Wednesday, March 24, 2010

German Chocolate "Drop Cake" Cookies

My parents divorced when I was young. I spent the majority of my time with my mom, who was a single mother until I was thirteen years old. When I was ten, we moved to a new house. That meant I had to leave my old babysitter behind and begin staying home alone from 3 until 5pm each day.

Well, my mom's favorite cake is German Chocolate Cake. She usually kept the cake mix and icing in the cabinet in case she wanted to have some.

Well, when it came time for her birthday, I decided to come home from school and bake her a German Chocolate cake before she got home from work. I did quite well at following the instructions and the cake turned out great. I got the frosting on and had it waiting on the counter. Just about that time, I heard the garage door opening. I rushed to the kitchen to try to hide the cake in a lower cabinet, so she wouldn't see it right away (never realizing that the whole house probably smelled of cake). When I grabbed the cake plate off the counter, I dropped the whole thing. It splatted all over the kitchen floor and i burst into tears. My mom came in, saw me crying over a pile of German Chocolate cake on the floor.

She consoled me, telling me that she had just mopped the kitchen floor the night before so the floor was clean. We scooped all the cake off the floor and piled it back onto the cake plate and she ate it. She said it was the best "drop cake" she had ever tasted.

Whenever I see German Chocolate cake to this day, I am reminded of dropping the cake in the kitchen floor when I was a kid.

This week is my mom's birthday. She loves my cookies and doesn't get as many as she would like since she lives in another state. For this week's recipe, I decided to turn her beloved German Chocolate Cake into a cookie recipe.

I tried for many days to figure out how I could include the frosting inside the cookie or at least add ingredients that would impart the flavor of the frosting. I couldn't come up with anything. I asked a fellow baker from work and she didn't have any creative ideas either.

In the end, I created a german chocolate cookie by adapting the cake recipe using cookie ratios. I made my cookies into a sandwich using the german chocolate icing as filling. The recipe only made about a dozen big sandwiches.

Keith and I both had one and it was delicious. The cookie has a nice fluffy cake texture and the icing was the perfect touch.

I packed up a box of the remaining cookies and sent them to my mom today. Hopefully she'll get them just in time for her birthday this weekend.

Here is the recipe for those who are interested:

German Chocolate Cookies

4 oz. German Chocolate, chopped
6 TBsp Butter, cut into slices
1/3 C Sugar
1/3 C Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
2 TBsp Buttermilk
1 C All-Purpose Flour
1/2 C Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Put chocolate and butter into a heat proof bowl and microwave on 50% power until melted. You should stop microwaving while there are still small chunks of chocolate. You can melt the remainder by stirring. This will allow you to take care not to overheat the chocolate. Allow to cool. You can also use a double bowler if you prefer.
3. Put flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda into a separate bowl. Mix lightly with a fork or whisk. Set aside.
4. In another bowl mix chocolate mixture, white and brown sugars on medium speed until well combined.
5. To chocolate mixture, add eggs and buttermilk and mix on medium low speed until combined.
6. Reduce the mixer to low speed, add the flour mixture 1/3 at a time, mixing until just combined. Take care not to overwork the flour, by doing the final mixing by hand.
7. Drop balls approximately 1 1/2" diameter onto prepared sheets. I like to use a ice cream scoop.
8. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on sheet for 1 minute. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely before icing.
9. Make sandwiches using german chocolate icing.*
*For this recipe, I actually used store bought icing to save time. It tasted great, but you can also use your favorite german chocolate icing recipe.

Makes approximately 15 sandwiches.

Blueberry Cookies Redux, Part 1

In addition to the new recipe I will be creating this week, I revisited the Blueberry Cookies from a couple of weeks ago, in hopes of creating something that wouldn't turn into a mushy mess.

This time, I decided to use dried blueberries. I still wanted to use the blueberry jam in the recipe, since it did add some blueberry flavor. I also thought I might turn this into an oatmeal cookie, with the idea that maybe the oatmeal would soak up some of the moisture.

Well, I worked out a recipe including both oatmeal and toasted almonds. I added in my dried blueberries. And waited for them to come out of the oven.

I was a bit disappointed with the outcome. They weren't bad, they just weren't anything to brag about. I found the oatmeal and nuts to be very distracting. Surprisingly the dried blueberries did still retain a lot of blueberry flavor, but one package (4oz) was not nearly enough to make this a true blueberry cookie. The cookies didn't turn to mush, but they had a weird texture.

I found them quite nice to eat for breakfast. I had previously had a lot of complaints about the previous batch being too sweet. This time I used mostly brown sugar, which imparts less of a sweet taste. Unfortunately, brown sugar also keeps the cookie from developing a nice cookie crumble.

I sat down and created a 4th revision based on the taste and texture of this batch. I decided to take all of these in to work to get rid of them in a hurry. I was surprised to find that several people thought they were good. Most commented that they had never had a blueberry cookie before. The regular tasters thought this new batch was better than the mush batch, but still not right.

Perhaps I will give it another shot this coming weekend.