Parent Trap Cookies

Remember these? They’re chocolate chip cookies with an oreo inside of them…so, magic, essentially. I decided to take this a step further an incorporate another magical ingredient: peanut butter. In the Parent Trap, the twins bond over the delicious, unconventional combination of oreo cookies dipped in peanut butter. If you haven’t tried it, you’ve got to. Before baking/assembling these marvelous, caloric cookies, I pipped peanut butter onto the non-cream side of an oreo, put the two sides back together, and popped them into the freezer until they were set. It’s an extra step that is so, so worth it. 

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Cookie Monster Ice Cream

Sometimes, messing up a recipe has its pay-offs. I was planning on baking some Junk in da Trunk cookies for a few Catalina girls, but I rushed through making the dough and, well, things didn’t exactly go as planned. You see, when you add too much baking soda to cookies they tend to puff up really unattractively and lose their tender texture. Pretty much, I found myself in the kitchen, running late, with flat cookies. I left them behind (read: I dragged myself out of the kitchen in frustration) and thought of the perfect way to repurpose them…ice cream! 

I made vanilla ice cream to go with Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chunk Cookies and it was delightful. These days I’m looking for any excuse to break out my new toy, so I took the opportunity to add doughy-junk-filled cookie pieces to the ice cream I was so eager to make. It’s all pretty simple: make your custard with 1 1/2 cups (each) of whole milk and heavy cream, a hearty pinch of salt, and two vanilla beans (with the beans scraped out, of course). Let that come to a light boil, then take it off the heat and cover it, allowing it to steep for at least half an hour. Once the milk mixture has mingled and marinated for awhile, bring it back up to a simmer and separate 7 egg yolks. To the egg yolks, whisk in 1/2 a cup of sugar. Temper this mixture slowly by adding small amounts of the hot milk and whisking it to release the heat. Then put everything into the sauce pan, grab a handy wooden spoon, and stir the custard until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and hold a line you draw with your finger (no longer than 5 minutes). Once it’s thick enough, pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer and toss it in the fridge to chill completely. This is so so so important for proper churning! I left mine overnight. Then, after your patience is stretched thin, pour the custard into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Just before the machine finishes its hard work, pour in the cookie crumbles! You could also add in Oreos or Nutter Butters or whatever floats your boat, really. Get that beauteous ice cream into a bowl, cover it, and let it firm up in the freezer.

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It should be good to go after a few hours! You could serve it on its own, but I don’t see a problem with serving it on top of a warm, correctly-baked cookie. We are dealing with cookie monsters here, aren’t we? 

Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I’m quite tempted to add “supercalifragilisticexpialadocious” to the description of this cookie, since the name isn’t long enough. If the length of the description of a cookie is directly proportional to flavor caliber and drool-inducing level, then this cookie is clearly the mother of all chocolate chunk cookies. I found this recipe awhile back at Ambitious Kitchen (http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2012/09/nutella-stuffed-brown-butter-sea-salt-chocolate-chip-cookies-my-favorite-cookie-ever/) and was simply enamored. I have since made a few little changes, but the brown butter and the Nutella have not budged. And while this cookie may sound intimidating to make, it’s pretty straightforward!

Start by putting two sticks of butter in a small pot over medium heat to brown. It will take awhile,  and you might get frustrated, but then all of a sudden it will brown and smell divine. Let the magic happen while you whisk together 1 1/4 cup of flour, a hefty pinch of salt, 3/4 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp cornstarch. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. Just let them get to know each other before the butter comes in. Get out 1 egg and an egg yolk so they can come to room temperature, and have your vanilla out, too! Once your butter starts to foam up and there are brown flavor nuggets swirling about, it should be ready to remove from the heat. Trust me, you’ll be able to tell when it’s brown. Let it cool off a bit and then mix it with the sugars. Beat in your egg and yolk, along with two teaspoons of vanilla, for 2 minutes or so. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and start to slowly add your dry ingredients. Once everything is incorporated fold in a mix of milk and dark chocolate chunks (I really like the look of chunks you cut yourself, but chips work here as well!).

Now it’s time for the tricky part. I highly recommend keeping your hands wet for this, as well as chilling the bowl of dough for 10 minutes! That way, things will be much easier to handle. Set up an assembly line starting with your chilled bowl of dough, jar of Nutella (plus spoon), and a greased plate for your Nutella stuffed dough balls. What you’ll want to do here is form a ball of dough (minimal chunks) like you were baking standard drop cookies. Flatten that dough ball, make a little nest for the Nutella, plop it on in there, and seal it up. Then carefully insert some chocolate chunks and place it on your plate. Trust me, this tedious process is worth it! See?

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Sometimes, I like to make my Nutella nuggets before hand by placing them on a plate and refrigerating them before assembly.  After a few cookies, you’ll fall into a pattern and figure out what works best for you. Just don’ be afraid to get you hands dirty! Once you’ve formed your cookies, let them chill for at least 20 minutes before baking them off at 350 for 9-11 minutes. I highly, highly recommend under baking them slightly– anticipating the re-heating they will inevitably go through before being served atop a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.

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You should also grab some milk, too. Oh, and a napkin. These can get messy.