looking forward to eating a little more normally. Don’t get me wrong, we ate really well on our trip, but probably a little too well! Today it’s been really nice to have a plain bowl of oatmeal with almond butter for breakfast and a sandwich with fruit for lunch. I think there’s a good reason vacation doesn’t last forever.

Surprisingly, we didn’t eat many sweets on our trip at all. We loaded up on savory items like lobster rolls, fried fish, and the most indulgent egg dishes for breakfast. When I got home the craving for a little something sweet hit right away, so I raided the bulk bins at Whole Foods on my grocery trip this morning and got to work.

Dark Chocolate, Cherry and Cashew Cookies 1 | Espresso and Cream


These cookies really do have it all. They’re packed with coconut, cashews, dried tart cherries and dark chocolate. And somehow, these cookies manage to feel a little bit healthy, which I’m sure is just an illusion since they also have plenty of brown sugar and butter, too. I made them on the smaller size, which means I can totally justify eating more than one.

Dark Chocolate, Cherry and Cashew Cookies
Serves: 30
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted cashews, chopped
  • ½ cup dried tart cherries, chopped
  • 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking mat (such as a Silpat). Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add in the sugar and brown sugar and beat 2 minutes more or until sugars are combined and mixture is fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the egg and beat until just combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until just combined Add in the cashews, cherries, chocolate and coconut and beat until combined.
  4. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour. Use a small metal cookie scoop to scoop dough onto baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Bake 12 minutes or until edges are just golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.



Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies (4 Cookies)

May 6, 2014

Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies 1 | Espresso and Cream

I mentioned on Instagram this past weekend that I had a great small-batch chocolate chip recipe for you. Since a lot of you mentioned you were excited about the recipe, I figured it’s best not to keep you waiting any longer than necessary. Over the years there have been many times when I want just a little something sweet. I don’t want to bake two dozen chocolate chip cookies because of the time and hassle and amount of ingredients required, so this weekend I took one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes and scaled it down to make only 4 cookies instead of a dozen or two.

The recipe is an almond flour based cookie that doesn’t contain any “specialty” ingredients, like starches or specialty flours, just a little almond meal and some basic cookie ingredients like butter, sugar and chocolate chips. Since the cookies are made with almond meal they have a slightly different texture than a cookie made with all-purpose flour, but I can assure you they are still very soft, chewy and totally delicious.

Next time you’re looking for an easy little recipe that makes just a few cookies to satisfy a craving, I would highly suggest these little gems. And in case you’re interested, I’ve also included nutritional information in the recipe heatnote. These aren’t exactly “diet” cookies, but the clean ingredient list can make you feel good about eating a cookie, or two. I promise I won’t tell anyone.

Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies 2 | Espresso and Cream

Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies (4 Cookies)
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4
This recipe only makes 4 cookies so it is perfectly portion controlled! Each cookie has approximately 240 calories, 5 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
  • ¾ cup almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ½ tablespoon almond milk or other milk of choice
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, non-dairy chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  1. Heat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat (such as a silpat) and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the almond meal, sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a second small bowl, combine the egg yolk and butter until smooth and well combined. Add in the almond milk and vanilla extract.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until evenly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop dough by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheet. Bake 9 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.



Super Simple Sugar Cookies and A Surprise Shower for Stephanie!

April 9, 2014

Super Easy Sugar Cookies (1) | Espresso and Cream

First off, thank you so much for your kind words about our recent miscarriage. I plan on responding to each and every comment and have done my best to stay up-to-date with e-mails. I so greatly appreciate each word you’ve said to me and cherish each one. This post, a baby shower for my friend Stephanie, was planned months ago. Although the timing feels a bit forced in light of our recent news, I want to be able to celebrate with Stephanie in her time of joy. -Madison

One of my blogging friends turned real life friend, Stephanie of Girl Versus Dough, is having a little baby girl and today I’m getting together with a bunch of other bloggers to throw Stephanie a virtual baby shower. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend Stephanie’s real-life baby shower since I was out of town but I wouldn’t miss getting in on the virtual celebrations!

It’s been so great getting to know Stephanie in real life now that we both live up in the cities. She is, without a doubt, one of the sweetest people I know and that little girl is going to be born into such an amazing family!

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 10.23.09 AM

The cookies I made for Stephanie’s shower are my new go-to sugar cookie recipe. I love baking that doesn’t require a lot of fuss and these cookies certainly fit the bill. One of the things I hate most about sugar cookie dough is the fact that you have to refrigerate the dough before you bake it. I struggle with patience, so refrigerating dough is a challenge for me.

Thankfully, this recipe doesn’t require the dough to be refrigerated before you bake it. Major win in my book! And it requires just a handful of ingredients you probably have on hand, which is another major bonus. For those of you out there who don’t consider yourself much of a baker, I would suggest starting with a recipe like this. Adding a few colored sprinkles on top gives these cookies a decorative touch without much extra fuss.

Super Simple Sugar Cookies (2) | Espresso and Cream

Check out all the other ladies who are participating in the shower:

Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes from Sarcastic Cooking

Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with Lemon Drizzle from Greens & Chocolate

Super Chewy M&M Blondies from The Realistic Nutritionist

Strawberry Cinnamon Twist Knots from A Kitchen Addiction

Lemon Shortbread with Salted Chocolate Drizzle from The Lemon Bowl

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream from A Zesty Bite

Blackberry and Mango Curd Pie from Joanne Eats Well With Others

Pecan Sticky Buns from Warm Vanilla Sugar

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins from Garnish with Lemon

Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Susie Freaking Homemaker

Super Simple Sugar Cookies from Espresso and Cream

Raspberry Acai Frozen Margarita from Nutmeg Nanny

Berry Coconut Frozen Yogurt from The Law Student’s Wife

Pretty in Pink Buttercream Cups from Keep it Sweet Desserts

Broccoli Salad with Honey Toasted Walnuts from The Roasted Root

Neapolitan Baked Doughnuts from Climbing Grier Mountain

Giant Pink M&M and Raisinette Cookies from Steph’s Bite by Bite

No-Bake Rhubarb Cheesecake Parfait Cups from Hungry Girl Por Vida

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp from A Cedar Spoon

Freckled Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade from Take a Megabite

Vanilla Anise Cupcakes from Blahnik Baker

Mini Vanilla Bean Layer Cakes from The Baker Chick

Mini Blackberry Hazelnut Meringue Cakes from Eat Your Heart Out

Super Simple Sugar Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
This sugar cookies come together quickly and don't need to be refrigerated before you slice and bake them. That's a major win in my book! This makes about two dozen small cookies, but feel free to double if you want a bigger batch!
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Colored sprinkles, if desired
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg and beat until just combined. Add in the vanilla, salt and baking powder and beat until combined.
  3. Add flour to butter mixture and beat until just combined. Transfer dough to floured work surface. Roll dough to ¼ inch thickness. Use cookie cutter to cut shapes from dough, rolling and re-rolling as necessary to use up dough. Top dough with colored sprinkles, if desired.
  4. Place cookies on baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake 8 minutes or just until light golden brown around the edges. Do not over bake. Remove immediately and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.


Raw Sugar Cookie Dough in a Jar

February 6, 2014

By the time Friday rolls around, Joe and I are both in the mood for a low key night, which means a workout together at the gym, eating Chipotle and watching something on TV. Maybe not the most exciting routine around, but I love it so much. Last week when were were watching Shark Tank on ABC, one of our favorite shows, I was drawn to a particular business idea that was being pitched to the sharks on the show. The company, Cookie Dough Cafe, was talking about their line of edible raw cookie dough in a jar. Um, yum!

Although I loved the business idea, one thing that struck me as strange was the fact that they went on and on about the fact that this product was safe because it didn’t contain eggs, meaning no risk of salmonella. However, they didn’t say a thing about the flour that was being used in the cookie dough. What a lot of people don’t know is that eggs aren’t the only source of contamination and that raw flour can also pose a risk of E. coli. I’m assuming that the ladies who own The Cookie Dough Cafe have this figured out and are just not mentioning it, but I thought that I would talk about it briefly. Better safe than sorry, right?

Well, friends, be prepared to have your world rocked by this recipe. If it’s not one of the best recipes to date on E&C, I don’t know what is. To make this Raw Sugar Cookie Dough in a Jar, you start by toasting your flour on a baking sheet in the oven. Doing so makes it safe to use your flour in any manner of raw forms, including this recipe. It takes about 10 minutes and doesn’t impact the taste but will give you peace of mind when serving this treat to your friends, kiddos and when you eat it yourself.


This recipe makes a small batch of cookie dough, about a cup. It’s just enough to keep in the fridge when the craving strikes but not too much that you’ll make yourself sick eating a huge batch at one time. I would suggest, for the sake of your stomach and your waistline, to stick to a spoonful of this magical mixture, then return it to the fridge for safe keeping. For someone who always has to end the night on something sweet, this has proven to be the perfect solution!

Edible Raw Sugar Cookie Dough
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
What most people don't know is that uncooked flour can be a source of E.coli. To make this cookie dough safe to eat raw, toasting the flour is key.
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon high-quality vanilla
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  1. Heat oven to 300°F. Place flour on ungreased cookie sheet. Toast flour in oven for 10 minutes, stirring twice during baking.
  2. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar 2 to 3 minutes or until well combined and fluffy. Beat in the milk, vanilla and salt until well combined.
  3. Cool flour 10 minutes after toasting. Add to butter mixture and beat until well combined. Spoon into a jar with lid. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.


Oatmeal, Dark Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies

January 24, 2014

Now that January is almost over I’m allowed to start posting cookie recipes again, right? Right. After all, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means all resolutions to eat less sweets will pretty much be thrown out the window in favor of chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.

I never get sick of the process of baking cookies. Something about creaming the butter together with sugar, listening to the hum of the electric mixer, seeing the dough come together, it’s all incredibly relaxing. Despite the fact that I cook and bake and create recipes for a living, I still find that my greatest source of relaxation is having time to work in the kitchen without being rushed. Taking my time, sipping coffee as I work, listening to music drifting through the house. It’s not always that way, with the rushed dinner making on weeknights and frantic effort to get a million things done in a very short amount of time, which makes the relaxed moments just that much sweeter.

The only thing better than a slow and lazy day of baking is a hot bath. I’m convinced that a hot bath cures almost anything. But that really has nothing to do with cookies, so….

These cookies! They’re absolutely amazing. They’re based on my mom’s favorite cookie recipe from Ina Garten, but instead of adding semi-sweet chocolate and raisins and pecans, I added dark chocolate morsels and dried cranberries. They’re sweet and salty and tangy all in a single bite. Crisp around the edges and chewy in the center, as all good cookies should be, in my opinion.

If you’re looking for a cookie that’s fancy and impressive enough to serve as dessert at a dinner party, this would be the cookie. They’re large, bakery-style cookies and go perfectly with a cup of decaf espresso. Something about serving cookies for dessert just puts everyone at ease, doesn’t it? So go, bake some cookies this weekend, have a friend over for coffee and eat cookies while catching up on life.

Oatmeal, Dark Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 3/4 cup dark chocolate morsels
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Heat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined. 

In large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat until just combined. Beat in the oatmeal, followed by the chocolate morsels and dried cranberries.

Use a small ice cream scoop or two large spoons to scoop mounds of dough onto baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake 14 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Happy Baking!

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