Sunday, April 13, 2014

Replacing blood with sugar

Because I have church at 9 a.m., I have so much time in the afternoon for my Sunday traditions -- take a nap and then bake myself silly. 

True story: I settled on three different cookie recipes -- ginger cookies with lemon cream filling, black pepper cookies (a favorite of President Zachary Taylor, and probably nowhere near as weird as they sound with black pepper in them) and honey drops, a favorite of FDR. I also debated some honey butter creations and rued the fact that cornmeal wasn't on my shopping list yesterday. I also Googled how to make pink lemonade popcorn, but that didn't work out so well.

Anyway, after I realized that all of those cookies just didn't sound that exciting. And since I was on my last cup and a half of butter, I did not want to waste it on just OK cookies. 

Then cookiespiration hit. (It's a seventh sense, as Dr. Rotinaj from Sacred Heart Hospital might say. My sixth sense is finding all the goatheads hidden in my carpet with my bare feet.) I broke one of my normal cookie rules (the same one I broke yesterday with these cookies) but it worked out.

I call these -- well, I haven't called them anything yet. Caramel chocolate hazelnut creams? Chococarhazelatenut bites? Diabetes sandwiches? I'll get back with you on the next sugar rush, which will come in about a cookie and a half.

Here's how this went: caramel cake mix cookies; melted dark chocolate; hazelnut frosting, all sandwiched together. 

 Here's what you need:
1 box of caramel cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup (one stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon hazelnut extract (or vanilla or almond or any extract that goes well with caramel)
1-3 teaspoons milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease your cookie pans.

2. Put the cake mix, butter, vanilla, milk and eggs into a mixer. (Have you bought a KitchenAid yet? Hurry!) Mix it up thoroughly. Cake mixes don't tend to get as smooth as quickly, so give it a minute or so. It will be fairly thick. Roll with it.

3. Drop it by rounded spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. Don't make them too big, because these end up being ubersweet cookies and even for sugar addicts can be just a wee bit, well, sweet.

4. Bake for about 10 minutes. They should still look a little moist on top; roll with it.

5. When you take them out of the oven, flip them onto their tops and put a goodly number of chocolate chips on them. They probably won't melt enough just with the heat of the cookies, so when you're done baking, turn the oven off and stick them back in the oven for a minute or so. Pull them out and use a knife to spread the melted chocolate over the cookie. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave and just spread it on the cookies.

6. Let the chocolate cool thoroughly. You want it to be a little crunchy while you're eating. If you want to reduce the amount of chocolate, just do this to half the cookies.

Haha! Who wants to reduce the amount of chocolate in cookies?

7. Mix the powdered sugar, hazelnut extract and butter. Add milk one teaspoon at a time until it reaches a good consistency, which in my mind is super thick. Spread the frosting on one cookie, top it with another cookie.

8. Let them sit for a bit, then put them in the fridge. You really do want the chocolate layer to be a little crunchy. It just makes it awesomer.

Now, I do have to give you a warning here. (This is a test to see if you read all the way to the bottom.) Be careful how much dough, chocolate and frosting you eat during this process. These are really, really sweet. Like, insta-cavity sweet. If you eat a lot of the dough, snack on chocolate chips and then lick the mixer paddle that you intentionally did not clean off sufficiently with the spatula, you will end up feeling like if you eat another cookie you will die. And then you will eat another cookie.

A note from 24+ hours later: These are second day cookies. When they're fresh, all the flavors blend together nicely, but after they've been in a covered container in the fridge for a day, the hazelnut has mellowed, the chocolate has solidified and the cookies have come into their own, so you get a serious smorgasbord of tasty.

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