Pleasure based Wellness might be one way to describe the annual Cookie Bakeoff. Reminding us it is ok to indulge from time to time, especially when the taste of home baked cookies provides so much joy!
This year’s bakeoff had a record number of tasters from the university community. There were just over a dozen different types of cookies to sample. Here are some of the recipes that took top honors after tasters voted for their favorites. Thank you to all the bakers whose cookies all got a lot of love from the voters!
First Place: German Chocolate Cake Brownie Cookies
Second Place: Turtle Cookies
Third Place: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
German Chocolate Cake Brownie Cookies
By Lena Yurs
(You can double the batch to make more cookies for sharing—1 batch usually makes around 2 dozen cookies).
1.5 C flour
1/3+ C cocoa (a little extra cocoa never hurts--especially if you want to make it a dark choc version--reduce sugar and add some cocoa)
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1.5 C brown sugar (packed)
2/3 C butter (softened)
1 T water
1 t vanilla
2 C chocolate chips
1/2 C evaporated milk
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 C butter, soft and salted
1/2 C flaked coconut (sweet or unsweetened both work)
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C pecans, toasted* and chopped
To make the cookies--
1. Preheat oven to 375 deg F
2. Combine cocoa, flour, salt, and baking soda, mix well, and set aside.
3. Cream together brown sugar, butter, water, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs and continue beating for 2 minutes.
5. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. Then add chocolate chips.
6. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls (probably ends up to be about a tablespoon plus of dough) onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Do not flatten or press down--they will spread a little while baking.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for around 5-7 minutes. Check the cookies early because ovens vary. Remove them when they look like the sides have set (the top middle might still be shiny) and could maybe use another minute. Another minute will over-bake them--these cookies should be soft and decadent when cool not hard and dry. You can also used the bottoms of the cookies as a guide--don't let them get much darker than the rest of the cookie. Let them cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet and then carefully remove to cooking racks.
To make the topping--
1. Heat all ingredients except coconut, pecans, and vanilla until it coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a line in it (the line should stay and not fill in immediately).
2. Remove from heat and stir in coconut, pecans, and a splash of vanilla.
3. Allow to cool slightly (It should stay on the tops and not pour/drip down the sides too much.) then spoon over cooled cookies. There should be enough filling to put about a tablespoon or so of filling on top of each cookie. Let the topping set and the cookies can be placed in containers to store or enjoy them right away!
*The pecans don't have to be toasted but it is easy and adds a tremendous amount of flavor. Place pecan halves in a single layer on a cookie sheet--you can leave them dry or coat them in a very small amount of melted butter (I prefer the latter). Bake them in a hot oven (400 to 450 deg F) until you can smell the nutty aroma. They will get slightly darker, as well. This should take 15 minutes or so depending on how many pecans you're toasting and how hot the oven is. Place them on a plate to cool. They will be wonderfully crisp and tasty! You won't even need to use a knife to chop them--just break them up with your fingers.
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 T. (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 additional egg white
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. pecans, finely chopped
14 soft caramel candies
3 T. heavy cream
Chocolate Drizzle (optional):
2 oz. milk chocolate
1 tsp. shortening
Prepare the Cookies:
1. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.
2. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla; mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined.
3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
4. Whisk egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in another bowl. Roll chilled dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, and then roll in pecans. Place balls about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.
5. Bake at 350 degrees until set, about 12 minutes.
Prepare the Caramel Filling:
6. Microwave caramels and cream together in a small bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.
7. Once cookies are removed from the oven, gently re-press the indentations. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel mixture. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare the Chocolate Drizzle (optional):
8. Place chocolate and shortening in a small zip-top plastic bag. Set bag in a bowl of warm water to soften. Gently knead the chocolate with your fingers until melted and smooth, placing back in the warm water for a minute or two as needed.
9. Snip a very small hole in the corner of the plastic bag. Drizzle chocolate over the cooled Turtle Cookies.
Makes about 30 cookies.-
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
Prepare the brownies:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Spray a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick spray.
In a medium glass bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave in
short bursts of 30 seconds; stir after each burst and remove
from microwave when melted and smooth.
Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter and brown sugar.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk those in too.
Mix in melted chocolate.
Whisk in the flour and mix just until combined (don’t over-mix).
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes.
Watch closely and remove from oven when toothpick inserted
into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
Prepare the cookie dough:
In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to
combine butter, brown sugar and white sugar.
Mix in milk and vanilla.
Mix in flour just until combined.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Spread cookie dough over the cooled brownies.
Refrigerate until the dough is quite firm. Use a sharp
knife to cut the brownies.
To add chocolate drizzle on top, melt 1/2 cup chocolate
chips with 1 teaspoon of shortening in the microwave;
stir until smooth.
Scoop the melted chocolate into a zip baggie and
snip off the corner.
Squeeze the bag to drizzle the chocolate on top
of each brownie.
Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top.