Chocolate chip cookie pie

I bake to celebrate friends’ birthdays. I bake for dinner parties. I bake to test out a new, intriguing recipe. I bake for weddings (well, I’ve just done one). I bake for bake-offs. I bake for my students when they have a long lab or a big test.

Sometimes I just need to bake… for me. Not because I need to, eat but because I need to bake. It relaxes me, calms me, and then finally cheers me up.

Yesterday was one of those days when I just needed to bake. As usual, what I always want to bake is a pie. I didn’t want to go to the store (even though it is literally a quarter mile from my house… Just so cold!), and I didn’t have any normal pie ingredients. I did have the normal baking essentials: flour, sugar, butter, and chocolate. What kind of pie can you make with that? Well… a chocolate chip cookie pie!

I ate one slice right out of the oven with a cold glass of milk, and it was the perfect way to end another successful baking night. I chilled the pie overnight, and it tasted even better today as the ingredients all came together.

chocolate chip cookie pie
adapted from the blue bell cookbook

pie crust
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup crisco
1/4 cup ice cold water

stir together dry ingredients.
cut in butter & crisco.
using a fork, mix in cold water.
cover in plastic and chill for 1/2 an hour.

cookie
3/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup chocolate chips (or more!)
1/4 cup dark chocolate (or more!)
1/4 cup walnuts

in a mixer, blend butter and sugars until creamy.
mix in eggs.
on low, mix in flour and salt until just incorporated.
stir in chocolate and walnuts.

roll out pie crust.
pour in chocolate chip mixture.
sprinkle on sea salt, if desired.
bake at 325 for 55 minutes.

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Triple chocolate chocolate chip cookies

Oh how much has changed since a year ago. In Nashville, my exciting celebrity sightings included waiting in line at Starbucks behind Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, going to a Colbie Callet concert and standing next to Hillary Scott and Taylor Swift, and catching glimpses of other country music stars around town. Now I run into different kinds of celebrities. A few months ago, I walked out of my office as George W. was walking down the hall. Earlier this week, I went to get a salad and the chief of staff of the army, general odierno, was towering behind me (he didn’t stay in the salad line when he saw the other options…), as his secret service milled around.

Not only have my celebrities changed, I have learned a great deal about an institution I knew basically nothing about: the army. As people will quickly remind me, West Point is not “the real army,” but when you are going from no information, you can say my knowledge has increased infinitely.

Since many of you also might not know much about the army, I’ll give you a little lesson here. To enter the army, a person can take two routes: enlist for a designated amount of time or commission as an officer. People going through ROTC or West Point are all commissioning as an officer when they graduate. People on the enlisted side can also become an officer by going through OCS (officer candidate school – I think that’s what it stands for).

To make things more confusing though, there are a few types of “officers” in the army. There are traditional officers, which are the commissioned officers that I mentioned before. Then there are non-commissioned officers (NCOs) which are on the enlisted side but are more experienced. THEN there are warrant officers, which are considered “experts” in a craft, such as aviation. Confused? Don’t worry… I’m still figuring it all out.

What hasn’t changed in the past year, is my favorite chocolate chip cookie. I got this recipe from a Nashville blog before I left, and it has quickly become my go-to chocolate chip cookie. It uses self rising flour which both saves some time because it doesn’t need baking soda or baking powder and it leads to a super fluffy cookie instead of the flat chocolate chip cookies I used to make.

I made this batch for one of the NCOs that works in my office who just got accepted to warrant officer training school to become an aviation warrant officer. Quite exciting and pretty cool too.

Triple Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slightly adapted from The Ultimate Southern Cookie by Mary Carter

Preheat oven to 350
Mix together:
1 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar

Gently mix in:
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. sea salt, heaping

Fold in (in a couple rounds):
2 1/2 cup self-rising flour (I don’t use self-rising flour much, so I keep it in the freezer)

Finally, fold in:
3/4 cup dark chocolate
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 cup milk chocolate

Scoop onto parchment lined cookie sheet in desired sizes. Sprinkle on some additiona sea salt. Bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. Sometimes I do huge cookies and sometimes I do mini ones, both are equally as good as long as you take them out when they are slightly browning.

Enjoy!!

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Mocha Cookies

Originally Posted April 11,2012

These are magic cookies.  Maybe not as cool as the way sugar turns to liquid when you heat it up, but still pretty cool.  This is actually the second time I’ve attempted to make them.  The first time I messed up, or so I thought.  Turns out, I just didn’t believe the final step, the magic step.

What is so cool, you ask?  Well, once the batter is made it is really liquidy.  If you scooped it onto a cookie sheet it would just expand and spread out over your whole sheet.  This is what I noticed the first time I made them, so I just turned them into brownies (which were quite delicious).  There is, however, a crucial step in the process that I had skipped.  After the batter is made, you let it sit for 15 MINUTES.  The batter goes from a liquid to a solid (well not solid solid, but cookie dough solid).  I don’t know the chemistry behind it… maybe one of my science friends or a friend who has gone to culinary school might know, but for now, I’ll just call it magic.

My friend Erin’s mom sent me this recipe and said it was THE CHOCOLATE COOKIE.  Just awesome.  Well, I completely agree that it is an awesome cookie, and everyone at lunch concurred.  I am, however, still partial to the dark chocolate cookies with little salt on top (given to me by Erin – no wonder I like their family), but these are definitely pretty high up on the list of chocolate cookies, and they are nice with the hint of expresso in them.

Because these are a little more involved than your typical cookie, I am going to walk you through the steps of making them.

1st: Set your eggs out an hour or so before you want to begin baking so that they will reach room temperature.

When you are ready to start…
Melt unsweetened chocolate, 1/2 of the chocolate chips, and the butter by putting them in a microwave safe bowl and heating them in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time.  Stir after each 30 seconds until the chocolate is smooth.  Should take about 1 1/2 minutes.  Set the bowl aside.


Then mix flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl and set it aside as well (I put mine next to each other).

In a mixing bowl, beat (at a high, high speed) your eggs and sugar.  Beat and beat for about 10 minutes until it is a light color and much thicker than when you started.
Then add the expresso powder and vanilla and beat it all up again.  Put it next to your other bowls.

Next FOLD in the chocolate to the egg mixture.  Folding means you use a spatula and gently stir it in.  After you fold in the chocolate, fold in the flour and finally the second half of the chocolate chips.  It will then look something like this (resembles brownie batter).

Then, the magic happens.  Let is sit for 15 minutes.  Now is a good time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

After 30 minutes, it looks like this (much more cookie dough like):

Scoop onto the cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes.  Let rest on cookie sheet a couple minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.  Enjoy warm or the next day.  Both are great, but you don’t really enjoy the expresso flavor until the next day.

    

Source (and recipe):  From the Gourmet Cookbook and posted here: http://live.gourmet.com/2010/12/the-gourmet-cookie-book-mocha-cookies/

Almond Glazed Sugar Cookies

Originally posted on June 26, 2011

I was throwing a dessert party for a couple of friends who were moving to Utah last week (we miss you already, Alison and Ryan!!).  Everything was under control, and I was going to have all of the desserts ready in plenty of time for the party.  I had already made a strawberry shortcake, and my brownies were cooling on the counter.  I went to flip the brownie onto a plate… and it came out mush!  I don’t know what happened… maybe the oven had gotten turned off, or I messed up the timer, I’m not sure.  I love my brownies a little gooey, so I didn’t think anything of it when I took them out of the oven.  These, however, were un-servable.  What do I do next?

I opened up my cooking notebook and flipped to the page for almond glazed sugar cookies, and settled on them immediately.  I put the butter in the microwave, went to scoop some flour in the bowl… and I was out of flour!  I’m never out of flour.  I usually have multiple bags in the lazy susan (hehe, I love that name).  Forty five minutes before the party was to begin, I ran to the store, picked up some flour, and by the time people arrived the cookies were on the plate.  These cookies have an amazing almond flavor in both the cookie and the icing and were definitely a hit.

It is not a typo in the recipe – you do not need eggs – it makes them extra flakey and delicious.  So, the next time you are in a bind because your brownies did not cook, or you don’t have any eggs, try out this recipe.  You won’t be disappointed.

Citation: My best friend in college, Alison Shermeta, gave me this recipe.  Her mom used to make them – both she and her mom are amazing cooks, and these cookies prove it.  Alison has the most beautiful food blog (http://threehundredfiftydegrees.wordpress.com/).

Almond Glazed Sugar Cookies

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine (no need to use a mixer):
1 cup soft butter
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder

Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet.  Then flatten with a buttered glass dipped in sugar (or use your fingers to flatten).
Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
Cool 1 minute and remove from cookie sheet.  Cool completely.

Icing:
Stir together glaze with wire wisk:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
4 to 5 tsp. water

Decorate cooled cookies with glaze as desired.

Jaffa Cookies

Originally posted on September 13, 2011

This is only the second cookie I have ever made that is dipped in chocolate.  It just happens that I am making them back-to-back.  Besides both being dipped in chocolate, they were also both inspired by my trip to Europe.  Eventually this inspiration will stop, but I still have a couple more things up my sleeve all stemming from the trip.  What can I say?  It was a pretty awesome trip.

I was visiting Louisville over Memorial Day weekend, and Erin’s mom gave me a recipe for some “Orange-Chocolate Cookies.”  Their family loves them, and they thought the cookies would be perfect for the blog.  While I was sure that some people would find them tasty, they didn’t sound up my alley.  Orange marmalade in a cookie?  I put the recipe aside to make for Erin’s birthday in October.

While I was in London, my friend Dave asked me to pick up some “Jaffa Cakes” and sent me the following description: “Jaffa is in the shape of a circle, about 3in. in diameter, flat, and made of golden cake w/ chocolate icing and an orange filing.  A delicious after-dinner treat.” I couldn’t find the cakes in London but did manage to find a knock-off brand in Germany.

After returning home from my trip and delivering Dave his cakes, I was cleaning off my desk and ran across the orange cookie recipe.  Sure enough, it was exactly like the Jaffa cakes but with a cookie base instead of a cake base.  Since TWO of my good friends loved this flavor combination, I thought I had better test it out.  As they promised, it was amazing.  I had one cookie, waited a few minutes, and picked up another.  I had to pack up the cookies on plates to give away in order to avoid eating the entire batch.  That night, I walked in my door after dinner and immediately regretted my decision not to save just one more for myself.  They really would be a “delicious after-dinner treat” (or really and “any-time-of-the-day treat”).

Oh, and one last tid-bit that makes this story even better: Erin and Dave are dating.  Must be because of their shared love of orange marmalade.

CITATION: I adapted these cookies from an April 2005 “Traditional Home” recipe for “Kosta House Orange-Chocolate Cookies.”  It is apparently a Swedish cookie.  I added some sea salt to the cookie dough as well as a little more orange juice to give it an additional orange flavor.  I substituted dark chocolate for bittersweet chocolate and finished it off with just a sprinkle of salt at the end.

Jaffa Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

orange peel from 1 orange

juice from 1 orange

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

½ cup (approximate) Orange marmalade

3 oz. Dark Chocolate, chopped

1 tsp. shortening

Beat the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg yolk, orange peel, and orange juice.
Slowly add the flour and salt, stirring instead of beating for the last edition.
Roll the dough in to a log.  At this point, I put the dough in the refrigerator, and I think it made them easier to work with.  When ready, cut the dough into slices, place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and stick your thumb into each cookie, making an indent.
Fill the thumbprint with marmalade.
Bake cookies in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool.
In a microwavable bowl, put the dark chocolate and a spoonful of shortening.  Microwave in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring after each round.  Dip each cookie into the chocolate, covering about ½ of the cookie.  Sprinkle with sea salt (optional).

Eat dinner and then enjoy a cookie or two.

Dark Chocolate Cookies

Originally posted on May 25, 2011

Erin Frankrone (last name best pronounced in a German accent) would like to take credit for my love of salt and chocolate.  While I’m not sure that is true, she can definitely take credit for this cookie recipe.  She made these for my birthday, and I was immediately in love with them.

I actually wrote a history paper in college on chocolate… and I only wish I could recall some interesting facts from it to report here.  Maybe I should dig it up and turn it into my next economics paper.  I’m sure my advisers would love that.  I do know that cocoa is not bad for you, rather it is the sugar, cream, and butter that often goes along with chocolate that gives it the bad name.  On the “Today” show this morning, they even mentioned a little dark chocolate as a healthy snack if you need to satisfy your chocolate craving.  Although, I’m not sure they had these cookies in mind when they said that.  Additionally, I once heard about a study that found that dark chocolate lovers tend to be more
intelligent.  I’d like to see their evidence…

To best take advantage of the dark chocolate this recipe calls for, I went with Trader Joe’s
“The Dark Chocolate Lover Chocolate Bar” which is 85% cocoa (most dark chocolates are just 75%).  It was their cheapest dark chocolate too!!

Citation: This recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart Living Chocolate Cookie that calls for milk chocolate rather than dark chocolate.  I sprinkled on some extra sea salt, just to make sure you can’t eat just one.

Tip: If you make these for a boat / water skiing trip, then you might want to bring along some napkins.  If you don’t, the chocolate chunks melt in the sun, leaving you to lick your fingers.

Dark Chocolate Cookies:

1 Cup all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp sea salt, plus more to sprinkle
½ pound good quality dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
Melt 4 oz. coarsely chopped chocolate with butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (Alternatively, melt in microwave in 30 second increments.)

Make sure chocolate mixture is not too hot to cook the eggs.  Pour chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer.   Mix on medium speed until combined.  Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in flour mixture.  Fold in 4 oz. of chocolate chunks.

Drop dough onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.  Bake about 8 min.