Espresso Thins Icebox Cookies

If you think you’ve got every cookie you will ever need in your holiday cookie recipe file, think again. Holiday Cookies Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season has now at least doubled my cookie recipe repertoire.

What is black cocoa Icebox Cookies Make ahead cookies Holiday Cookies Cookbook

Icebox Cookies were so named because they could be made ahead and kept in the ice box or refrigerator as we now call it. Typically, the dough is made from a butter base and then rolled into a log shape. The result is kept tightly wrapped in the fridge until company pops in and you need fresh cookies.

Espresso Thins Icebox Cookies Cacao Nibs What is Black Cocoa

I happened to find some black cocoa at the bulk food store the other day and figured hey – why not? The original recipe calls for Dutch process cocoa powder. Turns out, my random substitution worked beautifully.
In case you’re wondering what the difference is between all of the cocoa powders you see, basically fall into two camps. Natural cocoa powder is just that – untouched. It is generally lighter and is often used in recipes calling for baking soda.
Dutch process is much darker. It has been treated with an alkaline solution to make it less acidic and is often used in recipes using baking powder. So what’s black cocoa then? Essentially, really Dutch-ed cocoa. David Lebovitz offers a really in depth article of the science behind it all.

Coffee Cup Espresso Thins Icebox Cookies Cacao Nibs

But, back to the espresso thins and the cookbook they came from. The recipes in Holiday Cookies really are accessible for the average home baker. Perhaps the most complex creation is the gingerbread house at the very end. And even that comes with a template to use. I have found that instructions are clear, the times listed are accurate, and the quantity yields are spot on. This one stays on the bookshelf.

Espresso Thins

Course Dessert
Servings 48 cookies
Author Elisabet der Nederlanden


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs, lightly crushed
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • Dutch process cocoa powder, for dusting


  1. Mix together flour, espresso powder, and salt

  2. Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, cream together butter and icing sugar.  Add vanilla, cacao nibs, and chocolate chips and mix until just combined

  3. Add dry ingredients and continue mixing until dough comes together

  4. Scrape dough onto non-stick or flour covered work surface.  Divide in half.  Roll each half into equal size logs

  5. Sprinkle cocoa powder on the work surface and roll each log in the powder

  6. Tightly wrap each log in plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours

  7. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Slice cookies into approximately 1/4" thick rounds  Place on parchment lined baking sheets

  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes until just firm.  Cool on wire rack. 

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