cookie fest 2013

This weekend I set out to finally try out some cookie recipes I had bookmarked for over a month. Two wins and a loss...not too shabby. Check out the recipes and my thoughts below!

HOT COCOA COOKIES
These cookies are delicious! Not profoundly chocolaty, which is only slightly disappointing, because they still taste like good ol' Swiss Miss hot cocoa and they have a delectable chewy texture with crisp edges. I think we can all agree that a good ol' package of hot cocoa like that is very tasty now and then. And yes, foodie police, I do have a canister of dark chocolate hot cocoa mix imported for my particular use from Switzerland, THANKYOUVERYMUCH. I'm not a heathen. These cookies are a great alternative to the standard chocolate chip cookie, especially if you like mini things.

1 1/4c room temperature butter
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour
4 packages hot chocolate mix (not sugar free)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup Jet Puffed Mallow Bits or mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You can line your baking sheets with parchment paper if you like, but it's not required.

Cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla. Blend well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, hot cocoa mix, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

Carefully blend dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, a little at a time. Try not to overmix!

Blend or fold in the mini chocolate chips and marshmallow bits. The dough will be on the drier side, which might make this final mixing stage a little difficult.

Drop on to your cookie sheets. I used a 2oz cookie scoop, but you could just measure out tablespoon-sized portions and roll them into balls by hand.

Bake for 9-11 minutes. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes then remove from cookie sheet.

[Adapted from Baked Bree & Love From the Oven]

SPRINKLE COOKIES
Me: "So, they're like those sprinkle cookies you buy at the grocery store, but better. You know what I'm talking about?"
Mom: "No, I've never seen sprinkle cookies at the store before."
Me: "MOM, they're in the bakery area, with the sprinkles, and they're pillowy yet crumbly and buttery and cute and delicious, They're addictive and so bad that they're good. They're a classic Italian American cookie, as well. Especially if you watch Real Housewives of New Jersey. You bring them to Christmas and baby showers or they will cut a bitch. You know what I'm talking about, right?!!"
Mom: "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Me: *head explodes*

Despite my mother's inability to recall any baked good that didn't originate in her kitchen, these cookies are The Jam. They are so good, in fact, that when I gave them to my friend in a box last night at the sushi bar, she opened the box immediately, put a cookie on her plate, and then ate it with her Cab Sauv before our order arrived, much to the dismay of the lovely sushi lady. 

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
rainbow sprinkles, for decorating

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for about a minute. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the oil, and then add the two sugars, the eggs, and the vanilla. Make sure to stir well after each of the additions. Slowly add the flour mixture, about a quarter at a time. Mix just until the flour disappears. The dough will be soft. Refrigerate for at least an hour (I say at least 3-4 hours) before proceeding (up to 3 days).

Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop (or up to a 5 oz scoop), divide the dough into balls. Roll each ball in rainbow sprinkles until thoroughly coated.  Place them on baking sheets with enough room for them to spread (if you are making giant cookies you will probably only get 4 per sheet). Use your fingers to flatten each ball slightly.

Bake for 12-20 minutes, depending on the size. Bake until the edges start to turn golden. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

[Adapted from Lottie & Doof]

PIGNOLI COOKIES
I've had fantasies of making these myself ever since I had the best one I've ever tasted from The Italian Store on Lee Highway in Arlington last April. They also happen to sell the best cannoli I've ever had, and I've had cannoli from Mike's in the North End, a'ight? The pignoli cookies from The Italian Store were so fluffy and tender and perfect. I was sure I could recreate them using a recipe from the internet.

False.

These cookies were INCREDIBLE within the first 20 minutes of coming out of the oven. Then, they turned into old taffy. I swear to you...I could've ripped out a crown with one of these. While the flavor is immaculate, the texture is that of nutty glue, possibly caused by not adding enough air to the egg whites before incorporating them into the paste/sugar slop. I've read that canned almond paste, rather than the tubed variety (which I used), is the way to go. I've also seen suggestions for different amounts of egg whites, using a food processor instead of a mixer, no flour or yes flour, pine nuts only on the top versus encapsulating the cookie, and so on. What I think has happened is regional adjustments of the recipe over time because, like Italians in Italy, the culture of the region dictates the ingredients and preferred end product. So we'll keep trying.


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All content © Meaghan O'Malley, 2009-2012. Header image by Rebekka Seale.