Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies w. Kettle Chips, Pecans & Toffee

Call them kitchen-sink cookies, garbage or trash cookies...I call them ‘oh yeah that sounds good, ooh! and that too, toss ‘em in!’ cookies. This whole experiment stemmed from an email from King Arthur Flour alerting me that it was National Chocolate Chip Cookie week. My husband loves my OG chocolate chip cookies, so I made those to appease him, but I wanted to try some variations too. The second one I made was actually an adaptation of my oatmeal raisin, but I subbed in dark chocolate for the raisins and it played nicely with the spicy and warm cinnamon. The third is the one I am sharing today - let’s nickname it the ‘Currently Craving’ cookie since you can pretty much change any of the add-ins to be what sounds good in the moment or what you have on hand!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Variety

Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies w. Kettle Chips, Pecans, & Toffee // Makes 4 dozen

¾ c vegan shortening

¼ c unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ c brown sugar, lightly packed

¾ c sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

¾ tsp salt

2 ¼ c flour

6 oz milk chocolate, roughly chopped

½ c toffee bits

1 c plain, salted kettle chips, broken into bite-sized pieces

⅔ c pecan halves, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together shortening, butter, and sugars until light and fluffy; 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and beat thoroughly for 3-4 minutes. Add vanilla, soda, and salt; mix to completely combine. Measure in flour, pulse lightly to start the process, then mix on medium speed until just combined. Remove the bowl from the stand and add remaining ingredients. Mix in with a wooden spoon until just combined, being careful not to crush the chips.

Milk Chocolate and Chips

Using a small scoop (2-3 tablespoons), portion dough onto parchment lined sheet pans and bake 8-10 minutes. I check at 7 minutes, turn if needed, then add more time. Cool for 2 minutes on pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I love the milk chocolate/toffee combo because it takes me back to the days of selling SEE’s chocolate bars to raise money for my 7th grade NASA science trip. Yes, I just said that. I’m also obsessed with salty-sweet and have always wanted to try chips in a cookie. Use whatever little bits and flavors you like, and switch up any of the ingredients after the flour to create your own unique cookie! 

Cookies and Coffee


Then have two with a cup of afternoon (or breakfast, I'm not judging) coffee. 

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie
 

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Triple Chocolate Cookie Bars

A classmate of mine has the terrible, horrible problem that her mom sends her ‘tons of really good Venezuelan chocolate that she doesn’t know what to do with'. Rough, right? Since she knows I love to bake, she entrusted me with several bars with the one caveat that some great recipes come her way so she can have a solution to her problem. I jumped at the chance and these bars are just the beginning...

Triple Chocolate Cookie Bars // Makes 10 large bars*

4oz (½ c) unsalted butter

¾ c sugar

¾ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp espresso powder

1 egg

¼ tsp salt

1 ¼ c flour

¼ c dark cocoa powder, sifted

⅓ c hazelnuts, toasted & chopped

3 oz  chopped good-quality milk chocolate

3 oz  chopped good-quality white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast, peel, and chop your hazelnuts. The easiest way to get the skins off is to place the toasted nuts in a clean kitchen towel and rub them together; the skins can be bitter so don’t skip this step! Prepare your pan by spraying and then lining with parchment that overhangs on each side; *I used an 8” x 5” baking dish but you can use two loaf pans for smaller portions and your yield will be about 20 pieces.

In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddles attachment, cream together butter and sugar until lightened in color and fluffy in texture. In a small bowl, stir together extract and espresso powder to mostly dissolve powder; add to butter mixture along with egg and salt. Beat to combine well. Add flour and cocoa, combining the ingredients in short pulses at first, then beat to fully incorporate. With a wooden spoon, stir in nuts and chopped chocolate until it’s thoroughly distributed.

Press dough into prepared pan and bake 22-26 minutes, depending on the size of your pan. The edges will be a bit more set and the center should still be soft when pressed as you want the centers to stay fudgy {notice there was no ‘if’ - you WANT the centers to stay fudgy}. Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then grab onto the parchment wings to remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Using a sharp knife, slice the cookie in ½ inch pieces; if you cut them too thin, they will be a bit too fragile, unless you cut them in half crosswise or make the shorter ones. I think they look fabulous placed sliced-side-up so you can see the big chunks of delicious nuts and chocolate!

Triple Chocolate Cookie Bars

Now at this point I almost melted some dark chocolate and drizzled it over the cookies….but I resisted the urge, and it felt weird. So if you are a lily-guilder like me, drizzle on some chocolate and call these Quadruple-Chocolate Cookie Bars! Enjoy with a large glass of milk, or spiked hot chocolate as needed.

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

 

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Ice Cream Sandwiches w. Homemade Chocolate Wafers

I was looking for a way to make some ‘lighter’ ice cream sandwich treats, but most recipes called for chocolate wafers which I can never seem to find in the grocery store, so I decided to make my own! Since I have yet to convince my husband that I need an ice cream maker, I just doctored up some store-bought light vanilla ice cream and sandwiched it between these tasty cookies! A couple days later, I realized that happened to make these just in time for National Ice Cream Sandwich Day -- who knew?! I am really in tune with the ice cream universe I suppose.

Ice Cream Sandwiches w. Chocolate Wafers // Makes 12 Sandwiches

MINT COOKIE CRUNCH:

1 c light vanilla ice cream, softened

½ tsp peppermint extract

14 chocolate wafers, divided

ESPRESSO CHIP:

1 c light vanilla ice cream, softened

2 tsp espresso powder, dissolved in 1 tsp water

2 T mini chocolate chips

12 almond chocolate wafers

CHOCOLATE WAFERS{adapted from here}:

1 c sugar

½ c butter

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

¾ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp espresso powder

1 ½ c flour

½ good-quality cocoa powder (such as Valrhona)

¼ c sliced almonds for espresso chip version

To make the chocolate wafers:

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until thoroughly creamed. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add salt, baking powder, and espresso powder; beat to combine. In separate bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder, then carefully add to the butter mixture, pulsing to combine, then thoroughly beating once the risk of flying flour has passed! Split dough in half, form one into a disk, wrap in plastic, and set aside. Add the almond to the remaining dough and mix to combine (you may find this easier to do with your hands); wrap in the same manner and place both disks in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Dust a clean countertop with cocoa powder and roll out the chocolate dough, pressing the dough together if cracks form, to about ⅛ inch thick. Cut cookies using a 2 ½ inch round cutter and place on prepared baking sheet.

Cut Out Cookies

Bake 8-10 minutes until the tops are no longer shiny but still give a bit when pressed lightly with fingertip. Remove the chocolate almond dough from the fridge and ice cream from freezer to soften while you bake off the remaining chocolate dough; repeat with almond version. You will be left with more cookies than you need, so you can freeze the rest for a later use, or snack on them when you need a chocolate fix!

To make the filing:

Take two medium sized bowls and place one scoop of ice cream in each; put one bowl and the carton back in the freezer while you make the first flavor. For the espresso flavor, stir in dissolved espresso powder and chocolate chips; place in freezer to firm up. Take out the other bowl and crush two plain wafers into the ice cream, add ½ tsp peppermint extract; stir to combine and place in freezer. If you try to make the sandwiches while the ice cream is too soft, it will melt all over the place in the freezer (ahem...I know from experience…) so check on it and stir it will a spoon so you can tell the true consistency before scooping.

Place six chocolate almond wafers, bottom side up and spaced out, on a cooled baking sheet and then line up the ‘tops’ to the right of them.

Chocolate Almond Wafers

Using a small cookie scoop (about 2 T), scoop out the espresso ice cream onto each of the six bottom cookies. Place the top cookie on, pressing down to distribute the ice cream evenly. Place whole pan in freezer.

Sandwich Building

Repeat process with the plain chocolate wafers and the mint ice cream. Transfer them to the sheet pan that is already in the freezer so you aren’t trying to make room for two of them! Freeze for at least one hour before serving. If you want to keep these in the freezer for future enjoyment, wrap each frozen sandwich individually, then store in a ziploc freezer bag or airtight container in the freezer.

Eat one now, and then one later; repeat each day as needed.

Ice Cream Sandwich w. Homemade Chocolate Wafers

These two flavors may be a bit ‘adult’, although I always loved them, so feel free to leave out the espresso or mint for a classic flavor, or stir in some thawed strawberries instead for a chocolate-covered strawberry sandwich! Ask your friend, lover, or child what they might want and get crazy - it’s summer and ice cream is to be celebrated!

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie


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