Tag Archives: Chocolate

Chocolate Chip Cookie/Brownie “Abomination”, Plus a Question

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I hope everyone had a happy, safe Fourth of July (or Canada Day, or any other holiday) this week, preferably full of yummy food!  I had a great time at my grandparents’ farm.  When I go there, I always end up sitting around talking to my grandma for hours, which is so much fun.  She always makes me feel better about my kitchen mishaps!  This trip I also got to see an old family friend, who was famous for being “Smokey the Bear” at the Wisconsin State Fair for several years, and spent a good bit of time chopping firewood.  Except that by “chopping firewood” I really mean “pushing a lever on a log-splitting machine because a bunch of stuff was too big to chop by hand and there’s no way my family would ever trust me with an axe or chainsaw”.  But that’s a different problem for a different time…

In any event, this week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe was chosen by Karen of Karen’s Cookies Cakes & More.  She chose the Brown Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream, which sounds absolutely amazing, but I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I sat this one out.  Check out the blogroll to see the other SMS’ers success stories!

Since I didn’t do this week’s recipe, I’ll post this one instead!  A while ago I was trying to brainstorm a way to make cookies using a boxed brownie mix.  Why?  I have no idea, it just sounded really good, and I know you can use cake mixes to make cookies, so why not brownie mixes?  I still haven’t figured out a way to do that, so if anyone has any suggestions, let me know!  Or if you know of any brownie-like cookie recipes?  I’m really looking for that crinkly skin that brownies get, which I love.  Anyway, as I was trying to explain this to Mike, he asked why I couldn’t just combine a brownie and a cookie and make a seriously awesome bar.  Hmm… why does that sound familiar?  Oh, because the TWD bakers did just that several weeks ago!  When I went back to look at what everyone thought of the recipe, though, there seemed to be a lot of issues with the baking times, and I was a little bit scared to mess with it, so I decided to keep looking.  Fortunately, Bakerella has a really similar recipe, but made super simple by using boxed mixes- and look, my search comes full circle!

I’m going to say now, though, that while I liked these, and a week later they were still really moist, I really hated the cookie dough mix.  No offense to Bakerella, who I think does amazing (and adorable) work!  But it was almost impossible to get everything mixed in, and the dough was really soft and felt oily.  I will definitely make these again, but next time I will use my own cookie dough recipe.  I’ll still use the boxed brownie mix because- big confession here- I haven’t found any brownie recipe I like as well as fudge boxed mixes.  Please don’t revoke my baker badge!  Without any further rambling (and before everyone finds their old torches and pitchforks)…  The recipe- oh, and my question at the end of the post.

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Your ingredients.  How easy is this!  There was also some water that didn’t make its way into the picture.  Really complex here 😉

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Mix up your brownie batter following the directions on the back of the box, and pour it into a greased 9×13 pan.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

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Mix your cookie dough following the instructions, or use your own recipe.  I think the dough actually looks oily in the picture, but that might just be me being delusional.  Or a crummy picture.

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Take small pieces of the cookie dough and put them in the brownie batter, pressing down slightly.  Don’t worry about covering the whole thing, there will be some gaps.  I still had a little bit of dough left over at this point, but thought it was good enough.

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Mind the gap!

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Bake them for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Mine were done right at 35 minutes, and maybe could have been taken out a tiny bit early, but ever since my oven ate the oven thermometer, I’m not quite sure how accurately it’s running.

Bakerella covered hers with a chocolate ganache, which sounded heavenly, but I thought these would be chocolate-y enough without it, and I think they’re great on their own.  As Mike said, “I’d call them an abomination, but they’re so good!”

Chocolate Chip Cookie/Brownie “Abomination”

courtesy of Bakerella

One box of fudge brownie mix (to fit a 9×13 inch pan), or a batch of your favorite batter

One pouch chocolate chip cookie mix, or a batch of your favorite dough

Whatever fixin’s go into making said batter and dough

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix your brownie batter and pour it into a greased 9×13 inch pan.

2. Mix your cookie dough.  Drop by teaspoonfuls on top of brownie batter and press on them slightly.  However, if the dough is sinking to the bottom right when you drop them in, try flattening the dough into disks to help it “float” better.

3.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the bars comes out clean.

4.  After letting them cool, you can cover the bars with chocolate ganache if you’d like, or just eat them straight out of the pan.  For breakfast, if your little heart so desires! (Hi Mom!  I have never eaten these for breakfast.  Ever.)

And now my odd question.  I made chicken and noodles for dinner, but halved the recipe.  Unfortunately, since you cook a whole chicken, I now have half of a cooked chicken, which I ended up shredding on impulse.  Does anyone have any idea for recipes I could make that would call for half of a shredded chicken?  Is anyone grossed out that I asked this question while you were thinking about chocolate?  Sorry about that…  Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated!

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SMS: Double Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies

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This week’s recipe was chosen by Megan of My Baking Adventures.  In addition to being a wonderful baker, blogger, and a mom, she’s going to Disneyland this week!  I know I’m jealous!  Thanks for a fantastic pick, Megan.

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These cookies came together very easily.  I used regular cocoa in place of the dutch process and added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per the instructions on Joy of Baking, which Nina pointed out to me (thanks Nina!), and the cookies came out wonderfully.  I really like Melissa’s log method of making cookies, especially because it makes it easier to avoid eating two dozen cookies in a week if you freeze some of the dough.  I just chilled the dough in the log form from the get-go, which worked well.  Unfortunately, despite these being called “double dark chocolate CHERRY cookies”, I somehow forgot to add the cherries, which I didn’t realize until the dough was already firmed up.  Yeah, I’m lame, I know.  I thought these cookies might have been a tiny bit on the sweet side, but I think if I’d remembered to add the tart cherries, that would have fixed that problem really quickly.  Since I definitely plan to make these again, I’ll remember next time.

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I baked the first log of these on Thursday for about 13 minutes, and they turned out perfectly- crisp on the edges, but nice and soft in the middle.  On Saturday, my lovely friend Britni and I made a batch of lemon cookies (which I’ll try to post later this week), and I baked the last log of this dough.  I took some super fast pictures, then threw everything in a zipper bag and we (me, Britni, and my roommates for next year, Erik and Christian) got in Christian’s truck and drove to Arcola for one of the biggest fireworks shows in Illinois!  It was an absolutely amazing show, and everyone seemed to like the cookies.  Actually, I was wondering if we should bring them with us, and Erik looked at me funny and said “If you don’t bring the chocolate cookies, we won’t be friends anymore”.  I think that sounds like a pretty strong recommendation for these cookies!

Thanks again to Megan for this week’s pick, and to Lorelai for organizing this wonderful group!  To see what everyone else thought of these cookies, check out the SMS blogroll.  I won’t be doing the recipe for next week, as I don’t own an ice cream maker, so next week’s post is a surprise!

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Sweet Melissa Sundays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds

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What’s that, you say?  Wednesday is actually the furthest away from Sunday you can possibly get?  Hmm…  I pinkie promise I’ll do better next time!

Thanks so much to everyone who wished me luck on the LSAT, by the way!  It went pretty well, I think.  For those of you familiar with the exam, the logic games section kind of kicked my butt a little bit, but I heard that it kind of kicked everyone’s butt, so I feel a little bit better.  And everything else went great, I thought.

Right after I took the exam, I flew out to San Francisco with my mom, which was a ton of fun.  Of course, after a month sitting on my butt studying for finals and the LSAT, I wasn’t exactly in what we would call “good shape”, so walking all those hills was a chore!  I understand why everyone I met who lives there was in such good shape!  We did all of the typical stuff, Alcatraz, Chinatown, the crookedest street in the world, Fisherman’s Wharf (which was really close to our hotel), the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the Ferry Building, I don’t really remember now.  Anyway, it was a great way to take our mind off things.  Our flight home, however, was delayed three and a half hours (it was only a four hour flight) because the engine was broken.  We were pretty happy they decided not to fly on it, though, we didn’t want to end up on the news!  We ended up having to switch to a different plane, anyway.  So we didn’t get in until 2:30 Sunday morning, and then I didn’t get to school until 10:00 Sunday night, and then I started summer school, and…  Now it’s Wednesday.

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Anyway, enough of my life story!  This week’s challenge was chosen by none other than Melissa Murphy.  Name sound familiar?  Probably because she wrote the book we’re baking out of, the Sweet Melissa Baking Book.  How cool is that?  Anyway, she chose the Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds.  I was glad she chose an easy recipe, because this week I just didn’t have much time.  She mentioned that she makes them without almonds at the bakery, because so many people have nut allergies, but she prefers them with the nuts.

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So, since I made this late, I had the other bakers’ knowledge that the dough gets very firm, and some people mentioned that they had a hard time getting the chilled dough out of the bowl to make logs.  I just made the logs with the room temperature dough, and it worked out wonderfully.  Also, since I was making these so quickly, when I only had 1/4 cup of almonds (the recipe calls for 1/2 cup), I just made half of the cookies with nuts and half without.  I’m really happy with it that way, because I can eat based on what I’m feeling like at the time.  I was also happy to learn that the dough freezes well- since Mike’s in Los Angeles right now with the Formula team (race car competition), and I’m starting my working out/eating slightly healthier thing now that I don’t have any stress eating excuses, I really didn’t need two dozen cookies sitting around.  But they’re only a slice and bake away, if I do need them!

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Having learned my lesson from the Granola Breakfast Cookies, I made sure the dough looked decent before I put them in the oven, and they looked so pretty coming out!  They were a tiny bit too crisp around the edges, but that one’s definitely my fault.  I forgot to turn the oven down a touch since I was using dark, non-stick pans (my first time using my new Wilton pans!), and when I took them out, they ended up on the pan for a while while I tracked down a spatula (leading to the decision that Friday will be spent cleaning intensively).  I really loved the flavor, though.  They were slightly caramel-y and loaded with chocolate and nuts.  To be perfectly honest, I think I would have liked the nut ones a little bit better if the almonds hadn’t been toasted beforehand.  However, I generally prefer my chocolate chip cookies without nuts, so that wasn’t much of a surprise.  These were still delicious, though, both with and without the nuts!

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Check out the blogroll to see what the other SMS’ers thought of these cookies- there seems to be overwhelmingly positive reactions.  Then again, who ever says that they can’t stand chocolate chip cookies?  Also, if you check the SMS home page, you can seem Melissa’s post on these!  Thanks so much, Melissa, for baking with us this week!  It’s pretty much the coolest thing to do, and I really appreciate taking time out of your hectic schedule for us!

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Tagalongs

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In my family, once Girl Scout cookie season rolls around things start to get a little bit tense.  Never mind that this year, I kid you not, we ordered two dozen boxes of cookies.  Yeah.  Twenty-four boxes.  My mom ordered one dozen from the little girl in kindergarten across the street, and then realized she couldn’t order more from the girl across the street than she did from her seven-year-old niece, and ordered another dozen.

Despite this fact, when I picked up the four boxes I requested one weekend, my brother almost mutinied when he realized I was taking the last two boxes of Tagalongs (aka peanut butter patties).  Never mind that we didn’t have the order from my cousin yet, so there were still another dozen boxes on their way.  His reaction is even more impressive when you realize how laid-back my brother usually is.  However, the other day Mike was over and tried to open my last box of Tagalongs, and, well, it could’ve gotten messy.  Once I hit that level of freakish cookie possessiveness, I knew I needed to give in and try the ones I’d seen on Baking Bites.  I actually made them over a three day span, since I was busy studying and didn’t really have that big of a chunk of time.  One day I made the cookies, then I stored them in a zipper bag overnight.  The next evening I filled them with peanut butter, put them in the fridge overnight, and the third afternoon enrobed them in chocolate.

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I creamed together the butter and sugar, then added the dry ingredients, and finished up with the milk and vanilla.  I thought this was a bit odd, but it worked out.  The dry ingredients were really crumbly, but after adding the liquids it was fine.

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I rolled the dough into one-tablespoon balls, then flattened them to about 1/4 of an inch.  And no, that’s not an engagement ring.

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Then baked them.  The recipe says 11-13 minutes, and I was definitely taking them out at about 11:30.

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I squirted the peanut butter on (three different times, actually, to get this much on there), and then chose to smooth them out with a hot knife to make the dipping easier.  I left one not-smoothed to see what would happen.

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I dropped them into my chocolate, which was on a double boiler, and covered them in chocolate.

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Then drained them on a fork over the chocolate before transferring them to a waxed-paper lined baking sheet.

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They took up way more space when they were covered in chocolate!

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And then… you know…

Oh, and the one I didn’t smooth out turned out pretty smooth because of the hot chocolate and me tapping the fork on the bowl to get the excess off.  I would still smooth them anyway, though, they looked better that way.

Tagalongs

from Baking Bites (my changes are in italics)

Cookies
1 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large mixing bowl (I did everything by hand), cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk. The dough should come together into a soft ball.
Take a tablespoon full of dough and flatten it into a disc about 1/4-inch thick. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough (I used an unlined, ungreased, non-stick sheet). Cookies will not spread too much, so you can squeeze them in more than you would for chocolate chip cookies. (Alternatively, you can use a 1.25 inch cookie cutter).
Bake cookies for 11-13 minutes, until bottoms and the edges are lightly browned and cookies are set.
Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, use your thumb or a small spoon to make a depression in the center of each cookie
Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Filling
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (natural or regular)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar*
generous pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
about 8-oz semisweet chocolate (plus 2 tsp. shortening)

In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, salt and vanilla. When the mixture has come together, heat it in the microwave (again in short intervals, stirring frequently), until it is very, very soft. Working carefully with the hot filling, transfer it to a pastry bag (or plastic bag with the tip cut off) and pipe a generous dome of the filling into each cookie’s “thumbprint”.
Chill cookies with filling for 20-30 minutes, or until the peanut butter is firm (I chilled them overnight, and they were fine).
Melt the chocolate in a small, heat-resistant bowl. This can be done in a microwave (with frequent stirring) or on a double boiler (what I did), but the bowl of melted chocolate should ultimately be placed above a pan of hot, but not boiling, water to keep it fluid while you work.
Dip chilled cookies into chocolate, let excess drip off, and place on a sheet of parchment paper to let the cookies set up (I used a fork to do all of this). The setting process can be accelerated by putting the cookies into the refrigerator once they have been coated.

Makes about 3-dozen

*You might need slightly less sugar if you’re using the conventional peanut butter, as it tends to be a bit sweeter. Taste the filling before using to make sure you like the sweet/savory balance.

End result:  These were really yummy.  Really, really yummy.  Mike said I could put the Girl Scouts out of business (don’t worry Natalie and Morgan, I think he was just being nice there).  I had a couple of issues with the recipe, though.  Next time I think I would make the cookies a bit smaller.  I used the recommended tablespoon in a rare OCD moment, but they seemed a bit big.  Also, I probably could have made half of the peanut butter filling recipe and been fine.  My roommate and I ended up eating the peanut butter for the next few days.  Finally, I ended up using twice the amount of chocolate (16 ounces total).  Also, for each four ounces of chocolate, I used about one teaspoon of solid shortening to make the cookies easier to dip, but that’s just what I do whenever I have to dip or enrobe something in chocolate or candy.

Ok, but despite the weird ratio issues, these were fantastic.  The select few guys in Mike’s fraternity who got to try them agreed.  I’ll definitely make them again.  I think next time I might make a double batch, because these aren’t going to last that long, and they took a long time to make.  Mike has also now encouraged me to make Thin Mints.  I have two recipes, so I’m not sure which I’ll try first.  Of course, he also seems to be all for me overthrowing the Girl Scouts- and as a former scout (seven years) and the niece of someone who used to work for the Girl Scout Council, I’m pretty sure I can’t do that.  That, and who can really resist an adorable eight-year-old in a Brownie uniform without her front teeth giving that sales pitch?  Definitely not me!

P.S. Yes, my kitchen needs to be cleaned and I need to do dishes.  Again, Finals Week.  But I just turned in my last project, so I’m free as a bird!!!  And… can do… dishes…  Shoot.

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