Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Grown-Up Gourmet Monster Cookies

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas y'all. Except for it's like sunny & about 70 degrees here in Savannah. We probably should just decorate palm trees here, it seems more fitting. But unfortunately, I've been hit with a bug and haven't been feeling very festive. Finally though, we got around to buying a christmas tree, hanging ornaments, and putting up other holiday decorations. What are some of your Christmas traditions? We have a few. I always have to bake cookies & make apple cider to enjoy while we are doing the heavy labor, and after the decorations are finished, we enjoy a large pizza and just stare at the lights while listening to Christmas music.

Also, the man of the house always has to put the angel on top of the tree when it is all dressed up. So, here are some action shots of my Mountain Man doing his manly duty (even though it's not so manly).

We took a few family portraits with our baby, Eloise. Taz wasn't been too cooperative because he's a cat.   I wish we would take a really tacky Christmas picture like the ones I've seen floating around the internet. Maybe like the one below? I mean how hilarious is that picture. I want to meet these people either because they aren't being serious, which is brilliant. Or they are being serious... and I will love them even more. Do you realize she is holding a goat? Yes, a goat. I can't even make this up. So, put this on the to-do list for our Christmas card next year. Classic.

The Mountain Man is really enjoying pizza, can't you tell? And if you're wondering, which you probably are... it's a pizza with pesto, sundried tomatoes, italian sausage, and pineapple with NO CHEESE. We realize it is the weirdest combination ever, but it is our favorite and that's why were probably dating, haha.

Don't you love our little Christmas apartment? I do. I never want to leave because it's just so festive & cozy. Anyway, the rest of this week I will be featuring some Christmas cookie recipes that I made while we were decorating. The first cookie that I will be posting are my Grown-Up Gourmet Monster cookies. As a kid, Peej and I always made monster cookies during the holidays. You know the ones with oatmeal, peanut butter, m&m's, and lots of other things. So I thought why not make an adult version of the monster cookie with gourmet and trendy ingredients, instead of the gimmicky ones. There's definitely nothin' wrong with the original recipe because they truly are delicious. I browned the butter, and then added in biscoff spread (instead of peanut butter), toffee bits, milk chocolate truffles, bittersweet chocolate, chocolate covered espresso beans, potato chips, and pretzels. I especially love the chocolate covered espresso beans. It made the cookies taste exactly like Java Chip Ice Cream. I think I'm going to add the espresso beans into my chocolate cookie recipe next, but that's for a different day. Make these cookies for yourself, or they would be great to give out as gifts to friends & neighbors!! Enjoy :)

Grown-Up Gourmet Monster Cookies
For the Cookies:
2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
1 Stick of Melted, Browned Butter
¼C Gourmet Raw Bourbon Vanilla Sugar
¼C Granulated Sugar
1 ¾C Light Brown Sugar
2 Eggs + 1 Egg Yolk
1C Biscoff Spread
2t Vanilla
1t Sea Salt
2C Cake Flour
1C Bread Flour
½C AP Flour
1 ½t Baking Soda
3C Gourmet Baking Ingredients: (1C Toffee Bits, 3.5oz Chopped Milk Chocolate Truffles, 4oz Chopped 70% Chocolate, and 1C Roughly Chopped Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans)
2C Gourmet Snack Foods: (1C Cape Cod Plain Potato Chips and 1C Chopped Pretzels)
Fleur de Sel, For Sprinkling     

1. Preheat the oven to 365 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with Pam, then set aside.
2. To Brown the Butter: Heat a thick-bottomed skillet on medium heat. Add the sliced butter, whisking it frequently. Continue to cook the butter. Once the butter has melted, it will foam up a bit, and then subside. Watch it carefully as lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan. You should smell a nutty aroma and it should be golden-brown in color. Remove from heat and let it completely cool before adding it to the cookie dough.
3. Cream the 2 sticks of butter and browned butter with the gourmet vanilla sugar, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the mixer then add the two eggs and egg yolk one at a time, incorporating each one completely before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl. Mix in the Biscoff spread, vanilla and sea salt.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cake flour, bread flour, AP flour, and baking soda.
5. With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just incorporated (don’t over mix).
6. Fold or beat in your choices of the gourmet baking ingredients until it’s completely incorporated and the ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout the dough. Lastly, lightly beat in cape cod potato chips and chopped pretzels until just combined (don’t beat it too much or your won’t have chunks of snacks). Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours, but preferably 24-48 hours. Once chilled, scoop the dough into roughly ¼C balls (or I used a large ice cream scoop), and then using your fingers crimp the tops of the cookies to make them more jagged (this will make them look more homemade). Because the cookies are quite large, I only put 6 cookies per sheet tray, so that when they cook & spread, they will not touch each other.
7. Sprinkle the fleur de sel on top of the cookie dough balls, then bake the for 12-14 minutes (cook them for 6-7 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees, and cook for another 6-7 minutes), until it is slightly golden brown on the edges, but still soft (slightly undercooked) on the inside. Leave the cookies on the sheet tray for 10 minutes, so that the cookies will finish baking.
8. Once the cookies have rested on the sheet tray, move the finished cookies to a cooling rack, and let them completely cool completely before eating.

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