Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

I don't know why I even ask Dennis what he wants for a weekly treat because inevitably his response involves chocolate or marshmallows.  I thought I had exhausted most of the possibilities to put these two flavors together, but when I saw this recipe from Martha Stewart I couldn't resist trying it out.

This recipe might look a bit complicated (I had a bad experience with frosting once) but it’s fairly simple and the final result is a knockout.  I worried that the cookie might be too sweet, but it provides a perfect contrast to with the marshmallow and chocolate frosting.  I love the fact that this recipe can be adapted to your tastes also.  If you don’t want marshmallows, maybe throw in a peanut butter cup or Hershey kiss.  They are called Surprise Cookies after all!

Chocolate Surprise Cookies (from Martha Stewart)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally

Chocolate Frosting for Surprise Cookies:

2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in butter and cocoa powder. Add milk and vanilla, and whisk until well combined.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.

Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, drop dough onto ungreased or lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 7 to 9 minutes.

Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow, cut-side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begin to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing outward until marshmallow is covered.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies

The Thursday before Valentine’s Day I realized I had no heart cookie cutters.  Uh-oh.  Luckily my wonderful husband didn’t balk at paying for extra-fast shipping so I could have them by this weekend.  Of course he knew what his reward would be, a batch of cookies baked up just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Roll-out cookies bring back memories of Christmas and rolling out sugar cookies with my Mom.  Those cookies were typical sugar cookies: crispy, buttery, perfect topped with some sprinkles and dunked in milk.  These cookies are the opposite of those, cakey and moist with a deep chocolate flavor.  I topped some with turbinado sugar to give them a bit of crunch which Dennis said he appreciated.  The best thing about this recipe is that it’s adaptable for any holiday (or lazy weekend).  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
Turbinado sugar or sprinkles (optional)

Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Roll out cookie dough on floured counter or Silpat (I found rolling it out on the Silpat much easier – you just have to do the dough in batches to fit it on the mat). Cut into desired shapes.  Top cookies with turbinado sugar or sprinkles if you so desire.  Bake on a lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes, until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.