Friday, October 26, 2012

Hey, there is a Chocolate Chips Cookie in my Cookie!

File this under the why-didn’t-I-think-of-it-first tab!  While doing my daily occasional food blog reading, I was over a Picky Palate and saw that she baked a chocolate chip cookie… inside of an Oreo!  Freaking genius!  I mean you have the best store bought cookie, filled with the perfect and classic homemade cookie.  It was like a match made in cookie heaven.

I have baked several things into chocolate chip cookies before, including Oreos, but never the opposite way around.  It seemed so obvious and it made so much sense.  I had a Homer Simpson moment, smacking my forehead and saying “D’oh.”  Why did I never think of this?  I cannot believe this never entered my pastry realm of imagination.

I did not allow my lack of being a trail blazer in the Oreo cookie stuffing arena deter me from trying this treat.  I actually rolled up my sleeves pretty much immediately and got to baking.  These cookies are awesome.  I thought they might be too sweet, but they were not.  The Oreo cookie retained its crunch and the chocolate chip cookie filling was chewy and gooey.  It can be enjoyed warm, topped, and out the oven or later at room temperature.

The best part of the cookie, visually, was the Oreo cream melting slightly over the chocolate chip cookie.  When I make these again, I will try them with double stuffed Oreos to get more of the ooze factor.

After taking these to work, I was talking with a co-worker about other cookies that could be filled.  One idea that came up in that discussion was filling Nutter Butter cookies with chocolate chip cookies.  (Other ideas may be featured here later.)  I used the store brand version of Nutter Butter cookies because it was circle in shape and I thought it would be easier than trying to get the chocolate chip cookie to bake in a peanut shape.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie stuffed Nutter Butter cookies came out similar to the Oreos.  The only difference is that the Oreo cream helped seal the new stuffed cookies together, but the Nutter Butter cream did not seal the cookie.  The Nutter Butter cookie came apart much easier than the Oreo.  My favorite part of the Nutter Butter cookie was the bottom cookie that baked in the oven under the chocolate chip cookie.  Its time in the oven browned the cookie and brought out an even more intense flavor.  Super, super good!

Though I did not think of it first, I think I did find a way to make it my own.

Chocolate Chip Cookie stuffed Oreos
Adapted from Picky Palate

1 stick (8 TBS) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, large
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 bag mini chocolate chips
1 package Oreo Cookies


1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheets with a parchment paper.

2. Cream butter and sugars together.  Add egg and vanilla, mixing until well combined.

3. Add flour, baking soda and salt to wet ingredients mixing to combine.  Then add chocolate chips, mixing until just combined.

4. Separate Oreo cookies and place non-cream sided cookie onto prepared baking sheets.

5. Place 1 tablespoon of chocolate chip cookie dough onto each Oreo Cookie.  (Just one level, not over filled table spoon of dough!!!)

6. Bake for 8-9 minutes until baked through.

7. Gently press the cream side of an Oreo cookie over the warm baked chocolate chip cookie and let cool for another 10 minutes before enjoying warm or let it cool completely then enjoy.

** By the way, after making 30-36 stuffed cookies, I still had plenty of cookie dough left.  Using the same table spoon scope, I baked off another dozen and a half cookies or so.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Elevated Fail

There are many desserts and snacks I enjoyed as a child.  As we get older, some of us think 1) it would be cool to make pre-packaged desserts at home and 2) that elevating the homemade version with more “quality” ingredients is necessary.  Usually, this is the recipe for an epic homemade dessert… Usually.  Sometimes, however, it is the recipe for an epic fail. This is one of those epic fail moments.

While at a local small-town market, I saw wafer sheets.   I was immediately drawn to them because you do not see these in your everyday grocery store.  I held onto the wafer sheets for a while, not really sure what to make with them.  I was considering a play on Vanilla Wafers, but was not sure how to make a filling that would not result in a soggy wafer.

How else could wafers be used?  Then while at the gas station, I saw Little Debbie Nutty Bars and thought I could make these.  Then I had the brilliant idea to elevate them pass some processed treat, filled with ingredients I could not name, to something more natural (I am not going to even try and pretend it is more health).  I exchanged the peanut butter filling with an almond butter and honey filing.  I am not sure what type of coating is on the original, but I used dark chocolate.  In theory, this sounds awesome.

In reality, the almond butter flavor is so much more delicate than the peanut butter that is was not detectable with the dark chocolate.  Also, it is impossible (for me at least) to get the chocolate coating as thin as the original.  Therefore, in the middle of summer, full of 90+ degree-days I made a thick chocolate coating that had the dandiest time setting up.  (I mentioned before I was a little back logged on post… This was made in August.)

Overall, this was a good in theory treat, but not so satisfying in execution.  Sometimes, the original should not be tampered with.  When an original is delightfully, sinfully delicious, it should just be enjoyed for what it is… A guilty pleasure.  Go out and enjoy a real Nutty Bar, it is worth it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread brought to you by Chef Clumsy

I have named myself Baker at Law due to my two passions- law and baking.  Yet, most of the time a better moniker would be Chef Clumsy.  I am so clumsy it is sad and I probably should be living in a bubble.  As a child, my mom put me in ballet to teach me balance, coordination, and grace.  I cannot imagine how much more uncoordinated and clumsy I would be without that basic training, though I am still not a ballerina.

On to my kitchen clumsiness, of which standing and walking are not usually my problem.  I am just clumsy in the kitchen, which results in frequent injuries like inadvertent slices of the finger, doing stupid things like cleaning a freshly sharpen knife with flesh and taking hot baking sheets out of the oven without a pot holder/oven mitt, or repeatedly burning the same spot on my right hand on the oven rack, just to name a few.  

Burning myself while baking has become the norm, unfortunately.  Usually, I burn myself sometime in the middle of baking but before the dishes are done.  Then, I am forced to wash dishes in hot water, with a hot burn, which is more painful than just the burn itself.  But, having a good baking session is worth the never ending burns and pain.  I sacrifice layers of skin and endure pain so that I may bake and share treats with those around me.  I must be in love or stupid.  I will call it a love of baking.

Keeping the above in mind, it is most disappointing and even more painful when I get a burn and the baking session was a flop.  It is like going through plastic surgery to come out looking worse than when you went in.  Well maybe not that bad, but the burn is not worth it when the dessert flops.  This dessert is not a flop, it is far from it… Yes, today’s burn was worth it.

However, on Sunday I received a pretty bad burn about the size of a quarter on my right hand.  The cookies I was trying to make on Sunday flopped.  The burn was painful and blistered more than normal, and the cookies flopped.  I was too through.  However, today I decided to take on my nemesis yeast.  I received a burn on my left finger as soon as I put the bread in the oven.  This baking session was either going to be really good or really bad.

The baking session was an awesome success.  I conquered yeast and made a delicious bread, though washing the dishes was painful…typical.  The bread is soft and cinnamon-y and sweet.  The top provides a nice crunch and the glaze gives it a little extra sweetness and flavor thanks to the almond extract.  Best of all, my clumsy behind does not have to pick up a knife to cut the bread; it just pulls apart…Perfecto!

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/3 tsp (1 envelope) “highly” active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 scant cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
2 oz (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, browned


1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, mix together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and set aside.

3. In a microwavable bowl, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Add water and vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125F.

4. With mixer on low speed, pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix.  Add the eggs and turn mixer up to medium-low speed, mixing until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  Add the remaining ¾ cup of flour and mix until dough comes together slightly. The mixture will be sticky.  Change over to your dough hook and knead the dough for about 2 minutes, until it is no longer sticky.

5. Place the dough is a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

6. While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and allspice for the filling. Set aside. Brown the butter in a a saucepan until browned. Set aside and allow to cool, though it should still be melted. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Set that aside too.

7. Deflate the risen dough.  On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long. Pour browned butter in the center of dough and use a pastry brush to spread across all of the dough. Sprinkle with ALL of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

8. Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again. You’ll have six stacks of six squares. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book.  If the dough squares do not stretch across the whole pan, places them in askew to cover the width.  Do not worry, the spaces will fill in as it rises.  Place plastic wrap and kitchen towel over the loaf pan loosely and leave in a warm place to rise for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

9. Preheat oven to 350F. Place loaf pan on a cookie sheet or line the oven with foil to catch potential drips.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (I baked mine for 45-50 minutes, until it reached an internal temperature of 190F), until the top is very golden brown. The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

10. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board.  Invert cake bake to its upright position.

11.  If glazing, mix to taste and desired consistency--powder sugar, almond extract (a little goes a long way), milk, cinnamon, and allspice.  For a thinner consistency add more milk (slowly- less than a teaspoon at a time) and for a thicker consistency use less milk.