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S’more Sandwich Cookies

I love s’mores! Any time someone is even considering asking for a s’more dessert, I emphatically encourage them to go in that direction just so that I can add another s’more experiment to my growing library.

If you’ve followed along on some of the other experiments that use chocolate ganache, you know that I’m still on my journey to finding my process. My trials continued on this bake as well. While the ratios of chocolate to cream were fine, I did not let it sit out to cool so that it would pour as a thicker chocolate layer. Instead, the thin stream of chocolate cascading over the cookies soaked into the cookies and covered everything in a thin brown sheen. I’ve now added, in big friendly letters, a note to LET THE GANACHE COOL next time.

The graham and the marshmallow components ended up being brand new challenges for me. Making homemade marshmallow has been on my baking bucket list for a while and I had just asked a friend for her recipe since her homemade marshmallow tasted amazing! The recipe for the marshmallow comes from a cookbook and I do not have permission to share it. However, it is an egg-free recipe and utilizes raw honey and maple syrup in place of sugar!

The marshmallow was way easier to make than I had suspected and came together very easily. One trick I learned quickly, though, is that the marshmallow creme sets fast! I started plopping marshmallow creme onto the cookies and ended plopping gobs of marshmallow by the end. This round, I used my hand mixer. Next time, I’ll likely use my stand mixer so that I can re-whip the marshmallow while I’m filling the cookies, keeping it on the creme consistency a bit longer.

Marshmallow creme
Whipping up some marshmallow

I’m equally excited about how the graham cracker cookies turned out! I found a recipe on TogetherAsFamily.com for s’more cookie cups. The cups looked like exactly what I was envisioning for my cookie sandwiches. While mixing the ingredients together, I became distracted. It wasn’t until the cookies were in the oven that I realized I had never added the white sugar. The good news is that the graham cookies still tasted great! Graham is such a versatile base that these cookies can and will be used in many different sandwich cookie combinations.

Graham cracker cookies
Graham cracker cookies

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Graham Cracker Cookies

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar (accidentally omitted)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, flour, and baking soda. Stir with wire whisk. Set aside.

In a large bowl and with a handheld electric mixer, blend the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until creamy and combined.

Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix well.

Dump in the bowl of dry ingredients, mix on low speed until just combined. The dough will be crumbly.

(Together As Family’s baking instructions are for mini muffin cups. I modified them for a whoopie pie-style cookie)

Grease whoopie pie tins. Spoon or place dough into the bottom of each well. For a thinner cookie, just coat the bottom. For a thicker cookie, fill the well at least half way with dough. Press the dough down flat. Depending on the thickness of your cookies, you should make around 24 total (this makes for 12 sandwich cookies).

Bake for 6 minutes. Look for the edges to be brown (bake slightly less for a softer cookie and slightly longer for a tougher cookie). Let cookies cool in the tin for 15-20 mins before moving to a wire rack. If you try to move them too early, they will fall apart.

 

Constructing the Sandwich Cookie

 

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S’more sandwich cookies before ganache

Scoop a hefty spoonful of marshmallow onto the top of one graham cookie. Spread around to get even coverage. Add as much or as little marshmallow as you prefer. Place a second graham cookie, top down, onto the marshmallow and press down lightly to squish the marshmallow but not break the cookie. Once the cookie sandwiches are all made*, prepare your ganache.

For this round, I did a half milk chocolate, half dark chocolate mix. Either a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio of chocolate to cream will work well here. Microwave your cream for 30-45 seconds (until hot). Pour the cream over your chocolate pieces and let sit for 2-3 minutes to melt. Stir, ensuring all of the chocolate melts and blends with the cream. (The step I keep missing) Let the ganache sit out for 10-15 minutes to thicken. When ready, either pour the ganache over the cookies to coat or, with gloved hands, dip and roll each cookie into the chocolate. Let sit on a wire rack to set for several hours. When you’re ready to serve or package, slide an uneven spatula under each cookie to separate it from the cooling rack.

*One recommendation that was made was to freeze the cookies for about an hour before coating with ganache. This may prevent the chocolate from soaking into the graham cookie and will help set the ganache quickly.

Serve and enjoy!

S'more sandwich cookies
S’more sandwich cookies. First draft.
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Causal Confections Kids (CCK) – Chocolate Chip Cookie Halloween Cake

Baking with kids can be a lot of fun and very educational. It can also be a test in patience for the head baker. Finding the right terms and ways to explain measuring ingredients, why things need to be mixed a certain way, and what happens in the oven can be a challenge, but it is a great mental exercise and kids are typically fascinated to learn how things work. The absolute best part of baking with kids is seeing the look of pride, surprise, and satisfaction on their faces when they get to eat what they created.

This past week, a 3.5-year-old designed a cake with me. It started with a simple question: “Do you want to bake cookies this weekend?” After excitedly answering “yes,” I asked which type of cookie he wanted to bake. It was no surprise it was chocolate chip. They are his favorite to make. It escalated quickly from there. When all was said and done, the final design ended up being a devil’s food cake with orange-colored icing that has pieces of chocolate chip cookies in it. It typically takes me no time to whip each of these parts together, so I figured it would take a few hours, tops.

We compiled our grocery list and went to the store to get what we needed. We talked about why we were getting the smaller bag of sugar instead of the larger bag of sugar (storage), why we didn’t need marshmallows for this bake (any excuse to eat marshmallows is a good one), and the ways we need to be careful when handling a carton of eggs. After getting back to the kitchen, we prepped our ingredients, set out our tools, and selected our aprons (having at least two kid-size aprons around is great as it gives them a choice and they get to dress like you do in the kitchen). After selecting his apron, the young baker got a quick introduction on how to tie it around his waist. It will take some practice, but he loved seeing how easy it could be to tie something.

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We did this bake in three parts.

Part 1 – Chocolate Chip Cookies (soft batch recipe)

Chocolate chip cookies are a great first-bake for kids. The ingredients are easy and safe to work with, it’s more than four steps, and, for most kids, it’s a treat they love to eat. Flour and sugar are easy for kids to use to measure out ingredients and are easy to clean up if it results in a mess. While putting the dry ingredients together, it’s easy to talk to the young baker about ingredients that are safe to taste and ones that are not. For example, cookie dough that is just butter and sugars mixed together is safe to taste. Once the flour and/or eggs are added, however, the dough is not safe to taste. The flour and eggs can be unsafe to eat before they are baked or cooked. Speaking of safe to taste, a tradition I have when baking chocolate chip cookies with anyone is to pour out a few chips to eat before we dump the bag into the dough. It’s a special treat since the baker has not had a chance to sample anything in a bit while the dough was coming together and it’s a few small bites of chocolate. Yum!

This junior baker did everything for the cookies except for cracking the eggs (he decided it was too messy for him to do that day) and dealing with the oven (he’s not quite tall enough or his arms long enough to do that, yet).

For most cookies, and especially the soft batch, it’s a good idea to roll the dough into balls or mounds for them to bake properly. Some kids, however, struggle to roll a ball between their hands when they’re younger. This young baker decided that he was going to roll logs instead of balls. We did one full tray of logs and one full tray of balls so that we could gauge the baking time for the logs and have everything cook evenly. When we took the tray of logs out of the oven, we were excited to find that the logs had baked down to perfect dipping bars!

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Chocolate chip cookie logs or dipping bars

While the cookies cooled on our cooling racks, we did a quick clean up of the area and of the tools we’d need to use for our cake. At this point, the junior baker needed a break.

After a break watching some videos on his iPad and having lunch, we got back to work on part 2.

Part 2 – Devil’s food cake

For this bake, we kept it simple. We grabbed a box of Duncan Hines mix and doctored it. Doctoring a box cake mix can range from very simple to more complex. I like to keep it simple. Use the same measurements that are on the box but use milk in place of water and use butter in place of oil. Typically, I melt the butter to add to the mix, but this time, I tried creaming the butter first and then adding the other ingredients to the butter. Making a cake using a box mix is another great first-bake for kids, though it can be disappointing as there aren’t too many steps and it’s over quickly.

We poured our batter into two 9″ rounds greased with Baker’s Joy (this is my favorite non-stick baking tool outside of parchment paper). Once baked, we let the cakes cool in the pans before flipping them out onto the cooling racks.

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Two 9-inch rounds of devil’s food cake.

After another round of clean up and preparing tools and ingredients, it was time for the junior baker to take a good long break and for me to make the buttercream. This junior baker does not enjoy American buttercream as it is too sweet, so for him to really enjoy his creation, we decided to go with Italian meringue buttercream (IMBC). It’s less sweet, very creamy, and is easy to work with. Since the IMBC is basically boiling a syrup and whipping egg whites, there wasn’t much for this junior chef to help out with at this stage.

Part 3 – Italian Meringue Buttercream

For this cake, I halved the recipe I used in the pull apart cupcake cake (link above). It ended up being a nearly perfect portion! After adding the butter to the mixture, my buttercream wasn’t coming together. Having made this several times now, I was a big confused and just kept whipping. It took about 10 minutes for me to realize that I had only prepared and added half the amount of butter I needed! I quickly grab a stick from the fridge, throw it on a plate, and send it spinning in the microwave for a couple of 10-second rounds to soften it. After adding the second stick of butter, the buttercream came together quickly and beautifully! Phew!

A few years ago, a dear family member had given me a set of measuring spoons that included a pinch, a smidgen, a dash, etc. They’re an amusing gift for most but are extremely useful in my kitchen! For IMBC, I use these to measure out and add gel food coloring.

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Measuring spoons for smaller measures.

The junior baker wanted the buttercream to be orange. I did not have orange color (on purpose) and asked him which two colors we could combine to make orange. This is an easy way to work color lessons into baking. As he excitedly stated “yellow and red,” we grabbed the correct bottles of gel coloring and decided which order to add them to the buttercream. Once the colors were added, we set the mixer to run and watched as the yellow and red streaks started to combine into a light orange. Bouncing up and down with excitement, the junior baker proclaimed the color to be perfect so we stopped the mixer and grabbed our cookies. This was the moment the junior baker was waiting for. We crumbled the cookies into the buttercream. As we crumbled, we talked about the differences in adding big pieces vs. smaller pieces vs. crumbs. He decided for chunks instead of pieces. We added 3-4 cookie logs to the batter and folded the chunks into the buttercream.

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Orange-colored IMBC with chocolate chip cookie chunks.

Now for the new challenge, spreading the buttercream with large cookie chunks across the cake without ripping up the cake. Junior baker did a great job of spreading and our cake handled it very well.

Once the cake was iced, it was time to enjoy!

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Sliced chocolate chip cookie Halloween cake

We asked the junior baker what he was going to call his cake. He proudly proclaimed “Chocolate chip cookie Halloween cake because it’s orange and black!” and so the dessert earned its name.

The cookie chunks ended up working really well with the icing and the cake for flavor and crunch. The bake ended up taking us all day instead of the few hours I itiniall thought but it was well worth it. This cake design was definitely a success and the junior baker has told everybody who would listen, including a very nice lady at the deli counter in the grocery store, about the cake he designed and baked.

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Cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookies

I have been a fan of Christina Tosi‘s for a few years now. I’ve had some treats from the original Milk Bar and have two of her cookbooks, but hadn’t yet tried one of her recipes. I really wanted to try at least one before 2018 was over. I opted for the cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookie. This recipe is from her book, Milk, and she’s also shared it online as well.

Tosi includes various types of measurements for her recipes, so you can bake by volume or mass or recipe percentage. Typically, I like to write out recipes before I try them so that I can catch any points of confusion before I dive in. I did not do that this time and the result was using the entire box of cornflakes instead of only half of the box. The crunch still came out tasty, just not as clustered as it is intended to be.

My second mistake was not flattening out the portions of dough before placing 4″ apart on the sheet and baking. These cookies are huge and they spread! Unfortunately, this meant that I sacrificed some cookie dough to the burner on the bottom of the oven.
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Cornflake crunch (makes 4 cups)

1/2 box (5 cups or 170 g) of cornflakes
1/2 cup (40 g) milk powder
3 Tbsp (40 g) sugar
9 Tbsp (130 g) butter, melted

Heat oven to 275°F.

Pour the cornflakes in a medium bowl and crush them with your hands to one-quarter their original size. Add the milk powder and sugar and toss into the mix. Add the butter and toss to coat. As you toss, the butter will act as glue, binding the dry ingredients to the cereal and creating small clusters.

Spread the clusters on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 mins, at which point they should look toasted, smell buttery, and crunch gently when cooled slightly and chewed.

Cool the cornflake crunch completely before storing or using in a recipe. Stored in an airtight container at room temp, the crunch will keep fresh for 1 week; in the fridge or freezer, it will keep for 1 month.

 

Cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookies

16 Tbsp (2 sticks or 225 g) butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (150 g) tightly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp (2 g) vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (240 g) flour
1/2 tsp (2 g) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1.5 g) baking soda
3/4 recipe (3 cups or 270 g) of cornflake crunch
2/3 cup (125 g) mini chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups (65 g) mini marshmallows

Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2-3 mins. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla and beat for 7-8 mins.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flower, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix just until the the dough comes together, no longer than 1 min. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Still on low speed, paddle in the cornflake crunch and mini chocolate chips just until they’re incorporated, more than 30-45 secs. Paddle in the mini marshmallows just until incorporated.

Using a 2 3/4 ounce ice cream scoop or a 1/3 cup measure, portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookies down flat (flatten cookies a bit). Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week. Do not bake from room temp as they will not hold their shape.

Heat oven to 375°F.

Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4″ apart on parchment-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 mins. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. At the 18 min mark, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown toward the center. Leave them in the oven for an additional minute or so if they aren’t and they still seem pale and doughy on the surface.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring them to a plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temp, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

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No Chill and No Expanding Sugar Cookie Recipe

Any time is a good time for sugar cookie cutouts. I had a smallish window to pull together a cookie dough and get it ready for cutters, so I looked around for a recipe that didn’t require time in the fridge. I stumbled across In Katrina’s Kitchen’s recipe for the “Best Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever!” Check out her page for a printable version of the recipe and some of her tips.

For a quick recipe, it worked well. The dough didn’t spread when baked. It ended being a bit difficult to work with as it was a bit too dry and a bit too wet. I had a tough time finding a balance. My dough didn’t end up as thick as the recipe suggests so I may need to try a different approach when I add my dry ingredients next time. I also found the flavor to be ok. It didn’t wow me but I did enjoy it.

Star Wars cookie cutters were purchased from ThinkGeek. Dinosaur cutter was purchased from Michaels.
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Best Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until smooth, minimum of 3 mins. Beat in egg and extracts.

In a separate bowl, combine baking powder with flour. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer, put the dough on a counter top, wet your hands, and finish kneading by hand. DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH.

Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want them to be closer to 1/4” than 1/8” in thickness. Bake for 6-8 mins. Start with 6 mins and check on them from there. Let cool on the sheet until they’re firm enough to move to a cooling rack.

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Brookies

Brookies, or brownie cookies, are always a nice treat. You get to enjoy the flavor of a chocolate cookie and a chocolate chip cookie at the same time. What’s not to like? For this bake, I gave this recipe by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe a spin. I really like how this recipe includes the weights for the dough balls to give you a starting point for proportions. After I saw how the first sheets came out, I started making some cookies with a larger percentage of chocolate chip relative to brownie as an experiment. You really can’t go wrong here. You can make these cookies as balanced or imbalanced as you’d like. The only tweak I’m making the next time I make these is to leave out the salt, but that’s due to personal preference. Give this recipe a go and make a fun treat chocolate-lovers will enjoy!
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Brookies

Brownie cookie ingredients:
10 Tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup (5 oz) lightly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup (5 oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups + 3 Tbsp (7.25 oz) flour
1 cup (1.5 oz) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda

Chocolate chip cookie ingredients:
10 Tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup (5 oz) light brown sugar
2/3 cup (5 oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 Tbsp (10.75 oz) flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Sweet aside.

Brownie cookie batter:
I’m a medium bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy (around 1-2 mins). Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla and beat the mixture for 2-3 mins until light in color.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate while making the chocolate chip cookie batter.

Chocolate chip cookie batter:
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth (about 1-2 mins). Blend in the egg, yolk, and vanilla, mixing for 2-3 mins until the batter is very light in color.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter with the chocolate chips and mix until no dry streaks remain and the chocolate chips are evenly distributed.

Both:
Pull out dough to make smallish balls. Use a 0.5 oz ball of brownie batter and a 0.65 ball of chocolate chip batter. Press the two balls together and use your hands to shape the cookie by flattening and turning it to smooth out the edges, forming a flattish but thick shape. Continue until all of the batter is used. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them out to allow for some spreading during baking. Bake for 8-10 mins. The brownie side may crack a bit. Under-cook slightly for a softer and more chewy cookie. Let cool for 1-2 mins on the sheet before moving them to a cooling rack.

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Oatmeal Chai Sandwich Cookie

Today I utilized three different recipes I’ve tried in previous bakes and ended up with something very tasty! How tasty? The entire plate of cookie sandwiches was gone before any could be shared outside of the house! This has become a new favorite.

May I present to you, the oatmeal pecan sandwich cookie with chai buttercream.
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• Chewy oatmeal cookies from a previous post (just use chopped pecans as your mix ins instead of apples or walnuts)

• Chai spice* (from the chai spice sugar cookies post) I make a batch of this to keep handy for experiments like this. The buttercream only needs up to 4 tsp so there will be more than enough left over if you make a batch of the chai spice.

• Chai buttercream (modified from Chocolate, Chocolate and more)

6 Tbsp butter at room temp
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tsp chai spice mix* (see recipe above)
2 tsp whole milk

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 mins. Sift the powdered sugar into the butter in 3 half cup sections, scraping the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Add the chai spice and beat again. Add milk a 1/4 tsp at a time and beat for a few mins until the frosting is smooth and keeps its form when manipulated. If it looks too runny, stop adding milk. Adding more powdered sugar will thicken it. Adding more milk will make it less stiff. Mix until desired consistency is reached.

Spread a thick layer onto a cooled oatmeal cookie. Place second cookie on top and press down to secure the cookie, but not hard enough to make the frosting run out of the cookies.

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White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

I’ve had a stash of macadamia nuts for a few weeks now and had been itching to try a new recipe for white chocolate macadamia cookies. I found a highly-rated recipe on Allrecipes and decided to give it a try. The recipe produced some very tasty and soft cookies. The only tweak I would make next time is using half the salt, but that’s only due to personal preference.
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White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

1 cup butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup white chocolate chips or morsels

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth – about 3 mins. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Mix in chocolate and nuts.

Drop teaspoonfuls of dough onto the prepared sheets. Bake for around 10-12 mins or until golden brown.

I baked some of mine until golden brown and then others I took out as soon as the edges browned. Both bakes turned out soft and tasty, though the ones that were in the oven longer had a bit more of a crunch. Tweak your bake time based on your preference of how you like your cookies.

czzt0616

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S’mookies

Last night, I came across a video by So Yummy that highlighted different desserts you can make with take and bake cookie dough. Of course, right after seeing the s’mookie and pinwheel brookies, I knew I had to give these a go. Today’s bake was the s’mookies because we love s’mores at our house!

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S’mookies

Cookie dough (I made fresh dough using the classic Nestlé Toll House recipe)
1 package of graham crackers
1 package of regular sized marshmallows
1 package of Hershey’s chocolate bars

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Break a graham cracker in half and place each half on the sheet. Break a Hershey bar in half and place each half on the graham cracker half. Take one marshmallow, tear it in half, and place each half on top of the chocolate so that the marshmallow halves are side-by-side. Be sure to leave plenty of space on your sheet as the cookies will spread and be a decent size. I made six cookies per cookie sheet.

Preheat your oven to 375F (or temp for the specific cookie dough you’re using).

Prepare your cookie dough. Take 1 Tbsp of dough and form it into a thick but flat disk. Place the disk on top of the marshmallow and push down slightly to ensure the stack is balanced.

Place sheet in the oven for 15 mins or until browned to desired doneness (time may vary depending on amount and type of dough). Let cool on the tray or parchment paper for several minutes before moving cookies to cooling rack.

Notes from my first go:

For my first tray, I only used a quarter of a Hershey bar and noticed that it causes more of the cookies to collapse and cook lopsided resulting in more melted marshmallows and over-cooked graham crackers. Using half a bar gave the cookie a nice base.

Also in my first tray, I used 1.5-2 Tbsp of dough. This resulted in huge cookies and way too much spreading. The flavor wasn’t quite right because the proportions of chocolate to dough to marshmallow and graham cracker were off. You need enough dough for the cookie to form around the s’more but not so much that it overtakes it.

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DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you’ve ever stayed at a Doubletree hotel, chances are that you’ve enjoyed one of their tasty chocolate chip cookies. I asked around for a decent copycat recipe to try and was sent to The Little Kitchen’s recipe.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a Doubletree cookie, so I couldn’t do a side-by-side comparison for flavor, but these are some pretty tasty cookies!
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Doubletree Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup rolled oats
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (I used 1 bag of regular sized chips and 1/2 bag of mini chips)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Pulse oats in a food processor until semi-fine or fine. Since I don’t have a processor, I used a hand chopper.

In a small mixing bowl, add the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.

To a medium bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars. Add vanilla extract, lemon juice, and eggs. Mix until you have a smooth mixture. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula at least once.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula, being careful not to over-mix. Drop in the chips and nuts and mix until both are evenly distributed. Be careful not to over-mix or the cookies will have a cake-like texture.

Use a large cookie scoop (I used a regular tablespoon) to scoop dough into a lined baking sheet. Place dough balls close to each other for easier storage. Freeze or refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours (I left mine in the freezer overnight).

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Remove dough balls from storage and place on a new baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place dough 1 1/2” – 2” apart. Bake for 13-14 minutes or until desired doneness. Let cool on a the baking sheet for a few minutes to harden a bit before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes a recipe trial comes out of necessity rather than curiosity. My husband had oral surgery about three weeks ago and has had to be on a soft food diet ever since. This meant he had to cut out almost all of his favorite treats. One of his favorite cookies used to be Keebler Soft Batch. Like most things, the recipe has changed over the years and they just don’t taste like they used to. So I used this opportunity to seek out and test a recipe for soft batch chocolate chip cookies. To our delight, they came out quite tasty. The taste leaves a lot of room to play with different flavors (extracts or pudding mix) but isn’t bland in its first iteration. This pleasant recipe comes from Brown Eyed Baker.
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Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 small box) instant vanilla pudding mix (Brown Eyed Baker has a link to a homemade version in her recipe)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pudding mix, and baking soda and set aside.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, for about 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing only until a little flour is left in the dough. Using a rubber spatula, fold the chocolate chips into the dough.

With a medium cookie scoop or a tablespoon, scoop out dough and form it into balls and place on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake until the outside edges are just set and light golden brown and the middles are still puffy (about 10-12 mins – mine were in for 12). Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for five minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to five days.

 

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Chai Spice Sugar Cookies

Four magic words: Chai Spice Sugar Cookies

This experiment comes from My Baking Addiction.

2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cup white sugar
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice, and black pepper. Remove 1/2 cup (I came up short using 1/4 cup) of the sugar-spice mix and set this portion aside for rolling cookies.

In a bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar-spice mixture until light and fluffy – about 3 minutes.

Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Combine until fully incorporated. Slowly blend in the rest of the dry ingredients mixing until just combined. Roll dough into small balls (roughly 2 tsp) and then into the 1/2 cup sugar-spice mix. Place dough balls on baking sheets about 1 1/2″ apart. Bake for 8-10 mins (I ended up doing 10-12) until cookies start to flatten out. Let the cookies stand on the baking sheets for 2 mins before moving them to a cooling rack.

chai spice mix 04282017
Chai spice mix: White sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, allspice, and pepper
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Experiments with Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Today’s experiments provided a mixed bag of results. The cinnamon apple additions worked great but I need to find a maple glaze recipe that provides a less sugary and a stronger maple flavor.

Chewy oatmeal cookies (this recipe is essentially for a whoopie pie but makes a tasty cookie) –

1 cup unsalted butter softened
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups quick cook or old fashioned oats

Cream together the butter and the sugars for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Add oats and mix until incorporated. Then add other mix ins. For this batch I did a half bag of mini semi-sweet morsels and 1 cup of chopped walnuts. Then I split the batch in half. For one half, I diced 1/2 a gala apple and let the pieces sit in a coating of cinnamon while I prepped the dough. I added this to one of the portions of dough and mixed until evenly distributed. For both portions of dough, spoon into a greased whoopie pie sheet and bake at 350F for 13-15 mins until they start to brown. Let cool in the sheet for 5 mins before moving cookies to a cooling rack.
(Cookie recipe from My Baking Addiction)

Maple glaze –
1/4 cup milk or cream (I used milk)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar (This amount makes it very sweet)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place butter, milk, and syrup into a sauce pan and bring to a boil on low heat, stirring constantly. Cook for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool completely. Finish by whisking in powdered sugar and vanilla until creamy. Drizzle or pour over cookies and let cool.
(Glaze recipe from 2teaspoons