S’more Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Mackels'more cookie as part of an ice cream sandwich - doesn't that look light and healthy?

There’s a new hot spot in Seattle this summer: Hello Robin.  Seattle friends, have you been here yet? If not, you should probably go tonight.  It’s a concept I wish I had thought of myself: a gourmet bakery/cookie shop that also sells Molly Moon’s ice cream (there’s a Molly Moon’s walk-up window attached to the shop).  So although you could get a plain cookie or a plain cone (yawn), the idea is you pick two cookies and a flavor of ice cream and “make your own” ice cream sandwich. Brilliant, right?

I went with my cousin Christina a couple weeks ago, and having a much more adventurous palate (and a better metabolism) than I have, she created the above sandwich.  She was so excited about the “Mackles’more” cookie part (isn’t that name hilarious?) that I set out to make something similar myself.  And while I’m sure the Hello Robin version is way more gourmet (they use Theo chocolate, I used Hershey’s), these are super easy and dang good. 

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The cookie dough is the easy part. I used the recipe on the back of the Nestlé bag, but you could use whatever chocolate chip cookie recipe you like. I just used one and a half cups of chocolate chips and one and a half cups of marshmallows, for a total of three cups of “add ins” – the original recipe calls for two cups chocolate chips and one cup of nuts so I wanted to stick to three cups total. Mine turned out great, but you could definitely still use the full two cups of chocolate chips if you wanted to (although it would be a lot of chocolate with the Hershey bar on top). I’m not a huge nut-in-cookie person, but if you are, it would be fine to leave them in as well.

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The tricky part is how to bake them. Nestlé tells you to bake your cookies for 9-11 minutes, and I wanted mine on the under-done side, so I put the cookie dough balls on the graham cracker squares and set my timer for 9 minutes. When I took them out of the oven, the graham crackers were dark brown and toasty-looking and there was a faint burning smell. So, I decided to experiment with different baking times.

First, I baked the cookies without the graham crackers for 6 minutes. I then attempted to scoop them off the baking sheet and put them on the graham crackers and bake them together for the remaining 3 minutes. The problem was, at 6 minutes the cookies weren’t really cooked enough to stay in one piece when scooped up, especially as the marshmallow pieces tended to be really sticky. Most of the cookies survived, but it was messy. I tried again at 7 minutes – same issues, but slightly easier to pick up and reposition on the graham crackers. At this point I finally turned on my brain and remembered that even when you bake a cookie for the full amount of time, you still need to let them sit and “set up” for a couple minutes before you take them off the baking sheet. So for my fourth batch, I baked them for 7 minutes, took them out of the oven and let them sit for 2 minutes, scooped them up and put them on the graham crackers, and baked them for the remaining 2 minutes. They looked great, they didn’t make a huge mess when I scooped them up, and I felt really brilliant. And then ironically, Christina came over to taste test for me and what do you supposed her favorite version was? The original almost-burnt ones.  She said they tasted like a campfire – which I suppose is appropriate for s’mores. 

Taking a closer at the authentic Mackles’more pics, they look pretty toasty.  And if they’re making them in mass quantities, I doubt they’re stopping halfway through to scoop up half-baked cookies and put them onto graham crackers. Another bonus of cooking them for the entire time is that the graham crackers will stay crisp. So the next time I make these (which will be soon), I’ll go back to my original version (cookie dough on graham cracker from the beginning), but perhaps reduce the baking time for a minute, or bake them at 350 rather than 375.  Sorry for that way-too-detailed explanation, but I just wanted us all to be on the same page. Anyway….. 

Once the cookies are done and out of the oven (regardless of graham cracker baking time), immediately place a hershey piece and mini marshmallow in the center of the cookie. Serve warm – plain, or as part of an ice cream sandwich (if your metabolism is better than mine). 

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Chocolate chip cookies, previously: Oatmeal Coconut, Pumpkin 

Chocolate Chip S’more Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

For the Cookie Dough:*

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1.5 cups miniature marshmallows

*Note: I used the basic chocolate chip recipe on the back of the Nestlé Tollhouse bag, only scaling back the chocolate chips a bit, omitting the nuts, and adding the marshmallows. You could use any chocolate chip cookie recipe you like so long as you add the marshmallows.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer with paddle attachment) until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Gently stir in chocolate chips and marshmallows.

For the S’mores:

Graham crackers, each cracker broken into two halves (as you would do for a s’more)
Miniature marshmallows
Hershey bars (one bar for every dozen cookies)

To Bake: 

Roll dough into approximately one-inch/teaspoon sized balls. Place 12 graham cracker halves face up on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and place cookie dough balls on top. Bake for 8-9 minutes (see detailed explanation, above). Remove tray from oven and before they cool too much (not longer than 1-2 minutes), gently press a hershey morsel and mini marshmallow into the warm cookie. Hershey piece will melt but will eventually re-harden, and both the chocolate and marshmallow will be set in the cookie.  Serve warm if possible (even putting them in a 200 degree oven for a couple minutes before serving will warm them up and melt the chocolate a little).

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Friday Faves

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Wine tasting at Winderlea in the Willamette Valley – amazing pinots.

Can you guys believe it’s Friday again already? Where did the week go?  I feel like life has gotten so busy all of the sudden – I guess it’s just the time of year.  I’ve had “pedicure” on my to do list for over two weeks now and still haven’t made it to the nail salon – very unlike me!

Anyway…..people seemed to like the links last week, so I found five more. And then five highlights from the week – I’m trying to get back into my “Friday Faves routine” (I couldn’t help adding another baby item at the end!).  I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  • Thank you notes: no longer a lost art?
  • My favorite asparagus tart (so easy!!)
  • Fun hair tutorial from a new favorite blog – so cute and fun for spring/summer
  • Perfect bright pink nail color
  • I wouldn’t mind this life (I have the same pink shorts!)

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My new weekend staple (no longer available online, but similar here, sale version here) – this was almost a selfie, but I caught myself 🙂

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Opening Day at Safeco Field

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Anthro candle + Glassybaby + vintage matches

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Can you handle the cuteness? Baby boat shoes from my new addiction, J. Crew Baby.

Friday Faves

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Tulips at the market

Happy Friday, friends! All of the tulips, daffodils, and crocuses popping up in the markets and yards make me feel like spring is finally here! Just last week I was scraping ice off my car, yet next week’s forecast is in the 70s.  Such a crazy time of year!  Some fun inspiration in honor of the season of renewal:

And then, some not-necessarily-springy highlights from my (last few) week(s). Have a wonderful weekend!

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Delicious meal at Grassa in Portland (don’t worry, this was just the first course).

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Bundt cakes (lemon poppyseed and rum) for my dear friends’ wedding last weekend – in lieu of having a traditional wedding cake, the bride asked about twenty of her girlfriends to make their favorite bundt cakes. Tragically,  my cakes and I ended up missing the wedding due to a terribly-timed bout with the norovirus, but all reports said the bundt cake table was a hit!

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Champagne cocktails at Tallulah’s in Capitol Hill – so hip.

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My new baby nephew’s first stationary from my new Etsy fave.  I’m going to try really hard not to overwhelm this blog with pics of all the baby things I can’t seem to stop buying, but I thought these were extra cute! And what unborn baby doesn’t need personalized thank you notes?

Friday Faves

TGIF, everyone! It’s a week before Valentine’s Day, and I have yet to do or make anything fun and festive. This week was taken up by post-Superbowl celebrations, including the parade (of course).  We spent four glorious hours in the freezing cold to cheer on our Superbowl champs, and now I have the cold to prove it.  Hopefully I’ll have my act together in time for next Friday – I have two types of brownies and two types of cookies on my to do list, and I’m going to be at a bachelorette party all weekend, so wish me luck!

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Last year’s Valentines brownies and cookies.

‘Tis the season for gifting flowers.

Dying to try these Nutella cookies.

This website will make sending Valentine’s cards so much easier.

Great idea for a Valentine’s gift.

Love this lip crayon in Roman Holiday.

I just downloaded this book – can’t wait to read it.

And my favorite images of the week:

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Happy Friday, guys! Happy (early) Valentine’s Day, and Go Hawks!!

Whole Grain Pear Hazelnut Muffins

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This cookbook has been all over my favorite food blogs of late, so I ordered it despite the fact that my breakfast typically consists of a green smoothie (or a Starbucks bagel on the too-common occasion that I’m out of a green smoothie ingredient). So far I’ve made the whole grain pancake mix, the blueberry breakfast bars, and these muffins. I’ve given the pancake mix as birthday and hostess gifts, and it’s been a hit. I made the blueberry bars when I spent the night with my friend Kyle and her picky toddler year old last week – Ellie gobbled them up, but Kyle and I decided that, while delicious, they seemed more like dessert than breakfast.  Next on my list of recipes to try: Bacon and Kale Polenta Squares (hold the bacon), Strawberry Oat Breakfast Crisp (although I suspect it, like the blueberry bars, might also be better suited as dessert), and Zucchini Farro Cakes – YUM.  And of course variations of this granola.  These muffins, though, are a definite win – you can do them ahead of time, and they really do feel healthy – the perfect breakfast treat.

My grandfather passed away a few weeks ago, at the age of 94. He spent the last few days of his life in the hospital, which was not the way he would have wanted to go, but he received such wonderful care from the doctors and nurses that we were all glad he was there. I wanted to do something nice for the nursing staff as a thank you and had planned to bake these cookies, but my cousin Christina (a nurse herself) suggested bringing in something healthier, as nurses get a lot of cookies.  I had seen these muffins on a couple blogs, and this seemed like the perfect excuse to try them.

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I love the idea of cooking with whole grains – especially oats – and the pears make the muffins incredibly moist and dense without being too heavy. Sara from Sprouted Kitchen suggests a way to make them gluten free; Deb from Smitten Kitchen suggests you add chocolate, which they definitely don’t need, but I would imagine would be delicious.   Point being, you can swap out ingredients or doctor them up any way you like. I loved the pears but you could definitely use apples too.

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It looks like a lot of bowls (and it is), but it’s really only the dry ingredients and the wet, combined with my tendency to make a mess in the kitchen and dirty more bowls than necessary. Deb includes suggestions to “streamline the recipe” (use fewer bowls) for anyone that doesn’t have the luxury of a dishwasher.

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You could chop the nuts in a food processor, but I was worried they would get ground up too finely so I used a ziplock bag and my go-to crushing utensil, a bottle of wine. I also ate a lot of hazelnuts in the process, yum.

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Pear-Hazelnut Oat Muffins, from Whole Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon (she’s a Seattle gal so I’m extra happy to support her!)

Makes 12 standard muffins (and maybe a few more)

3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2-3 firm medium pears, such as Bartlett (you want them firm so they don’t get too mushy when you grate them)
2/3 cup natural cane sugar, such as turbinado
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan (I’m going to try coconut oil next time)
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin, or line with papers.

In a bowl, combine the oats, flours, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

Peel and core the pears, then grate them into a bowl using the large holes of a box grater (or the grater attachment of your food processor). You should end up with about 1 cup of shredded pear [Note: I doubled the recipe so grated four pears, and ended up with about four cups of grated pear, unpacked – I dumped them all into my batter and the muffins turned out fine. Just in case you were worried about ending up with too much grated pear].

Put the sugar in a large bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the butter to the sugar and stir until well combined. Whisk in the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and pear until you have what resembles a loose batter. Add the flour mixture and fold it in gently. Reserve 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts to sprinkle on top of the muffins; stir the other 1/2 cup into the batter. Be careful not to overmix.

Fill the muffin cups almost to the top with batter, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup hazelnuts. Put the muffins in the oven and immediately decrease the heat to 375 F. Bake until the tops are golden brown and feel firm to the touch, even in the center, 25-27 minutes (they might look done before they really are – the tops will brown before the fruit-filled centers are cooked through).

Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan. Muffins will keep in an airtight container for up to two days; they also freeze well.

All wrapped up for Grandpa's nurses, along with boxes of See's chocolates, his favorite

All wrapped up for Grandpa’s nurses, along with boxes of See’s chocolates – his favorite

Friday Faves, Seahawks Edition

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Happy Super Bowl Weekend, everyone! I don’t know about you, but this Seahawks fan is pretty excited about the game. As much as I wish I could be in the stands in East Rutherford on Sunday, it turns out that’s a hard ticket to come by (sad face), so I’ll be cheering on my Hawks from Seattle. True story: the last time the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl (incidentally, also the first time they went to the Super Bowl), I went to a game-watch party at a friend’s house in Seattle.  I had purchased a Hasselbeck jersey that year, but although I tried to look the part, I wasn’t really a true fan.  Some girlfriends and I somehow got the idea that we’d have a better chance of getting a pizza delivered to our house rather than delivered to the party, so we left at halftime under the guise of – wait for it – going to Sunday night mass. No wonder the Hawks lost – that had to have been some pretty bad karma. Although we did watch the second half (bad calls and all) from the comforts of our own couch, with an entire Papa John’s delivery to ourselves.

all photos from martha stewart

all photos from martha stewart

Fast forward eight years later, and I take my game day menus a lot more seriously. I don’t have a jersey this time, but I’m going to attempt the entire spread from this month’s Martha Stewart Living, along with a couple other staples. I’m not really a chicken wings kind of person, but apparently they’re a must-have for any football event, so I thought Martha’s tequila-lime drumettes looked relatively simple and healthy. I also don’t eat hot dogs (barf!), but I loved the look of these “pigs in a blanket” with sausage and frozen pastry dough, sprinkled with flaky sea salt and poppy seeds. And just so that I can have something to eat too, her “love dip” and chocolate pretzel bark.

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The next question then becomes, what to do for dessert (apparently I’m not counting the pretzel bark as dessert). The cookie and cupcake possibilities are endless, but in the interests of time I’ll probably just do some basic blue and green cupcakes and then decorate them with the toppers I bought off Etsy last year right before our ill-fated game against Atlanta (multiple options here).   If you want to get really fancy with either your cupcake decorating, or just decorating in general, check out these tips from Seattle’s resident cupcake and party guru, Jennifer Shea of Trophy Cupcakes & Party (I guess I’ll be making a trip to Home Depot for some Astro Turf tomorrow!).   A tip if you’re planning on decorating your “Beast Mode” cupcakes with Skittles (as I hope you are): don’t put the skittles on the cupcakes until right before you put them out, as the candy coating will bleed all over your frosting.  Same goes for brown Peanut M&M’s on cupcakes with green frosting (you know the ones where you pipe frosting “laces” onto the M&M’s so they look like footballs? So cute, but they also bleed).  I learned that lesson the hard way last season, although my candy-bleeding tragedy paled in comparison to the tragedy of the game itself.

my favorite way to decorate

my favorite way to decorate

Some of my other game day favorites and inspirations include:

If anyone has any favorite Super Bowl party recipes, I would love to hear them in the comments. I’m also always open to fun games or prop bets for anyone who’s watching the game more for the commercials and/or halftime show.  Wishing everyone a wonderful Super Bowl Weekend – Go Hawks!!

mani

Friday Faves

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{leaves changing at Greenlake}

One of the perks of taking almost a month off from blogging is that I have over three weeks of “favorites” (read: old instagrams) to choose from. So this “week” includes a couple pics from my East Coast visit earlier in the month, as well as some more recent highlights. This 70-degree October weather we’ve been having has made for some gorgeous sunsets all week, as well as some truly outrageous fall foliage.  And of course, a change in seasons always means a change in footwear.  I’m looking forward to the upcoming weekend – I hope yours is spent apple picking, at the pumpkin patch, and/or taking advantage of this amazing weather in other quintessential autumn ways.  Mine will be spent “catering” a party for my grandparents’ 94th birthdays, but I’m anticipating a Husky win tomorrow and a fantasy win on Sunday as well.  Wishing all of us the best of luck!

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{walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, Freedom Tower on the left – I heart NYC}

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{dinner view of Boston Harbor}

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{new fall flats. PSA: 40% off sale at J.Crew the past few weeks}

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{pink skies over a Puget Sound sunset}