Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hot Cocoa Cookies

When it comes to warm beverages, I tend to like them all: coffee, tea, apple cider, hot toddy, mulled wine, heck in the afternoons at work I even drink just plain hot water. But there is definitely something special about hot cocoa. I think what tends to sell me on this particular drink is the additives – specifically, marshmallows and/or whipped topping. So about a year ago as I was perusing the December issue of my Rachael Ray Magazine, I couldn't help but stop when I noticed the recipe for these hot cocoa cookies. There is something kind of neat about taking your favorite drink and morphing it into baked good form, and believe me when I say these cookies do their drink counterpart justice.

-1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
-7 bars (~3.5 oz. each) semi-sweet chocolate (I used the Hershey's Baking Bar)
     -chop 12 oz. roughly to melt, cut 7.5 oz. into small squares, and chop the rest for the garnish
-1 1/2 cups of flour
-1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 1/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar
-3 eggs, at room temperature
-1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
-~30 marshmallows

-In a small pot, melt the 12 oz. chopped chocolate together with the butter over medium heat. Stir frequently to avoid burning the (somewhat pricey) chocolate. When it's soft and goopey, set aside to cool for 15 minutes (see first image below).
-Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
-Next, beat the sugar, eggs, and vanilla together using an electric mixer set on low speed (1-2 minutes, until smooth). Add the cooled chocolate, and blend until just combined. Add half of the flour mixture, beating until fully incorporated, then repeat with the other half. Refrigerate the dough for one hour.
-Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line your cookie sheet(s) with parchment. When the dough is ready, use a tablespoon to create about one inch dough balls. Roll between your palms, and then flatten slightly with a spoon (see 3rd image below). Leave about two inches between each dough ball on your cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the tops are crackly (see 4th image below).
-While the cookies are baking, begin cutting your marshmallows in half. Adhere a square of chocolate (from the small squares that you cut, above) to the sticky side of each marshmallow (see 5th image below).
-Take your delicious, amazing cookies out of the oven and carefully place a chocolate/marshmallow combo (chocolate side down) into the middle of each cookie. Replace cookie sheets in the oven and bake for four more minutes. The marshmallow should be soft.
-Sprinkle your leftover, chopped garnish chocolate onto the tops of the cookies. Cool on the cookie sheet for five minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack. Repeat the process as many times as needed.

If you are thinking to yourself "gosh that looks difficult" based on the amount of words in the directions above, please read through them and realize how not-difficult these are to make; these cookies are SO GOOD and you will not regret baking them. I cut the recipe in half because I wanted to test them before going full out, but the good news for you is that you don't have to bother doing this. Just make the whole batch because you'll be sorry that you didn't. My ONE disclaimer is that, once the cookies have completely cooled, they lack the gooey-ness you see in the picture directly above. That being said, in the name of research (you're welcome), I microwaved a cookie for 15 seconds, and it brings it right back to that lovely, just from the oven state. If I haven't convinced you yet, let me comment further that baking these is the perfect excuse to blast the *NSYNC Christmas CD and dance around your kitchen like an idiot. There, now I've convinced you.

P.S. Many thanks to Rachael Ray Magazine for coming up with these
P.P.S. I have this recipe because I clipped it out and put it in my book. Did you start yours yet??

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