I'm not usually the competitive type. My friend Cyndi, she's the type to take a holiday baked goods competition to the next level, but me, I'm the annoying girl saying genuinely from the sidelines, "Wasn't that just fun?!" However, I decided to scrap that stereotype and get serious about my office's cookie swap this year.
It wasn't a competition last year, and I made these dark chocolate pomegranate cookies. They were good and festive, but I couldn't do a repeat, so I was back at square one. Joy the Baker's red velvet black & white cookies caught my eye. They were my first test batch, and they were good. They were like little personal sized cakes for lovers of cream cheese, vanilla, chocolate, and everything in between. But they demanded I use every mixing bowl we own and that I return to the dollar store to buy about $5 worth of red food coloring. Considering I was planning to make these on a Tuesday night after a full day of work and before a full day of work, I had no interest in putting that much effort into this competition. Onto plan b...
While perusing blogs, I came across rice crispy treat chocolate chip cookies, which I can't find the original recipe for now (this one's fairly similar). I used peppermint marshmallows thinking, "I'm so clever!" Then the marshmallows turned into a red sticky pool of sugar blood, and I picked all of the remaining marshmallows out. At this point, I was just interested in finishing baking the cookies so Mike and I could leave for a dinner party, but I was pretty annoyed that I had to throw away a cup of perfectly fine peppermint marshmallows. The cookies, sans marshmallows, turned out great. The crispy rice cereal (I got the off-brand) toasted up and added a new dimension to a chocolate chip cookie. The dinner party guests were smitten with them, and the whole batch was pretty much gone by the time we left despite everyone having stuffed themselves silly with dumplings beforehand.
I would definitely make this recipe or something similar again, but I would leave out the marshmallows. I made s'mores cookies once upon a time, and I remember stuffing the mini marshmallows on top of the cookie dough mounds I had already laid out on the cookie sheet. Maybe the flavor to coloring to sugar ratio made them extra melty? The world may never know because I had to move onto plan c...
First of all, these cookies—the ultimate winners of my own little cookie competition against myself—were made possible by my unfortunate tendency to impulse buy baking supplies. Mike and I stopped at Big Y on the way home from his parents' house on Sunday to get crisped rice cereal so I could attempt the previous recipe. Then I wandered over to the baking aisle where the mint chocolate chips and the Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder were on sale! I resisted the mint chocolate chips, but tucked the little container of dark chocolate powder under my arm.
And I am so glad that I did. Midway through picking out little pink marshmallows from the previously attempted dough, I remembered this post from Tumbleweeds blog. Mike was napping on the couch so I thought Why not? (as in, Why not make two different kinds of cookies in the span of two hours?) And this recipe is so straightforward (I love the way she just puts the instructions in line with the ingredients). I mixed it all up, the dark dark color of the batter making me giddy, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge just in time to take a shower and head out the door.
The next night was the taste test. I rolled up a few balls, dipped them in powdered sugar, stuffed half an Andes mint in a few of them, and baked them up at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. They came out perfect! Like little pillows of dark chocolate. The Andes mint added a nice festive kick to these babies, but trust me when I say they are perfect all on their own. This immediately became one of my favorite cookies because of the taste and how simple it is to throw together.
I made two more batches, wrapping these in wax paper and setting them in the fridge to chill until Tuesday night. I ended up baking only two of the three batches that were in my fridge, and the third one is reserved for a birthday party this weekend. I didn't end up winning the office cookie competition (the winner had little thumbprints of whiskey caramel in them. genius!), but I came out a stronger, smarter baker because of it. I'm glad we had so many events to go to this weekend, so the majority of these cookies were eaten by people other than Mike and me. Except for the chocolate crackle cookies. We ate plenty of those.