Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lackluster days need improving on...

This was one of those days that wasn't exactly bad but just MEH.  Lots of rude people with their heads up their own rear ends, lots of supposedly helpful but actually puerile busybodies & lots of little trip ups.  But as the same time it was one of those days that love & admiration for my little man filled me up near to exploding (**I'm not playing favorites here - really I swear! - just the girl was in school all day ;-) ).  All day he was his most adorable, charming, precocious self; an exhilarating change following his latest health issue.  He told me stories about the (USAF) jets flying overhead, pointed out simple words ('hot', 'go', 'stop', 'bug') & told stories about those too, he waited patiently through grocery shopping, didn't whine/ beg/ complain & almost always used please/ thank you/ you're welcome/ may I.  So by the end of the day I *wasn't* thoroughly exhausted, I didn't want to just hide until bedtime & I was still a fully engaged parent for Erin once she was released from daycare kindergarten.  So all of this led up to me being in charge of dinner while John & Erin were lining the soccer fields.  And I went all out...

Not only did I make this light, nutritious & fresh chicken tortilla soup with fresh made seasoned tortilla strips (based off this if you're curious), which was granted rave reviews by spouse & children alike ...

But I also made dessert...And not just any dessert but a brand-new off-the-cuff dessert of my own design.  I hereby dub them "S'mores Cookie Cups":

Recently my dear chocoholic hubby was in the mood for skillet cookie, as I was trying to find my favorite recipe I came across several recipes for stuffed cookies that sounded interesting but usually involved peanut butter, a huge NO NO in this house.  But the idea kept bouncing around in my head until I came across another recipe claiming to be "s'mores" but had no graham cracker in it.  I mean come on! S'mores without graham cracker?!  That's got to be sacrilegious or something :-P So I came up with these, kind of a cross between graham cracker crust & chocolate chip cookie dough (w/o the chips) & stuffed with Nutella & marshmallows.

 Seriously tell me that doesn't look AMAZING!

As I mentioned I made these with Nutella but if you're to make them (& you really should because YUM!), I recommend Hershey's Chocolate Spread w/o the hazelnut taste because again that's not really in the classic s'mores flavor profile.  But Nutella was on sale & had  BOGO coupon so it's what I had on hand ;-).  And the ones from the first batch (pictured above) don't have nearly as much marshmallow in them because I wasn't sure how much they could hold. But seriously these are just heavenly & the perfect end to a 'meh' but love filled day - And if you don't believe me, ask the chocoholic in training:

The one MAJOR downsides to these is they are completely, irrevocably, without question not Dillon safe with copious amounts of both dairy & soy :-(.  But don't worry he wasn't left out, I pulled some coconut milk ice cream out of the freezer for him & don't think he could've been happier! :-D 

S'Mores Cookie Cups (Makes 18 full cupcake size cups):
2 sticks (236g) unsalted butter, half melted half softened
1 C Sugar (I prefer "natural" cane sugar vs refined white sugar)
3/4 C Dark Brown Sugar, packed
2 Large Eggs
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour (again I use the unbleached kind)
1 Sleeve of Graham Crackers, smashed into crumbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
18oz jar of Nutella (or Hershey's)
Mini Marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350F, line a cupcake pan with liners - I ended up using 3 different kinds because it didn't have enough to do all the same & found the Reynolds Stay Brite ones to work the best & not stick. Smash a sleeve of graham crackers into crumbs, this is a great job for small children to do - put the crackers in gallon bag & let them "go to town" on it, or you could just send them through the food processor.

Beat butter & both sugars together until smooth, then add eggs one at a time until fully combined.  Then mix in the flour, salt & baking soda just until combined.  Now it gets slightly tricky because I didn't measure out the crumbs, if I think about it I will next time & update, pour in about 80% of the crumbs & stir until combined.  Take a small amount squeeze it into a ball & then flatten out - if it holds its shape & flattens out smoothly then you have enough, if not then add a bit more.  For my dough & house humidity levels I ended up using about 95%.

Scoop two spoonfuls (or use a disher) into each liner.  I found it easiest to put a little canola oil on your fingers to gently flatten the dough into the bottom & 2/3 up the sides.  Then top with a spoonful of chocolate spread & 4-7 mini marshmallows (make a flat layer).  Finally take another spoonful of dough, flatten it out & gently press it on top.  Bake for 13-15 minutes & enjoy :-)

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