With Gail Simmons’ cocoa cup recipe you can have your espresso martini and eat it too

by ZeuCer

We’re accustomed to seeing espresso martinis on a dessert menu.

While the drink itself can be thought of as an after-dinner delight, Top Chef judge Gail Simmons is revolutionizing the cocktail with a home-baked edible stemless cocoa cups. So you can drink your martini and eat it too.

“Around the holidays there’s so much cookie baking and cookie swapping going on and also cocktail nights with family and friends,” Simmons tells USA TODAY. “I thought, ‘Why not combine it all make it a little customizable so that everybody could have a say in how they want it make it beautiful, make it fun, but also a little bit sophisticated.’ “

Gail Simmons decorating an espresso martini cup

The cookie cups can be made at home with an array of ingredients that are also available in a kit from Cocktail Courier, along with the ingredients for an espresso martini according to coffee liqueur brand Kahlúa’s recipe.

And, the recipe is good for all levels of at-home chefs.

“It’s all very easy, very approachable. It’s made in muffin tin,” Simmons says. “You don’t need any other special equipment. And it’s all very doable even for an amateur baker.”

And, while they’re perfect for espresso martinis, the cups work well for other holiday delights, too. Perhaps hot chocolate, for example, for those who might not be drinking alcohol, or maybe a scoop of ice cream or a mousse.

Kahlúa and Simmons shared the recipes for the cups and the martini with USA TODAY.

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Gail Simmons’ Kahlúa Espresso Martini Stemless Cocoa Cups

Makes: 12 cups


  • 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 1⁄2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1⁄2 cups flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
  • Dried beans or pie weights for baking
  • 1 cup white or dark chocolate chips, baking chunks, or roughly chopped chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, or neutral oil like canola

Optional ingredients for garnish:

  • Crushed candy canes
  • Chopped hazelnuts
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Red sprinkles


  1. Prepare the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin by greasing lightly with butter, making sure to cover the sides evenly.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Whisk until smooth. Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, whisking until combined.
  3. In another medium bowl, gently mix together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and espresso powder until just combined. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, mixing until smooth. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and form it into a disk; wrap tightly. Chill until the dough is firm, at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of each muffin cup and up the sides. Using your fingers, smooth the dough in each cup so that it is as even and thin as possible. You can even try to lightly butter the bottom of a 1/4-cup measure and press it into each cup to smooth the bottom and sides. Line each cup of dough with a small piece of aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Gently remove the foil and beans, and bake another 10 minutes. Transfer each cup to a baking rack to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small microwave-proof bowl, melt 1 cup of chocolate with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in 20 second intervals until smooth. Using a small spoon, spread about a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom and up the sides of each cup in a thin, even layer.
  6. Dip the rim of each cup into remaining chocolate and immediately into a plate of sugar or candy decoration of choice. Refrigerate the cups until the chocolate is set. Fill each with a 2-ounce Kahlúa Espresso Martini and garnish as desired.

Kahlúa Espresso Martini


  • 1 part Kahlúa
  • 1 part Absolut Vodka (or vodka of your choice)
  • 1 part espresso
  • 3 whole coffee beans


  1. Add Kahlúa, Absolut Vodka, espresso and ice to a shaker.
  2. Shake for 15 – 20 seconds, for that velvety foam.
  3. Strain into a stemless cocoa cup or martini glass.
  4. Garnish with 3 coffee beans for good luck.

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