When you are prohibited from running marathons (at least until next November when everyone no one in their right mind will try to stop you from hitting the streets of NYC for 26.2 miles). (Mom, I’m talking to you.)
You have to get your adrenaline rush on somehow.
And no, road biking will never quite do, no matter what your orthopedist thinks your parents should get you for Christmas.
But cookie baking? That’s an untapped source of excitatory neurotransmitters, right there. A black market of endorphins, if you will.
And extreme cookie baking? That’s like the ultra-marathon of the baked goods circuit. (Insanity.)
We all know I’ve never been one to turn down a challenge. Especially not one that involves so many chocolate chips.
Four cookie swaps. Two states. Eight dozen cookies. Two pounds of butter.
Lace up those running shoes. Break out the parchment paper.
Here’s the rundown.
New York City Annual Holiday Cookie Swap and The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap – Italian chocolate almond cookies – chewy bites of chocolate espresso amaretto heaven – and cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow peppermint cookies – sweet salty crunchy chewy minty goodness. In extra large cookie form.
And yes, I do realize I’m going to have to run a marathon just to make up for all the calories I ate in cookie dough and cookies swapped. But at least I got those happy hormones pumpin’. And that’s totally all that counts, right?
I also have to give a MAJOR thanks to Alex of Yums and Loves for her delicious peanut butter cup cookies, Jessica of My Baking Heart for her chewy spicy awesome ginger cookies, and Alayna of Pink Apron Baker for her perfect-for-coffee-dipping (and we all know I drink a TON of coffee) Holiday Biscotti, all of which were the cookies that I received in the great food blogger cookie swap!
GIVEAWAY WINNERS (as determined by Random Integer Generator)
The winner of my Shabby Apple Giveaway is Melissa of Fried Ice and Donut Holes!
The winners of my Buitoni Giveaway are Kim of Stirring the Pot and Colleen of What’s Baking in the Barbershop!
I’ll be contacting both of you guys!
Italian Chocolate-Almond Cookies (Strazzate)
Makes 3 dozen, adapted from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals
- 1 1/2 cups spelt flour (6 oz)
- 1 1/2 cups lightly packed almond meal (5 1/4 oz)
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 3 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted skin-on almonds
- 1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
- 1/3 cup strong black coffee, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 36 additional chocolate chips, for topping the cookies
- Whisk together the spelt flour, almond meal, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Take care to break up any clumps of almond meal or brown sugar with your fingers. Stir in the chocolate chips and almonds. Make a well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the Amaretto, coffee and olive oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the center of the dry ingredients and combine with a dough whisk or wooden spoon just until a soft and moist dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350. Line 2 large rimless baking sheets with parchment paper. Have a small bowl with water ready.
- Using a small cookie scoop (about a tbsp), scoop the dough onto baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each one. Gently press a chocolate chip into the center of each cookie. Chill the sheets with the cookies for fifteen minutes.
- Bake, one sheet at a time, until the cookies have spread and firmed up but still yield when gently pressed with a finger, 16 to 18 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven, but leave them on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then slide the parchment paper with the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely. They will continue to firm up as they cool.
Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Peppermint Cookies
Makes 15-20 super large cookies or about 30-40 medium large cookies, adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar
- 16 tbsp butter (2 sticks), room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (240 grams) flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 recipe cornflake crunch (recipe to follow)
- 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup chopped candy cane Hershey’s kisses
- 1 1/4 cups mini marshmallows
- Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Still on low speed, paddle in the cornflake crunch, chocolate chips, and kisses just until they’re incorporated, no more than 30 to 45 seconds. Paddle in the mini marshmallows until just incorporated.
- Using a 2 3/4-ounce cookie scoop for the super large cookies or a large cookie scoop for the medium large cookies, portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of hte cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week. Do NOT bake your cookies from room temperature – they will not hold their shape.
- Heat the oven to 375.
- Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes for super large cookies or 10-12 minutes for large cookies. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. The cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown toward the center when done.
- Cool the cookies completely on teh sheet pans before transferring them to a plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temp the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days, in the freezer they will keep for 1 month.
Makes about 360 grams (4 cups), adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook
- 170 grams (1/2 12-oz box, 5 cups) cornflakes
- 1/2 cup milk powder
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 9 tbsp butter, melted
- Heat the oven to 275.
- Pour the cornflakes in a medium bowl and crush them with your hands to one-quarter of their original size. Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt and toss to mix. Add the butter and toss to coat. As you toss, the butter will act as glue, binding the dry ingredients to the cereal and creating small clusters.
- Spread the clusters on a parchment or silpat-lined pan and bake for 20 minutes, at which point they should look toasted, smell buttery and crunch gently when cooled slightly and chewed.
- Cool the cornflake crunch completely before storing or using in a recipe. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the crunch will keep fresh for 1 week. In the fridge or freezer, it will keep for 1 month.