Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Giant Rocky Road Cookies

There are cookies, and then there are COOKIES; these would be classified as the latter. When I promoted to Pampered Chef Director, my best friend Elizabeth and I celebrated with a steak dinner... and these cookies. I chose them from the Simply Sweet Cookbook, and I'm ashamed to say I'd had the recipe over a year before trying it. I don't have a good excuse for letting this slip by, but I'll be sure to make up for lost time. Anyway, try these. They're honestly good enough that I'd pay for them at a bakery, and that's saying a lot for me.
(Cookies are displayed on the Cake Pedestal.)

Giant Rocky Road Cookies

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (plus additional for flattening cookies)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans, divided
1 pkg. (11.5 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chunks, divided
1 1/4 cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in small bowl; mix well, and set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture; beat just until mixture forms into a dough. Stir in 3/4 cup pecans and 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chunks.

Using Large Scoop, drop eight rounded scoops of dough, 2 inches apart, onto cookie sheet. Dip back of scoop in cocoa powder, and flatten cookies slightly. Lightly press half of the remaining pecans and chocolate chunks into tops of cookies.

Bake 14-16 minutes or until cookies are almost set. (Centers will be soft. Do not overbake.) Remove cookie sheet from oven; immediately press half of the marshmallows into tops of cookies. Cool completely on cooling rack. Repeat with remaining dough, pecans, chocolate chunks, and marshmallows.

I talk a lot about the Measuring Cup Set, but it's because I can't get over it! The sheer quality of these cups is true to Pampered Chef form, but there are also a couple more than the standard set plus a leveler tool. So handy! I have things on the Cutting Board to keep my work surface clean, but I'm failing miserably. Anyway, this is the 2-Qt. Stainless Mixing Bowl, and you can see those handy measurements inside!

New this month - the Measuring Spoon Set!!! This was my first time to use these, and I imediately fell in love. They're sturdy, and they have rounded ends to dig in ingredients easily. Also, notice how many come in this set: 6. Hello, 1/2-tablespoon measure!

Everything's about to come together for the most amazing cookies I've ever had, and I'm eager with anticipation. It was all I could do to stop, take a picture, and keep moving. My toasted pecans are on the Small Bar Pan, the one that fits in the toaster oven. Quick tip: toast the pecans while you're prepping everything. Of course I have my flour mixture and soon-to-be butter mixtures in the Stainless Mixing Bowl Set, the best bowls of all time. Look the Measuring Spoon Set - see how they snap together even if a couple are in use? Also, my teaspoon of vanilla is stable because there's a little base on the back of the spoon. My egg is in a Prep Bowl, and marshmallows are hanging out in an Easy Read Measuring Cup. See that little Stainless Mini-Whisk in the flour/cocoa bowl? That was my mom's favorite product, and she had a kitchen full of Pampered Chef.

I am in love with all of the scrapers, but the Mix 'N Scraper might be my favorite. It's amazing with thick batters, but I adore the shape of its head. It acts as a spoon for me to "gradually add flour mixture." This is the point of the recipe where I really feel like I'm about to make something. I mean, there's batter, and it's all over the place, and I want to lick the beaters, and - oh, wait - I never do that!

According to the editor's note in my Simply Sweet Cookbook, "dipping the back of the Large Scoop in cocoa powder will keep the cookie from sticking as you flatten it. The flat surface keeps the chocolate chunks and pecans on the cookies." Why cocoa powder instead of flour? Because it's brown and won't make your cookie look floury when it bakes. That's a Pinch Bowl housing the cocoa powder, and I think it's doing a mighty fine job.

Cookie Sheet #1 is ready to go in the oven. The original recipe says to use Parchment Paper, but I was going to skip it. Then I figured I'd follow the directions just to see what happened since I'd never used it before. Well, not for cookies, at least. You know what? I didn't have to wash my Cookie Sheet when I was finished, and it didn't get any Large Serving Spatula scratches. Nice! Behind the sheet of cookies, you can see the thickness of this batter. That's why the Mix 'N Scraper was my hero; it made quick work of mixing in chocolate chunks and pecans, but was also the only way to get batter off the sides of the bowl... which meant more cookies.

I did half of these on a Cookie Sheet and half on the Large Bar Pan. All of them were excellent, and I couldn't tell a difference in final products. If you don't have Cooling Racks in your kitchen tool arsenal, let me just tell you that you're missing out. Quick tip on the marshmallows: I took the cookies out at 14 minutes, added marshmallows, and baked them an extra two minutes for hte marshmallows to toast. I'd say I'm a genius.

I've shared these cookies with several people, and I've had nothing less than rave reviews. I love these, and I'm pretty sure you will, too.

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