S’mores Cookies

S'mores cookies

 

When I was a kid, I had the greatest time being a Brownie and then a Girl Scout. Now that my daughter Sammie is also a Brownie, I sometimes find myself thinking back to those days. One thing I loved about being a Girl Scout was camping.  Okay, so not in a tent in the grass but in a cabin on a cot, cooking our food by campfire, hiking, and horseback riding. That’s roughing it, right? At least kind of? A few things immediately come to mind from my Girl Scout days: one is sharing all those experiences with one of my best friends, Sara, and roasting marshmallows by campfire with sing alongs and ghost stories. What kind of Girl Scout would one be without a love for s’mores? Well, I do know one who doesn’t. My daughter. She just doesn’t like graham crackers, nor does my oldest son. When they go camping with my husband ( I “volunteer” to stay home with our 3 year old son), they have roasted marshmallows on fudge striped cookies. But, I just adore this flavor combination, so I had to find a way my kids could enjoy it too. A couple years ago, I found these s’mores cookies and I’ve made them several times since.  They are so delicious, but they somehow got lost in all the other baking I do. The base is essentially the same as that of a regular chocolate chip cookie, but you replace some flour with graham cracker crumbs. In the last few minutes of baking, you press a few marshmallows and some Hershey chocolate bar pieces into the top of the cookie. They are then finished in the oven until the marshmallows are gooey and the chocolate is melted just enough to stick. In the end, you get a fun cookie totally tasting like smore’s that I just know your kids, or the kid in you, will love.

S’mores cookies

Yield:  Recipe says 4 dozen, I got 26 but made mine quite a bit larger.

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour   + 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 cup graham cracker crumbs   I bought mine as crumbs but you can process some graham crackers until they are crumbs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract   I used vanilla bean paste
2 eggs
2 cups miniature chocolate chips  I prefer chopped chocolate: 1 cup semi-sweet and 1/2 cup milk chocolate
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 Hershey milk chocolate bars, chopped   I used 4.5 bars

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of your KitchenAid, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy.

Add the eggs in one at a time and beat well after each addition

Slowly beat in the flour mixture until combined

Stir in the chocolate chips or chunks by hand with a rubber spatula until evenly distributed

Drop by a rounded tablespoon onto the prepared cookie sheet. I used a 1.5 tablespoon ice cream scoop so I got fewer, but larger cookies. I got 9 cookies on a sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes (mine were 9 min) and remove from the oven.  They should be underdone.

Press 4 marshmallows and some pieces of Hershey bar into each cookie.

Return the cookie sheet to the oven to bake another 3-4 minutes until almost completely cooked. They will finish cooking on the cookie sheet for about 2-3 minutes.  Do not over-bake.

Remove the cookies from the sheet and cool them on a wire rack.

Source:  Two Peas and Their Pod; originally from Baked Perfection

Note: These recipes were exactly the same except for the amount of flour. The original recipe calls for 1.5 cups of flour and the Two Peas recipe calls for 2 cups. I split the difference and used 1 3/4 cup of flour. It turned out perfect for me.

“Black” and White Cookies

"Black" and White Cookies

I must admit, I am a total magazine junkie. I have like 10-12 subscriptions going at a time. Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, Taste of Home, Taste of the South, All-You, Simple and Delicious, Woman’s Day…..As if I have time to read them all. I usually keep them in a stack on my nightstand and try to read one before bed. I was flipping through Good Housekeeping recently and I saw this recipe for “black and white” cookies. I have made true black and whites before, but the spring colors on these really caught my eye.  Why didn’t I think of this?  There is no chocolate frosting, much to my husband’s delight.  Instead you have half white and half a pretty pastel or whatever color you choose. How cute!

Justin was gone all weekend coaching his high school team in the national scholastic bowl tournament, so I decided to bring the kids to my parents for the day.  When I show up with all 3 kids, I feel like I need to bring some type of baked good as peace offering. 🙂 So, I got up super early and started these cookies. They were all baked and I was just starting to frost them when my 3 year old son and 7 year old daughter woke up. Oh boy. Now, I had to work quickly and so sorry, the frosting job isn’t the best. I let my daughter frost the last few cookies while I took pictures and left those home for Justin, taking the rest to my parents. When I got home, I just walked in the door and Justin was asking “Where are the rest of those cookies?!  They are like bakery quality!”  I was glad to hear that because when I first made them, I was disappointed when I tried them..too powder sugary. Ugh, the wasted time and ingredients. But, after they set for about 6 hours or so, the flavors combine nicely and they were just delicious. They are super soft, cake-like actually. And the frosting is thick and sweet, with a pretty sheen. These cookies are quite a PITA kind of project, but given Justin says they are the best thing I have made all year, I believe I will be making them again soon.  Father’s Day perhaps??

“Black” and White Cookies
Yield: 36 cookies   I only got 24 cookies, but I think I made them too big

For the cookies:

2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk, well shaken

Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a cookie sheet(s) with parchment. I prefer to bake cookies 1 sheet at a time.
In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt with a whisk.
In the bowl of your KitchAid, on medium with the paddle, beat butter and granulated sugar ~3 minutes or until fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time.
With the mixer on low, add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk. Begin and end with the flour mixture.  I did 3 additions of flour, separated by 2 buttermilk. 
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheet(s).
Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until golden, rotating the sheet(s) halfway through.
Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack- bottoms up.

For the glaze:    (or this one)

1 pound powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons of milk   (not nearly enough, I added 6 tablespoons total)
2 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
Assorted food colorings   Americolor is best

In a bowl, with your hand mixer or KitchAid on low, beat the powdered sugar, corn syrup, milk, and salt until smooth.
Start with the 2 tablespoons milk called for in the recipe and add 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the right consistency. You want it spreadable, but not thin.  I added 6 tablespoons total.
Keep 1/2 of the icing white in the mixing bowl.
The other half of the icing can be divided into bowls and dyed with food coloring as desired.
Spread the icing on the cookie’s flat sides. I did the white first, then the colored side.
Let set 30 minutes.

Source:  Good Housekeeping, Note: the online recipe left the milk out of the glaze.

 

 

 

 

What’s Baking Red Velvet Round-Up

February was my month to host our What’s Baking blog group. I chose red velvet as the theme because it only seemed fitting with Valentine’s Day.  And, I realized, I haven’t baked anything red velvet and it’s about time I did. I just love the contrast of the bright white cream cheese frosting to the red velvet base- whether it be cake, cookies, brownies or whatever.  And, the chocolate flavor is so mild, even my husband can enjoy it and he did indeed.

Whats Baking Badge

My good friend Eva, of Eva Bakes, made these amazing looking red velvet marble brownies.  I almost made brownies too, but at the last-minute went with cookies instead. These look so crazy delicious that I had to put them to the top of my baking to do list.

Red velvet cheesecake brownies by Eva Bakes

Alison, of Sparks from the Kitchen, made red velvet cookie bars with vanilla bean frosting.  Butter cream frosting is always made better by the addition of real vanilla bean and these look delicious. I have never made the red velvet version, but frosted sugar cookie bars are one of my favorite things to bake. Why?  Because they have the taste of soft frosted sugar cookie with much less work and my family absolutely loves them. My husband has been known to eat most of the pan himself.

Red Velvet Cookie Bars - Sparks from the Kitchen

Nicole, of Seven Ate Nine (can’t help but love this blog name), made Red Velvet Cake Batter Squares.  She had these bars at her rehearsal dinner at The Blue Willow Inn almost 5 years ago and was able to recreate them from the inn’s cookbook. I love how food can bring you back to a day and you can almost relieve that memory as you eat it.  And, I also love that these bars have just 5 ingredients.  I mean really, it can’t get any easier than that!

Red Velvet Cake Batter Squares- Seven Eight Nine

Ange, of The Tiny Tyrant’s Kitchen, made red velvet chocolate chip cookies.  Chocolate chip cookies have always been my favorite dessert to eat. I have never had red velvet chocolate chip cookies before but I’m thinking that should change.  Ange had the same problem I did.  Our red velvet wasn’t as red as we would have liked because of the brown color of the cocoa. But, never mind that because these look delicious.

Red velvet chocolate chip cookies- The Tiny Tyrant's Kitchen

Carrie, from Carrie’s Sweet Life, made a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting for her grandmother’s birthday. Until now, Carrie had the same problem I do, and that is finding a homemade cake that she likes. I have found homemade cake to be too dense or too dry. This is the cake that changed all that for Carrie… as it was moist, the frosting wasn’t too sweet..in other words perfection.  I’ll have to give it a try. I have been meaning to make a layer cake so I can use the beautiful and incredibly thoughtful engraved cake server set my husband gave me for reaching a million views in November.  Awww…

Red Velvet Cake from Carrie's Sweet life

And, I made soft red velvet sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting.  In this house, we love soft, frosted sugar cookies.  So, I thought a red velvet version would be just perfect. And, I was so right. These cookies were amazing. They were really soft, with a hint of cocoa, and the most delicious cream cheese frosting.  Honestly, there aren’t too many recipes I make more than once because there are just so many I want to try.  But, I see more of these cookies in my future. So delicious and pretty too.

Soft red velvet sugar cookies with crea cheese frosting

Soft Red Velvet Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Soft red velvet sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting

February is my month to host the group, What’s Baking.  With Valentine’s Day and all, I thought red velvet would be appropriate.  I don’t think I have ever made anything red velvet. I’m really not sure why. But, it’s been on my baking to do list for a long time, so let’s cross this one off.

I had a hard time figuring out what to bake. Brownies, cookies, cake, cupcakes?  So, many to choose from. But, if you’ve been here before, you know my family’s love for soft, frosted sugar cookies. You know, the Lofthouse style ones? I finally came across these red velvet cookies with cream cheese frosting and immediately knew they were it.  Have you ever visited the blog Cooking Classy?  If not, you totally should.  Jaclyn’s pictures are just beautiful and everything she bakes looks amazing.  I can’t tell you how many things I’ve pinned.  Now, I just need to find the time…

These cookies were easy enough to make.  But, I think I should have used regular cocoa versus the Dutch processed.  The color would have been more red and a bit less muddled. But, I guess that’s just aesthetics and I need to get over it. For Jaclyn’s cookies, it looks like she frosted them by hand. I can never make my cookies look nice that way, so I chose to pipe them instead.  I pulled out like 10 different colors of sprinkles, but I loved the white against the white frosting.  Then, I decided white sprinkles weren’t enough, so I added some disco dust for sparkle. Disco dust…say what?  I have never heard of it before either. It’s edible glitter and it will make your cookies look beautiful.

The verdict? My husband and kids absolutely loved them. I had 21 cookies yesterday and only 4 today.  These cookies are really soft, with just a hint of chocolate which pairs perfectly with the sweet cream cheese frosting.  If you haven’t made anything red velvet, or you have and you’re crazy for it, make these cookies. You’ll love them. Promise.  Another keeper for me.

Stay tuned for the round up of all the yummy red velvet desserts….I can’t wait to see what everyone made!

Whats Baking Badge

Soft Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield:  16 cookies ( I got 21)

Cookies:

2 1/4 cups cake flour

3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder    I used Valrhona Dutched

2 tsp cornstarch

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

1/4 cup vegetable shortening  I like Crisco sticks- more accurate and less mess

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract   (I used 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp vanilla paste)

1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar

Red food coloring   I used ~ 1.5 tsp of AmeriColor Super Red Gel Paste

Sprinkles,  if desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened (I used unsalted and added a pinch of salt)

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder and salt until well combined.  Although the directions didn’t say, I sifted the mixture because my cocoa was lumpy. Set aside the flour mixture.

In the bowl of your KitchenAid mixer, blend the butter, shortening and sugar with the paddle attachment until light-colored and fluffy, ~ 3 minutes.  Mix in the egg, then the egg white, vanilla, vinegar (or lemon juice) and food coloring.

With your mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure every last bit is incorporated.

Cover your mixing bowl with plastic wrap. Chill x 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Remove the dough from the fridge. Shape the dough into ~ 3 Tbsp balls. I got 8 cookies per sheet. Grease or lightly wet your hands and press the dough down to about 1/2-inch high.

Bake ~9 to 11 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet halfway through the bake time.  Remove the sheet from the oven and cool the cookies on the baking sheet ~2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

In the bowl of your KitchenAid, with the whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese and butter until light-colored and fluffy.  Blend in the vanilla. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, blending until well combined and fluffy. I added about 1 tsp half and half to thin the frosting out a bit to make piping easier. 

Source:  Cooking Classy

Soft red velvet cookies with cream cheese frosting

Soft and Chewy Double Chocolate M&M Cookies

Soft and Chewy Double Chocolate M&M Cookies

My daughter loves to bake with me. Last weekend, she asked if we could make some cookies. So I pulled up my Pinterest cookie board and told her to pick one.  She is a total chocolate lover like her mom, so these were an easy choice for her.  Chocolate + cookies + M&Ms? It doesn’t get much better for a 6-year-old.   We set to work, her measuring and pouring and then her aunt called.  She is crazy about her aunt, so the cookie idea was quickly abandoned for girl talk.  She was sad that after her 20 minute phone call, I had finished the batter and had a sheet in the oven.  Well, the type A in me could not leave cookie dough unfinished.  But, no worries. All was forgiven when she tasted this cookie.  Sammie said “I have to say, my taste buds went on a yummy trip”.  I love this girl!  And I have to agree. These were some delicious cookies. The cookie base was very brownie-like and chewy. The M&Ms gave a nice pop of chocolate flavor and just look adorable anyways.  This one is definitely a keeper. A good lunch box cookie for sure. 

Soft and Chewy Double Chocolate M&M Cookies
Yield: 24 cookies.  I only got 18.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder   I used Valrhona Dutch Processed
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini M&Ms   I used 3/4 cups:   1/2 cup for the dough and 1/4 cup to press into the top of the dough

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper.  I never bake more than one batch of cookies at a time.

In a medium bowl, sift the following together:  flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.  I almost never sift, but when cocoa powder is involved, I do because it is always so lumpy. In the bowl of your KitchenAid with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy, ~3 minutes. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla.  With the mixer on low,  add the dry ingredients a little at a time, beating until just combined.  Stir in the mini M&M’s by hand with a rubber spatula.  I would add about 1/2 cup to dough and reserve 1/4 cup to press into the top of the cookies after they are portioned. They look prettier this way.

Using a small cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Press the reserved M&Ms into the top of each ball. About 5 or 6 should do it. Bake for about 8 minutes (rotating your cookie sheet(s) halfway) or until the edges of the cookies are set.  The centers may look a bit underdone – but they will finish baking on the cookie sheet. Please do not over bake! No one likes dry, burnt cookies.  Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheets.  Remove the cookies from the sheets and allow to cool completely, if you can wait, on a wire rack.

Source:  Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Sprinkles Cookies

Sprinkle cookies

Hello!  I’m sorry to have been gone so long.  I’ve really missed you and my blog….and I just had to share these sprinkles cookies from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.  I was scanning through Pinterest and the cuteness of these cookies caught my eye.  You know I’m always a sucker for sprinkles. Reading through the recipe, I was intrigued by the buttery sweet dough emulsion it called for.  Have you ever heard of this?  No?  Me neither.  Kristan said you could find it at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, but I could not.  And, while she said the ingredient was optional, it was not going to be for me.  I get my mind set on something and that’s it, it’s happening.  So, I just ordered it on Amazon and thank goodness with Prime I only had to wait 2 days.  Was it worth it?  Yes!  I loved the flavor it gave the cookies.  It’s the flavor of bakery cookies, you know the one you just can’t put your finger on and can’t seem to replicate? This is it.

At first, I thought these cookies were too sweet and I was disappointed. But, I swear, overnight some magical transformation took place and they were just perfect.  The cookie is buttery and soft.  The glaze hardens, adding sweetness and serving as glue for all those crunchy sprinkles.  My kids and husband went crazy for these, eating a fistful at a time.  I got about 50 adorable cookies, but that was not nearly enough. These cookies barely made it a day in this sugar-cookie-loving house.  Note to self: double recipe next time, okay?

Sprinkles Cookies

Yield: ~ 3 dozen ( I got 50)

Cookies

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp buttery sweet dough emulsion  optional

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Glaze:

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 tsp almond or vanilla extract  – clear if you want white glaze

3 oz jar rainbow nonpareils

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of your Kitchenaid, beat butter and sugar, on medium, until light and fluffy, ~ 3 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, and buttery sweet dough emulsion, if using. Beat until combined.

On low, slowly add the flour mixture. Mix until a smooth dough forms.

Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour minimum.  I took the dough out of the bowl, shaped it into a thick rectangle and wrapped it in Saran Wrap.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness on lightly floured counter or pastry mat. I found this dough to be crazy sticky- be liberal with the flour.  

Cut using a 2 1/2 inch round cutter. I used a 2 1/4 inch scalloped cutter.  Place on baking sheet ~1 inch apart. They don’t spread so you can fit a lot of cookies on a sheet.

Bake for 6 minutes. Watch carefully. There should be little to no color.  Remove and let cool completely on wire rack.

For the glaze:

In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, water and vanilla extract until smooth.  You may need to add water to get the glaze consistency you want.

Dip the cookies in the glaze face down, letting the excess drip off.

Place the dipped cookies on a wire rack set over wax paper and sprinkle liberally. Let set for about an hour before serving.

Source:  Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Sprinkles cookies

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

This was not what I was going to blog today. I made this zebra bundt cake, coloring the white part orange, so it would be black and orange striped for Halloween.  Cool right?  Well, it would have been if the whole top of the cake didn’t stick to the pan.  Oh, and then it broke into 3 pieces after that.  Damn, it tasted good and the stripes looked awesome too.  Bundts for some reason always give me trouble.  I have a Nordic Ware pan, I use Pam baking spray plus flour, take the cake out at 15 minutes exactly, and about 50% of the time, I still get major stickage.  So, if anyone has any tips for me I would be glad to hear them.  It is just maddening.

No way I was going to attempt another bundt, so I decided to make cookies.  I scanned through my cookies board on Pinterest and I was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw these Oreo cheesecake cookies.  After reading through the recipe, though, I thought there must be a mistake.  It doesn’t have any eggs and no leavener either.  Weird.  But, I followed the blog trail all the way back to the original recipe and it was correct.  I was a bit hesitant to make them, but they sounded so good (and quick and easy) that I decided to give them a try.  I’m glad I did.  When you bite into them, you get a slight crunch around the outside and almost a creaminess on the inside.  You can taste the tang from the cream cheese and of course, the just plain deliciousness of Oreos.  I mean, really…Oreos, cheesecake, and cookies?  There can’t be too many better combinations.  Okay, maybe chocolate and peanut butter.

So, since I messed up my Halloween themed post, I will leave you with a Happy Halloween from Jack, Sammie and Alex.  Well, maybe just Jack and Sammie.  Baby Alex is not at all happy.

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Yield: 12 to 15 cookies (I got 14)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1 cup crushed Oreo’s (roughly 8 – 10 Oreo cookies)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.

In a food processor, process the Oreo cookies until they are fine crumbs. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the softened butter and cream cheese until smooth and well combined.

Add the sugar and vanilla.  Beat until well incorporated.

On low, mix in the flour. With a spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop the dough with a medium cookie scoop.  Place the dough in your hands and roll it into a ball.  Roll the dough in the Oreo crumbs, covering it completely.

Place the Oreo coated ball of dough on the prepared cookie sheet.  Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Remove from the oven when you see the edges just starting to brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.  Transfer to cool completely on a wire rack covered with a paper towel.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Source:  Table for Two (as seen on Brown Eyed Baker and Two Peas and Their Pod), original source: Multiply Delicious

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I keep seeing the same recipe for “The best chocolate chip cookie” all over Pinterest.  And well, no wonder, this chocolate chip cookie recipe has been viewed over 1.6 million times!!  Wow!  Well, I figured there must be something special about this recipe, so I had to make it and find out. Looking at the ingredient list, it includes all the usual stuff, but then there is cornstarch.  I’ve never seen cornstarch in a chocolate chip cookie recipe before.  I know you can make a cake flour substitute by adding cornstarch to flour and this must be the same idea.  The cornstarch contributes to their super soft texture and gives them their “puff”.   And, since I am in the soft chocolate chip cookie camp (crisp cookies? Yuck!), that is exactly what I am looking for.  I subbed in chocolate chunks cut from a Callebaut semisweet bar for the chocolate chips.  Without the stabilizers in the chunks, the chocolate can’t hold its shape, so it is all melty and gooey.  Have you ever tried this?  No?  You totally have to!

So, the verdict?  I have tried tons of chocolate chip recipes.  I mean, they are my absolute favorite cookies and all.  But, are they the best?  I almost never say that because there are still so many recipes still to try.  But, I will say they are pretty darn good.  Soft, thick and puffy, packed with melted chocolate chunks, still warm from the oven…. Do chocolate chip cookies get much better?  Jack and Sammie don’t think so.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen I got 21- though I had to throw the last 3 away because dang, I forgot about them and they burned 😦

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks-  I used Callebaut semisweet cut from a bar
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle, cream together butter and both sugars until fluffy and light colored.  Blend in the egg and vanilla.
Mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.   Mix the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture by hand.  Stir in chocolate chunks.   The batter is very stiff.
Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just barely golden brown around the edges.  Do not allow the cookies to brown on top, just the very edges.
Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes to set.  Remove from the baking sheet and let cool completely on the wire rack, if you can wait.
Source:  Apple a Day, Originally from Anna Olson, Food Network Canada

M&M Confetti Cookies

I know I have said this before, but I ♥ Pinterest.   Once I get started, I can stay up way late into the night, just scrolling through the food category, telling myself just one more page, and then another, and another… I am so tired and I have to get up with the baby early in the morning and yet, I keep on scrolling.  I know I am not the only one.  I’m not, right?  There are just too many great ideas and amazing looking recipes.  Awhile back, I came across these M & M confetti cookies and pinned the recipe because I thought it was so clever.  Instead of throwing whole M & Ms into your cookie dough, you bang the hell out of them with a stick (Burbs anyone? 😀 ) to create chocolate and candy coating confetti.  In Munchkin Munchie’s recipe, she added the confetti to sugar cookie dough.  And, while these look delicious, I decided to add them to one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie dough bases, replacing the chocolate chips.  So fun looking right?  You get the look of sprinkles and milk chocolate in every bite of this perfectly chewy cookie.  Definitely another keeper for Jack’s lunch box.

M&M Confetti Cookies

Makes about 18 large cookies.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar     I use light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 oz bag of M & Ms, crushed (more or less to your liking)

Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, the yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed (or mix by hand with a spatula) just until combined. Crush the M & Ms in a big Ziploc bag with a rolling pin (or any other heavy object you have handy) . Stir in the crushed M & Ms.

Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. (Or, if you prefer,  you can just use a large cookie scoop to portion the dough.)  Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.  See Brown Eyed Baker’s Blog for a good illustration of this shaping method.  

Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, the outer edges start to harden, and  yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Make sure you cool them on the sheet to maintain the right texture.  Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a wide metal spatula.

Source:  The New Best Recipe for the cookie base and  Munchkin Munchies for the M & M confetti

Homemade Funfetti Sandwich Cookies

I have to say, I am glad summer is almost over. It has been so crazy hot here in Chicago, it was really hard to do anything outdoors.  With the end of summer, of course, comes the kids going back to school.  My daughter Sammie was excited to start kindergarten (okay, excited to ride the bus) and my son Jack, just started 2nd grade.  Jack is not a big fan of hot lunch, probably because he is so darn picky.  Since he won’t eat most of what I make, he sure isn’t going to eat cafeteria food.  So, Jack brings the same plain old turkey sandwich (no cheese, can this really be my son?) everyday, a bag of chips and a dessert. When I saw these cookies on Pink Parsley, I knew it would be a fun dessert that he would love and maybe for a second, know that I was thinking of him as he ate it.

The dough is like the usual sugar cookie recipe, but the addition of cake flour makes these cookies a bit softer.  The dough is pretty sticky, so you’ll have to allow at least one half hour of refrigeration before scooping and baking the cookies.  Once the cookies cool, you make a delicious butter cream that you can either spread on with a knife or pipe on.  Personally, I find piping to be much easier and it’s prettier too. When Jack got home from school, he couldn’t wait until tomorrow. He just had to try a cookie now. I think I counted a dozen Mmmms before I stopped counting.  And, I can’t forget my Sammie. She loved them too, especially the pink frosting.  Since she is in kindergarten, we get to have lunch together everyday, usually Rice-A-Roni at her request.  Well, besides her company, at least now I have dessert to look forward to.

Homemade Funfetti Sandwich Cookies

Yield: I got 48 cookies, 24 sandwiches

The cookie:

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened to room temperature

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp melted butter

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

2 cups cake flour

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup colored sprinkles

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle, cream the butter and the sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the vanilla, melted butter, whole egg and yolk. Mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.

Combine the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing on low until just combined.  Fold in the sprinkles with a spatula.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.  Using a small cookie scoop, drop the dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake 10-12 minutes (rotating the pans halfway through) until they are just starting to brown on the bottom and are barely firm on top.  Cool the cookies 5-10 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Slightly adapted from Pink Parsley, originally from Yammy’s Noshery

The frosting:

1 1/4 sticks (10 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted   I didn’t sift and it was fine

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp heavy cream

1/3 cup colored sprinkles  I omitted and chose to color the frosting pink instead

Food coloring  optional   I used Americolor Deep Pink

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and beat on low until just combined and then increase the speed to medium for about 2 minutes.  Add the vanilla and heavy cream.  Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in the sprinkles if using and/or the food coloring.

To assemble the cookies, match pairs based on size and shape before frosting.  Pipe or spread icing onto one half, then gently but firmly close the cookie.  Press lightly to spread the icing to the edges so it lo0ks pretty.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: Pink Parsley, originally from Cooks Illustrated.  Frosting color and piping with a star tip inspired by Gingerbread Bagel
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