A Cookie for a Crowd

A Cookie for a Crowd - An oversized chocolate chip cookie by somethingwewhippedup.com

A Cookie for a Crowd – An oversized chocolate chip cookie by somethingwewhippedup.com

This past Saturday our home smelled like chocolate chip cookies ALL DAY LONG! Doesn’t sound so bad, right? It all started when I promised a friend that I would make a batch of our Chocolate-Covered Cookie Dough Bites for a bridal shower she was throwing. Not a problem! Sure, the treats are a bit time consuming to make, but they’re delicious and well worth the work. The trick was making them AND whipping up another dessert for a Super Bowl party that we’d be attending on Sunday. I already had all of the ingredients for the cookie dough out—butter, flour, etc.—so I thought, why not just make another chocolate chip dessert? I started out with a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe but then got a crazy idea when it came time to plop the dough onto the cookie sheet: Why not cover the entire sheet with dough! I did, and the end result was magical.
A Cookie for a Crowd - An oversized chocolate chip cookie cut up for serving (somethingwewhippedup.com)

A Cookie for a Crowd – An oversized chocolate chip cookie cut up for serving (somethingwewhippedup.com)

The dough filled an entire quarter sheet pan (roughly 13 x 18 inches) and tasted way better than those cookie cakes you can usually find at your local mall. After all, this one was homemade! We ended up cutting the oversized treat into individual servings before transporting it to the party, but it would have been equally as great to present it as one GIANT cookie. Heck, throw some candles in and it would make an excellent birthday “cake” for someone looking for something a bit different.
A Cookie for a Crowd - An closer look of the gooey chocolate chip cookie  (somethingwewhippedup.com)

A Cookie for a Crowd – An closer look of the gooey chocolate chip cookie (somethingwewhippedup.com)

Oversized Chocolate Chip Cookie

Makes about 30 pieces

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (check out our homemade vanilla extract recipe)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3.5-ounce sea salt dark chocolate bar (such as Lindt), roughly chopped
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and sugar. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix to combine after each one. Mix in the vanilla extract.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing until completely combined each time. Fold in the chocolate pieces and both types of chocolate chips. Spread dough in an even layer on prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until cookie is golden brown and set. Remove from oven, let cool in pan on a rack.

Make sure you spread the  dough in an even layer, covering the entire pan (somethingwewhippedup.com)

Make sure you spread the dough in an even layer, covering the entire pan (somethingwewhippedup.com)

SWWU Tip 1: You’re going to have to stretch the batter out pretty thin to cover the entire pan. Don’t worry, it will puff up when you bake it. Just make sure the entire pan is covered and  don’t leave any holes behind.

SWWU Tip 2: Don’t have multiple types of chocolate and chocolate chips on hand? No worries, you can use any combo to dress up this dessert. 

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Craving Cure: Crème Fraîche Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Crème Fraîch Chocolate Chunk Cookies by somethingwewhippedup.com

Crème Fraîche Chocolate Chunk Cookies by somethingwewhippedup.com

These cookies may just be the perfect solution to a chocolate craving. They’re rich but still light, i.e., you won’t feel guilty when you go back for seconds—or thirds. No judgement here! When I developed the recipe I decided to I incorporated a bit of crème fraîche that I had taking up space in my fridge. After all, tangy crème fraîche usually takes other foods I add it to up a level (remember my favorite onion dip?). The result was  a moist cookie that was full of chocolaty goodness but wasn’t dense or overloaded like so many are. I’ve made several batches and fall for them more and more each time. See for yourself.

Crème Fraîche Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (check out our homemade vanilla extract recipe)
  • 2/4 cup chocolate chunks
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips 

1. In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, cream together the butter, crème fraîche, sugar and brown sugar. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add in the eggs and mix to combine.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing until completely combined each time. Add the vanilla extract and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks and chocolate chips. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in heaping tablespoonfuls.  Space cookies at least 2.5-inches apart. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until almost set in the middle. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

SWWU TIp 1: Of course these cookies are delicious when you eat them right out of the oven, but I found the flavor to be at its peak a day later. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. They won’t last that long though.

SWWU Tip 2: These cookies are very moist and fragile when they come out of the oven. Make sure you let them set a bit on the warm pan as directed, then use your thinnest spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to continue cooling. They will firm up as they sit.
Crème Fraîch Chocolate Chunk Cookies by somethingwewhippedup.com

Crème Fraîche Chocolate Chunk Cookies by somethingwewhippedup.com

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Sugar Rush

My morning coffee—and many other treats—will never be the same, thanks to the vanilla sugar we recently made. Recycling the beans used for our delicious homemade vanilla extract, we made two batches of the sweetener. One was made with standard granulated sugar and the other was made with raw sugar. I wouldn’t say that one is better than the other, but I expect each one to carve out its own place in our kitchen. So far, the raw version has worked well to top muffins and french toast, while the granulated sugar works best when incorporated into baking recipes (like these brownies). Both give coffee and iced coffee a nice hint of flavor and I can’t wait to jazz up my summertime sweet tea (stay tuned) with a few spoonfuls.

Vanilla Sugar by somethingwewhippedup.com

Vanilla Sugar by somethingwewhippedup.com

Vanilla Sugar

Makes 1 cup

  • 1 cup sugar (granulated or raw)
  • glass jar
  • 3 vanilla beans (used is fine), split down the middle

1. Pour sugar into the glass jar. Trim the vanilla beans down to 2- to 3-inch segments so they’ll be completely covered by sugar once placed in the jar. Add to the jar, secure the lid tightly and shake until well combined. Set aside and shake the jar every few days. The flavor should develop within a week and will get stronger and stronger every day. I was happiest with ours after two weeks.

SWWU Tip 1: If you’ll be using previously used beans for this, be sure to let them sit out on the counter for a few hours to dry out. They shouldn’t be wet when placed in the sugar.

SWWU Tip 2: Using fresh pods for this? Split each down the middle, remove the seeds and add everything to the jar. Mix to combine. 

SWWU Tip 3: This can be a never-ending jar of sweetener. As the level gets lower, just add more sugar to the jar. If you notice the flavor isn’t as strong, swap in some new vanilla beans.

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Treats for Your Cookie Jar (and You)

Chocolate and banana happens to be one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations. On ice cream, in muffins or breakfast breads—it’s all good! One place I hadn’t tried this combo was in a cookie though. I started out wanting just a banana chocolate chip cookie, but thought the texture might be a bit off. It turns out that some hearty oats is just what this idea needed to come to life. The cookies below are nice and chewy with bits of chocolate and rolled oats throughout. The banana adds a subtle sweetness and familiar flavor that I bet you’ll love. Enjoy!

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies by somethingwewhippedup.com

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies by somethingwewhippedup.com

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 banana)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (check out our homemade vanilla extract recipe)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy. Add in the egg and mix to combine. Mix in the mashed banana and vanilla extract; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing until completely combined each time.

3. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips until well combined. Chill dough for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in 1 1/2 teaspoonful scoops. Space cookies at least 2.5-inches apart. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until almost set in the middle. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

SWWU Tip 1: Bananas going bad? When they start to turn, stash them in your freezer. We always have a few on hand. To defrost, just move to the fridge the day before you want to use them. They’re great for smoothies, banana bread, and of course, these cookies.

SWWU Tip 2: Try adding half a cup of walnut or almond pieces to this recipe. A bit of crunch could be a nice addition. (Someone in this house is allergic to nuts, so I wasn’t able to try this tip out though, I’m sure it’s delightful!).

SWWU Tip 3: Sandwich two of these around a scoop of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon—whatever you like) for a special treat.

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Cookies With a Kick

Brian is famous for his double chocolate chip cookies. They always make an appearance after the Thanksgiving feast and have won accolades from many of our friends. The recipe is from The Grove House Cookbook, a small spiral-bound book purchased at a restaurant by the same name on the campus of Pitzer College. It seems that the latest version of the book, available here, has made a few changes and the recipe is now vegan. I can’t speak to how the new version would taste, but the original recipe is divine. Soft with gooey chunks of chocolate, these are quite the treat. I recently played around with the recipe a bit and added a few spices for kick and tested out a new smaller size. The changes morphed the sweet cookie into a zesty treat that ended up being the perfect takeaway gift for friends after a Mexican-themed party. Lucky for all of you, this is just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies by somethingwewhippedup.com

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies by somethingwewhippedup.com

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

(Recipe adapted from Double-Chocolate Mocha Chip Cookies in The Grove House Cookbook)

Makes about 4 to 5 dozen cookies

  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (check out our homemade extract recipe)
  • 1/2 shot espresso
  • 2 cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

1.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Add the red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper to a mortal and pestle and grind until red pepper flakes are much smaller in size. Alternately, you can blend them together in a mini food processor. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add the pepper mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and dark brown sugar. Slowly mix in the eggs, vanilla and espresso. Add the dry ingredients in two equal parts, mixing until combined between each. Add chocolate chips or chunks and mix to combine. Place plastic wrap over the top of the dough and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Drop the chilled dough, a tablespoon at a time, onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until cooked through (cookies should still be soft in the middle), then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are made.

SWWU Tip 1: You can make these as spicy as you like, or leave the spices out all together. Play around and see what works for you.

SWWU Tip 2: These cookies are pretty small, really just a bite or two each. You can make them bigger if you like, just plan to cook them a bit longer.

SWWU Tip 3: Want your cookies to be perfectly round like the ones pictured above? Just roll each teaspoonful into a ball before you place it on the baking sheet. 

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