July 27, 2013

S'mores Cookies

I feel like grad school has made me a pessimist.  Usually while doing experiments, I assume that they won’t work.  This means that if they don’t, I won’t be disappointed, and if they do, I will be pleasantly surprised.  Sometimes I do the same thing in life.
Last weekend we went camping with most of my labmates.  The forecast called for thunderstorms.  It was 70% chance.  I was sure we’d be caught.  And if there’s one thing I hate, it’s damp, wet camping. 

On the way to the campground we were caught in a huge storm.  The rain pelted the car, filled our ears with its rushing, splashing sound.  Sheets of rain flew at the windshield, making visibility extremely low.  Later we heard that a tornado had touched down nearby.  Needless to say, I was sure we were in for it.

The rain had stopped by the time we reached the campground.  The rest of the evening and the next two days were sunny and beautiful.  Perfect weather.  Perfect luck.  What I learned during camping: sometimes you should listen to the optimistic voices around you. 

Other things I learned:

Sometimes moose just want to chill out and sit in the forest, despite the crowd of 20 people standing around and taking pictures. 

Not everyone is familiar with toasting cheese over the campfire, but it’s delicious. 

Nights are much more silent in the Muskoka wilderness.  Only interrupted by the sounds of random owls and racoons rooting through the dishes that were left out. 

Cookies, even melted and totally crushed, are very popular after a night of drinking around a campfire with friends.

Disclaimer: I did not take these photos.  The outdoor photos were shot by my talented friend and co-worker Mike Cooke.  Not only is he an excellent photographer, but he is also a web designer and entrepreneur who came up with this website for sharing and rating classes in Toronto.  If you live in/visit Toronto, I recommend you click over and check it out!  Anyways, back to cookies... 

With s’mores synonymous with camping, I decided to mash a s’more into a cookie.  I’m sure that this has never been done by anyone else on the internet ever (sarcasm).  But you can’t always be original with such a classic combination. 

Essentially, I took the base chocolate cookie recipe from these Dark Chocolate Cherry cookies, took out the cherries, and replaced them with pieces of graham crackers and mini marshmallows. 

It doesn’t get any easier than that.  I love cookie versatility.  That way, we can have one recipe on hand, but so many cookie possibilities. 

These cookies are chocolatey and gooey with a serious graham cracker crunch.  These cookies should make us feel optimistic.  

S’mores Cookies

Base Chocolate Cookie
Adapted from The Best of Fine Cooking: Chocolate

3/4 cup (3 1/3 oz) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (1 1/8 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
7 tbsp (3.5 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1.5 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup graham cracker pieces
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or non-stick mats.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or in a large bowl (if using a hand-mixer) sift together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Add butter mix until combined.  Add the milk and vanilla and mix on low speed until the dough comes together and starts to clump around the paddle or beaters.  Mix or knead in the add-ins.

Drop dough by tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets leaving about 2 inches between cookies.  Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for about 14 minutes or until the tops of the cookies look dry and the cookies are only a little soft when pressed with a finger. 

Slide the parchment onto a rack and let the cookies cool completely.  If some of the cookies have spread a little too much because of the marshmallows, nudge them back into shape while still warm.  They are very flexible while warm.  Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. 

Makes ~18  cookies.  Feel free to double or triple the dough recipe if you need more cookies.  Add-ins can be increased or decreased to taste. 

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