We had a cookie exchange at my house today! I love cookies exchanges for the obvious reason. You only have to make one type of cookie. Mix, spoon, bake, repeat. So easy. But then you end up with a bunch of different kinds of cookies. Totally ideal. Of course, the pressure is on (for me at least), to at the very least, not have an embarrassing cookie. But I came so close to having it.
I searched high and low, and found lots of recipes for Cookies and Creme cookies. But they were mostly blonde cookies, and I wanted chocolate. So I stumbled upon a recipe with a chocolate base, a few people claimed to have reproduced it with good results, so I went for it.
Massive failure. The dough was far too stiff, and it didn’t spread at all while baking, so the cookie was jagged, lumpy, and ugly. But I can deal with a delicious ugly cookie. This was not that cookie. It was not even close to sweet enough, didn’t really taste chocolate-y, there wasn’t enough salt, it was dry. It was complete utter…and I don’t use this phrase lightly….”waste of ingredients”. Really. My husband (has lower standards) and brought some to work. But what didn’t fit on the tray…I threw out. Really. They were that bad that I had to throw away cookies. I don’t even think I actually finished an entire cookie.
I’m not going to link to the recipe, that seems unfair. You know what they say, if you don’t have anything nice to say, make sure they don’t hear about it. That’s how that phrase goes, right?
So as these cookies are baking, I was desperately trying to come up with a new plan on the fly, and luckily…I knew just what to do. And even more luckily, (since it was 9PM the night before the exchange) I had overbought, and still had the exact ingredients I needed left.
I searched through my inbox, and found the recipe my mom had scanned and sent me a few months ago for her double chocolate chip cookies. Replaced a cup of the chips with a bag of Hershey’s drops, and a success was born:
Chocolate Cookies and Creme Cookies
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
12 oz (1 bag) Hershey’s Cookies and Creme Drops
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
2. Melt 2 cups of the chocolate chips over low heat. Stir frequently and remove from heat.
3. While chocolate is melting, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and well incorporated.
4. Add vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture. Then add each egg, one at a time, until thoroughly mixed. Mix in melted chocolate.
5. In small portions, beat in dry ingredients.
6. By hand, stir in the remaining chocolate chips, and the Hershey’s Drops.
7. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
8. Bake, at 375, for 8-9 minutes, or until cookies are puffed. Cool for a few minutes before removing from baking sheet, then move to cooling racks until completely cooled.
Yields: About 4 dozen cookies
You will know that these cookies are awesome when you finish adding in the flour and the cookie dough is still like a fluffy mousse. These aren’t super dark, but you can imagine with all that chocolate in them, they are still worth their weight in chocolate. They spread nicely, and puff up, then as they cool, settle into a nice, surprisingly light, tender cookie. The Cookies and Creme Drops are a fun addition, although you could really add any of the drops: Reeses Minis, Almond Joy, Plain Chocolate. They would undoubtedly all be delicious.
Did I mention that this cookie exchange took place during playgroup? Simon is still only 10 months old, one of the few things I don’t give him yet, is chocolate. Or refined sugar. Or salt. All three are included in this cookie. So rather than leave him out (and at this point, he would definitely feel left out and we’d all pay for it), I made him and the other little ones their own little batch of cookies, that are refined sugar, salt, and chocolate free.
Sugar Free Banana Oatmeal Cookies
1 ripe banana
1 1/4 cup oatmeal (anything from baby oatmeal to rolled oats should work)
1 Tbsp flour (any kind, I used whole wheat)
1/2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla extract
few dashes of cinnamon
splash of milk (again, any kind, I used unsweetened soy)
Mash the banana, and mix everything together in a bowl. Add the milk slowly, until it just comes together like a traditional cookie dough. Form into small balls and flatten lightly. Lightly oil a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.
Yield: one dozen small cookies
Simon so approved of these. Some of the older kiddos preferred the “big kid” cookies (who can blame them?), but Simon ate three of these. He really really liked them. One of the other moms and I tasted one too, and we both thought that they are pretty good, if you’re looking for a healthier cookie. They are a lot squishier than a “normal” cookie though, kind of a cookie-muffin.
All in all, we had cookie exchange success! The kids had fun, we all had cookies, and everyone went home and took a nap afterwards. Well, that last part might just be a wish.