Monday, February 3, 2014

K is for: Kitchen Sink Valentine's Day Cookies

Really these should be called Cupid Cookies.

Because, let's face it... if you make these for someone, they are likely to fall in love with you (if they haven't already).

They could also be called Crack Cookies, but that's not as cute sounding.

And I'm all about cute.

Especially on holidays.

These are my version of a Kitchen Sink cookie (or a compost cookie, or a garbage cookie, or whatever you call them). As you know, I'm not a baker, but I made a New Year's Resolution to become better at it. I've made these now three times, slightly tweaking each batch to make them what I feel to be truly perfect cookies. And crack. They're very addicting.

The best part about these cookies is they are very versatile. The whole "kitchen sink" concept is that you can basically find whatever sounds good from your cupboard and throw it into the batter. On the sweet side (left), I went with two chopped up Heath bars (thanks for the idea Laura Sylvan), Valentine's Day Peanut butter M&M's (I love all things PB), and mini chocolate chips from Ghiradelli. (Just for reference, the first time I did peanut butter chips and regular M&M's in Christmas colors).

On the savory side (right), I did olive oil kettle chips (the chips sound weird, but don't skip this ingredient please), broken pretzel pieces (mini pretzels would've been cute if I could find some), and a few freshly ground coffee grinds (again, sounds weird, but so good).

The first time I made them, I started with an adaption of the Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookie. To be honest, they were a little too crunchy for my taste, so I did a lot of research (this is a great post about how different elements affect the baking process) and made my own little tweaks along the way.

Among some of my revelations for crisp on the edges, soft in the middle, rich cookies (keeping in mind I'm NOT a baking expert):

1.) More brown sugar than granulated sugar
2.) An extra egg yolk
3.) Just a touch of cornstarch (sounds weird, but I've seen this tip on a bunch of blogs)
4.) Weigh your flours, sugars, etc for more accurate results
5.) REFRIGERATE THE DOUGH. For at least 24 hours. Trust me, this is very important.
6.) Use a cookie scoop for uniform cookies
7.) If using M&M's, gently press into the tops of the dough before baking to get a few pretty pieces on top. (You can do this with the chocolate chips too).
8.) Bake on parchment paper or a silpat
9.) Allow to cool slightly on the baking pan once removing from the oven
10.) Store with a little piece of bread in the tupperware to keep cookies moist and chewy

My only gripe is that the M&M's always seem to crack. Perhaps adding them to the top halfway through the cooking time might help this, but it seemed like too much unnecessary work. Cracked M&M's are rustic, right?

Rustic or ROMANTIC. Either way, these Cupid cookies are sure to keep your Valentine coming back for more.

Kitchen Sink Cookies

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert chocolate cookie

Ingredients (3 dozen cookies)
  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 225 grams (1 1/4 cup) light brown sugar, packed tight
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 225 grams (1.5 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips, plus more for pressing into the tops
  • 2 Heath bars, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 teaspoons coffee grounds
  • 3/4 cup M&M's (peanut butter or plain), plus more for pressing into the tops
  • 2 cups potato chips
  • 1/4 cup broken pretzel pieces
  1. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch and salt. Reduce speed to low and add this mixture to the butter mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than a minute. Scrape down the sides with a rubber scraper.
  3. Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, heath bar bits, oats, and coffee and mix just until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Still on low speed, add the M&M's, potato chips and pretzels until just incorporated (just a couple of turns of the paddle). Be careful not to over mix or break too many of the potato chips.
  4. Using a 1.5 inch cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons worth), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat and gently press additional M&M's and chocolate chips into the tops of the mounds. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but preferably 24-48 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Place the cookie balls on a parchment-lined or silpat lined baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned on the edges. (They will appear undercooked in the middle when you take them out but they will firm up once they cool.) Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

*If freezing the dough, flash-freeze the dough balls on the parchment-lined pans. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag. They will need a few extra minutes in the oven once you bake them, but otherwise they should cook up just the same!
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  1. I'm making these for my coworkers next week! We work nights and sometimes it's really hard to stay motivated when it starts to get late, but having something yummy like this will put a bright spot in our evening!

    1. Sounds like a great idea Megan! Let me know how they turned out!

  2. Oh my goodness!
    Gorgeous Valentine's Day Cookies.
    These look wonderful!

  3. Sounds like you are taking after Aunt Candy with the ultra precise measuring. I am the opposite and can promise most things still turn out fine. These are beautiful! Stock up on airline pretzels for your next batch? ;)

  4. YUM! Not only would these cookies be hard to stay away from, but having all those tasty ingredients in the house might be a recipe for gluttony. but... I think I have to make them anyways because they look insanely delish. nicely done!

  5. You should make these for you family. I mean, like do it today.


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