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“Gail’s Favorite Things” Cookies, the Chocolate Version

Gail

Caramel, chocolate, coconut, cinnamon … these are a few of my favorite things. What are yours? Inspired by a couple cookie recipes that flowed through my Pinterest feed, my Feedly, and some search results, I decided to put together a cookie that contains ALL my favorite things. This recipe from Roxanna’s Home Baking in particular made me stop to think! Why NOT add all your favorite things to one recipe? And what would mine actually be?

It was a bit difficult to keep the list short enough that the cookie would make sense to my tastebuds, but I did it. I encourage you to  create your own Favorite Things Cookie recipe! 

Gail

First, think about what cookies you like best. I like an oatmeal cookie loaded with dried fruit. Love chocolate chip cookies with big chunks of semi-sweet chocolate. Swoon over Mrs. Field’s (or anyone’s) white chocolate macadamia, especially when I could find it with coconut included! Snickerdoodles with both cinnamon AND cloves in the rolling sugar (as it should be!) … Hello Dolly Bars because of the gooey, the chocolate, and the graham cracker crust. Lofthouse soft white sugar cookies with a thick layer of vanilla frosting. Flavorwise, the salt-with-sweet trend makes me happy, too.

Gail

Which of the chocolates? Although I will always eat dark chocolate for just nibbling on, in my cookies I love best both white chocolate and semi-sweet. Oh, and no vanilla chips, please, but the real white chocolate.  I hunted all over and finally found Callebaut white chocolate chips in a bulk bin. My area seems to be short on white chocolate options.

Gail

Gail

(playing with my macro lens ^^ )

I’ve recently discovered pistachios and like them and their nutrition better than macadamias and my other favorites, pecans and toasted hazelnuts. I initially had decided on pistachios, but when I realized how much chocolate I wanted to include in these, I switched to hazelnuts. What nut would you choose, if any? Maybe sunflower seeds instead? 

Gail

Would my Favorite Things for a cookie include dried fruit? This was a tough decision because I do love apricots, raisins, cranberries, figs, dates… I load up my Breakfast Cookies with all the dried fruits I can get my hands on. (And what? I haven’t shared that recipe yet?!) But! I do NOT like fruit with my chocolate. And this cookie will definitely contain a lot of chocolate.

Gail

Therefore, no fruit in these. Also, now I must create a recipe for “Gail’s Favorite Things” Cookies, the Fruit Version! Don’t let me forget to consider citrus zest or candied citrus peel when I get around to those. That’s where the pistachios belong, too!

Oh. Does coconut count as fruit? Because these must contain coconut, well-toasted before adding. My oven had some big jobs before the cookies went in!

Gail

Gail

Cinnamon and like spices are a comfort taste and smell for me, as they are to many people. Do I want any spices in these, or do I want to save spices for the fruit version? I think I’ll skip spices in this chocolate containing version. Would you? 

Vanillaaaaaaaaahhhh … These needed a nice strong vanilla flavor, including that vanilla bean influence! However, if you *ahem* get forgetful or lazy or both, a double-dose of a good vanilla extract works fine. Just sayin’. 

Peanut butter, almond butter — do I want any of these flavors in the dough? Actually my favorite is hazelnut butter. Which would play happily with my choices? I’ll skip the nut butter and just go with full-force pure butter in these. For now at least ;) 

Gail

Brown sugar presence. OMG I am brown-sugar-crazed once I start thinking about it. But maybe oooey-gooey-caramel would be the better choice, because I love that browned butter + burnt sugar thing, too. I’m waffling (now I want waffles with butter and brown sugar!) because I like to make chocolate chip cookie dough with dark-dark-dark brown sugar. Eeeek, what to do??? Make the dough with all brown sugar AND put caramel on top! Yes!

Gail

Good thing I have this giant block of caramel to play with :) Heat gently with a tiny bit of cream and it’s ready.

Among other baking influences, I am also have a bit of a fixation for streusel topping or anything like an apple crisp topping with oats. But that sounds like it should be a thought for the Fruit Version. How am I going to pull that off?

Mint is another flavor I feel that I must address. Love peppermint candy canes, Thin Mints, mint chocolate chip ice cream… just nothing spearmint, thanks! But I don’t believe I’ll be including mint in my Favorite Things cookies. Maybe you might like mint chocolate chips in yours? 

Then there’s the whole salt thing. Salted caramel. Salt flakes on top. Pretzels in things. There we go! Crunched up pretzels inside for little hits of salt! YUM!

Gail

Break the skinny pretzels up into short pieces so you don’t get stabbed in your mouth by a piece. Am I right?

Shop, prep, stir and mix.

Gail

Gail

 Look at all my goodies! I’ll bet that dough was delicious before it was baked. But I wouldn’t know, because I *never* sample raw cookie dough. Nope. Never.

Ha. 

Gail

Gail

Bake, add toppings and sample… WOW! Even better!

Gail

Of course, they contain all of MY favorite things, so I’m going to think that way!

Gail

Gail

Gail

A few tweaks for the proportions — who knew the hazelnuts would be so dominating — and I am one happy cookie monster because these cookies do have all my favorite things!

Want to try them? The recipe below has the proportions of add-ins that I will be using the next time for a better flavor balance. But really? Make them YOUR favorite way! You know they’ll be good!

Gail's Favorite Things Cookies, the Chocolate Version
Yields 30
Original loaded cookie recipe that contains all of my favorite add-ins that go well with chocolate.
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Dough
  1. 2/3 c. butter
  2. scant 1 c. brown sugar
  3. 1 large egg
  4. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, spooned lightly into measuring cups
  6. 1/2 tsp. salt
  7. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Stir ins
  1. 2/3 c. white chocolate chips
  2. 1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  3. 1/3 c. toasted and skinned hazelnuts, chopped to chocolate chip size
  4. 1/2 c. thin crunchy pretzels, broken into 1/4" - 3/8" lengths (do not add crumbs)
  5. 1/2 c. toasted coconut (the sweetened flakes), crushed
  6. Keep back 2 Tbsp of the coconut for topping
Topping
  1. About a 1/3 c. commercial caramel candies such as Brach's, unwrapped and melted gently with a tablespoon of cream or half and half. Stir as melting until smooth. Adjust proportions for a topping that is not runny or too sticky at room temperature but is soft enough not to stick to your teeth! Use warm for easy handling.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare all add-ins ahead of time.
  3. Mix dough by first creaming the butter and brown sugar together until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine salt and soda with flour, then mix in briefly. Stir in all add-ins gently but thoroughly.
  4. Immediately scoop onto cookie sheets in portions about 3 Tbsp. each and bake one at a time but without delay.
  5. Bake 8-12 minutes until golden brown around the edges and top appears cooked. Cool on rack.
  6. When cool, top with prepared caramel, then sprinkle with reserved coconut.
Notes
  1. Dough can be baked in a flat pan: grease and flour pan to hold dough about 1/2" thick. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown around edges and top looks baked. Loosen edges, cool in pan. Remove from pan, cut into desired servings, add toppings.
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Gail

Gail

If you are me, you will love these! If you are not me, I’m pretty sure you’ll still think they’re delicious! 

What would be in YOUR Favorite Things Cookie? Tell me in the comments!

Happy Baking!

Gail

 

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