Who can resist a perfectly executed crème brûlée? A little espresso powder tempers the inherent sweetness and richness of this timeless dessert. Indulging has never been so easy.
In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and pinch of salt together until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, scramble the egg using a fork until well mixed. Add the milk and ½ of the egg to the creamed butter and mix until emulsified.
Add the baking soda, flour, and cocoa powder and mix just until combined. Shape the batter into 1 log, roughly 10- to 12-inches long and 1 ½-inches thick. Wrap the log in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper. On a cutting board, slice the unwrapped log of dough into ¼-inch-thick slices. Place the slices on the cookie sheet, leaving about ½-inch of space between them.
Gently brush with the remaining egg and lightly sprinkle some coarse sea salt on each cookie. Transfer to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until the edges are starting to brown. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
In a saucepan, bring the heavy cream, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, vanilla bean, and espresso powder to a simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk the yolks, cinnamon, nutmeg, and another 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl.
Slowly add the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Place six 4-ounce shallow crème brûlée molds in a deep, ovenproof pan. Carefully fill each mold with the custard, divided equally, just below the rim. Fill the deep pan with hot water just to reach up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil.
Carefully move the pan into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, or until softly set. The custards may slightly jiggle in the center when done (browning indicates overcooking). Carefully remove from the oven. Using a metal spatula, remove the custards from the water bath to a working surface, and let cool for 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to serve. Chill for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.
To serve, arrange the chilled custard on a baking sheet. Preheat the broiler. Spread a thin layer of the remaining sugar over the top of each custard and place under the broiler until the sugar is evenly caramelized. Serve immediately with sablée cookies.