Hot Chocolate Cookies

Hot Chocolate Cookies

Hot Chocolate Cookies

Hi, folks,  How are you?  Are you doing all of those things that winter offers?   Snowball fights?  Mittens?  Ski Caps?  Building snow men?  Hot chocolate?

I’d like to tell you that I’m frolicking in the snow, but I’m afraid of flying ice balls, afraid of skiing, especially the lift part, and very afraid of falling down and breaking an important bone somewhere in my body.  So I’m indoors looking out, watching the icicles hanging from the roof grow longer and longer every day.  Since today is a Monday (as I write this), it’s snowing again.

This winter has become so predictable.  You know, like, “if it’s Monday it must be snowing”.  Schools are closed, Mr. D. home from work, and all appointments cancelled.  I’m getting used to it!

One thing I really like to do on a day like this, is make myself a cup of hot chocolate,  with a marshmallow, or cream on top and a sprinkle of shaved chocolate.    Mmmmmm, so warming, so good.   But that fits into the predictable routine, what I want is something unpredictable, like these cookies.

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Let’s have our hot chocolate and eat it too!!

These cookies incorporate all the ingredients you expect to find in a cup of hot chocolate. They are rich, chocolaty and delicious.  They are great for any time of year, but I think wintertime is perfect, and especially for Valentine’s Day.  Change the colored sprinkles for any other holiday or special occasion.  They are always a hit.

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HOT CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Yield:   Makes about 50  cookies

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butterIMG_9150
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1  1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 25 (aprox) large marshmallows

For the icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugarIMG_9171
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • assorted sprinkles

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, or a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently.

 

Choc. chips and butter in microwave safe bowl.

Choc. chips and butter in microwave safe bowl.

In the microwave, at 50% power, this takes approximately 1 1/2 minutes.  Heat for 1 minute, stir, and reheat for another 30 seconds if needed.  Stirring will help the chocolate to blend with the butter and become thick and smooth.  Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.

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2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

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3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed until well combined.

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4.  Add the cooled chocolate mixture and blend until just combined.

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5.  While mixing, add the flour mixture slowly and blend until all is incorporated.

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Scrape down the bowl, then cover and refrigerate about 1 hour.  If making the dough a day ahead, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping.

6.  Preheat the oven to 325*F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat type liner.  Use a tablespoon (or a tablespoon sized scoop) to scoop the dough, then roll with your hands to create balls.  Arrange the balls about 2-inches apart on the baking sheets, then flatten slightly.   Bake cookies for about 12 minutes.

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7.  While the cookies bake, cut the marshmallows in half crosswise.  This will be easier to do if you  dip the knife blade into a glass of hot water after every marshmallow.  Cuts easily, with no sticking.

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When the cookies have baked, remove from oven and press one marshmallow half -cut side down- into the center of each cookie.

Cookies after baking.

Cookies after baking.

 

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Return the cookies to the oven and bake for another 2 – 3 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

After baking the marshmallows will puff a little but do not turn brown.

After baking the marshmallows will puff a little but do not turn brown.

8.  Make the icing:  combine melted butter, sugar and cocoa in a medium bowl add vanilla and gradually add the water, mixing as you go, until the icing reaches a smooth consistency and is thick but still able to drizzle.   Place wire cooling rack with cookies on it over a baking sheet–to catch any icing drips.  Spoon a small amount of icing onto the top of each marshmallow, and use the back of the spoon to spread it a bit.  Let the icing run over the edges of the marshmallow, onto the cookie.  After icing just a couple of cookies, top with sprinkles before the icing dries.  Continue icing the remainder of the cookies in the same way.

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9.  Allow icing to set up about 30 minutes before serving, or storing in an airtight container.

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SOURCE:   The basic cookie is an adaptation of a chocolate cookie from Rachael Ray

 

Salted Pretzel Marshmallow Bars

Salted Pretzel Marshmallow Bars

Salted Pretzel Marshmallow Bars

There are so many words to describe these bars I hardly know where to start.  Chewy?  most definitely.  Crispy?  yup, when you bite into a pretzel piece.  Sweet?  well, of course, they are dessert bars after all.  Salty?  yes, a little.  You can thank the pretzels for that too.  And where do I fit in the experience of biting into a gooey melted marshmallow with drizzles of  peanut butter and dark chocolate?      Do you get the picture, here?  There’s so much going on with these bars words can’t do them justice.  You’ll just have to make them for yourself to see what I mean.

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I’m thankful the recipe only makes a 9-inch square pan of these goodies. One square is just enough to satisfy without feeling guilty and makes portion control so much easier.  Even better, bars are so easy to share!  I’ll be willing to bet that if you do decide to share these, you’ll get requests for the recipe.

SALTED PRETZEL MARSHMALLOW BARSIMG_4349

Yield:  16 squares

For the bars:

  • 1  1/2 cups broken pretzel pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1  1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  •  2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 8 marshmallows, halved horizontally
  • 1/4  cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350*F.   Line a 9 – inch square baking pan with foil, leaving a 2 – inch overhang on all sides.  Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.

2.  Pulse 1 cup pretzel pieces in a food processor until finely ground ( you should have about 1/2 cup crumbs).  Transfer to a bowl.  Whisk in the flour, baking powder and salt.

3.  Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  (or in the microwave)  Stir in the brown sugar.  Let cool slightly, then stir in the eggs and vanilla.  Stir the pretzel crumb mixture into the butter mixture in two additions.

Mixing in the dry ingredients.

Mixing in the dry ingredients.

4.  Spread the batter in the prepared pan.  Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup pretzel pieces on top.  Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a few crumbs, 25 – 30 minutes.  Let cool completely in the pan on a rack, then ligt the foil to remove the bars from the pan and transfer to a baking sheet.

After baking, just out of the oven.

After baking, just out of the oven.

5.  Preheat the broiler.  Press the marshmallow halves, cut-side down, in even rows on top of the bars.  Broil, rotating the baking sheet as needed, until the marshmallows are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes;  let cool.

6.  Put the peanut butter chips and 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil in a microwave-safe cup or small bowl and microwave in 30 – second intervals, stirring, until melted and smooth.  Repeat with the chocolate chips and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil in another bowl.  Drizzle the melted peanut butter and chocolate mixtures over the bars.  Let harden at room temperature or chill to set before cutting.

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SOURCE:  Food Network Magazine