Let butter soften at room temperature out on the counter, but not melted.
Add flour, salt, cocoa powder and espresso ground into a small mixing bowl, mix well to distribute thoroughly. Set aside.
Add sugar, soften butter and vanilla extract to the stand mixer bowl and beat with the paddle attachment at medium low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Reduce mixer to low speed, and slowly add the flour mixture. Gradually increase mixer speed to medium and mix until dough comes together. It should pull away from the side of the mixing bowl.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board or counter top, and shape into a disk or rectangle.
Wrap well with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Roll dough to about 1/4” thick and cut out cookies with desired cookie cutter. Re-roll the scrap dough and cut out more cookies until finished. A 2” cookie cutter will make a dozen cookies.
Place the cookies in a container in layers, with parchment paper in between, and freeze for 30 minutes to 1 hour. If your freezer is large enough to accommodate a baking sheet, arrange the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze.
Preheat oven to 350°F while the cookies are resting in the freezer.
When the oven is ready, place cookies on a parchment line baking sheet an inch or two apart if frozen in a container, sprinkle granulated sugar over the top of cookies generously and bake for 16 minutes.
Remove from the oven, let rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.