coffee bow ties

This is basically a cookie baked within another cookie, creating a bow tie effect. Pretty snazzy, huh? It was inspired by a recipe called Brownie Bow Ties, from the book Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich.

She basically took a cream cheese cookie dough (kolacky, rugelach), but instead of filling them with jam, she filled them with brownie batter! I didn’t change much except for swapping the brownie part for a soft coffee cookie dough, and reducing the number of cookies while increasing the amount of cream cheese dough per cookie. This made them easier to handle, and I didn’t mind having a thicker cookie since the dough produces very tasty and flaky cookies!

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I was planning to make other flavored fillings, but after a few failed attempts, I felt it was better to just cut my losses and go with what worked! What I like most about these is that they keep fairly well for a few days if kept in an airtight container, and the coffee flavor remains strong but not overpowering. It also complements the flaky outer cream cheese part very well, I think.

coffee bow ties (adapted from this recipe, makes 18 three-inch cookies)


for the cream cheese dough:

1 and 1/4 cups (150 grams) all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
4 ounces (112 grams) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized portions, cold
4 ounces (112 grams) cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes, cold

for the coffee filling:

1 ounce (28 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ounce (28 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
2 (56 grams) ounces confectioners sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons coffee extract
1 and 1/2 teaspoons fine espresso powder
1 large egg, cold
1/2 cup (60 grams) all-purpose flour
2 pinches of salt


make the cream cheese dough:

Place the flour, salt, and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix it briefly to distribute the ingredients.

Add the butter first to the flour ingredients and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles very coarse bread crumbs with a few larger pieces of butter that are about half-inch in diameter. Add the cream cheese and continue to mix on low speed just until most of the flour is moistened with the butter and cream cheese and clumps together when pressed, about 30 seconds.

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Scrape all contents of the bowl to a work surface and knead a little just to incorporate any loose bits into the dough.

Divide dough into two equal patties or discs that are about 4 inches in diameter. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 3 days.

make the coffee filling:

In a medium bowl, add the butter and cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer briefly, then add the confectioners sugar and brown sugar until the sugar is incorporated into the butter/cream cheese.

Add the coffee extract and egg yolks and blend in until mixture has a consistent color.

Lastly, fold in the all-purpose flour and salt until all the dry ingredients are moistened and dough is consistent. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours up to 1 day.

assembly and baking:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take out one disc of dough from the refrigerator, leaving the other disc of dough and the coffee filling dough in the refrigerator until ready to be used, and begin shaping it into a square initially by forming four sides, pressing each side down into a very lightly floured counter or work surface to create corners. Once you have a square, begin rolling it out evenly until it is a larger 9-inch square.

Use a measuring tape or ruler to ensure it is of even thickness and that it is exactly 9-inches on each side, with 90 degree angles on each corner. The thickness or height should be between 1/4-1/2 inch. If dough is getting too warm, briefly refrigerate.

Once dough is rolled out and formed into a 9-inch square, divide into nine 3” squares, again using a measuring tape or ruler to ensure the evenness and uniformity of each square.

Once again, if dough is getting too soft or warm, place it back in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to harden.

Remove coffee filling from the fridge only when ready to use. Place 1 teaspoon of coffee filling in the center of each cookie square and fold one corner of the cream cheese dough to the center of the coffee filling. One teaspoon of the coffee filling part may not look like a lot, but it will spread close to the edges sufficiently. If you add more than a teaspoon, however, it will end up pouring out the sides of the cookie, and they won’t look like neat little bow ties, but you can trim them with a knife.

Using a small glass or saucer of water by your side, wet your finger and use it to moisten the opposite corner of the cream cheese dough and fold it to the center over the first corner, pressing it down slightly over the first corner to help them stick together. Place them evenly spread out on one of the prepared baking sheets. Return coffee filling back in the fridge and repeat the process with the second disc of dough.

When you have formed all cookies, work on the other disc of dough and do the same. After forming all the cookies, briefly place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.

When ready to be baked, you can bake one sheet at a time, or both at once if your oven has space, but make sure and rotate the sheets front to back and switch racks midway through the baking time to ensure even baking. I didn’t want to mess with this, so just baked one baking sheet of 9 cookies at a time. You may be able to fit all of the cookies on one baking sheet too.

Bake for about 25 minutes until very lightly golden browned. Remove from the oven and let sit on a wire rack to cool. Serve as is, or after a light dusting of confectioners sugar, if desired. Can be stored at room temperature for a few days.

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