Wednesday, September 18, 2013

gigantic cookie cake

Am I the only person who remembers miniature M&M's?  When I was a kid, they came in a a tiny plastic tube (which I would save and store weird little treasures in later). I just stood in the grocery store for, like, twenty minutes staring at the candy aisle. I found regular sized M&Ms, peanut ones, peanut BUTTER ones, almond ones, pretzel ones, coconut ones, and dark chocolate ones. No dice on my mini M&Ms.

When I realized I was out of luck, I went over to the chocolate chip aisle and stood there for five minutes, to no avail. Why don't these grocery store people think that M&Ms would be great in a cookie? I bought chocolate chips and heath bar chips instead. And a ginormous bag of flour, which I instantly regretted, since I walked 3/4 a mile to the store. My left arm is very toned now.

These are the things that keep me up at night. The extinction of miniature M&Ms. RIP. 

Anyway, back to business. I was recently up in NJ for my brother-in-law's birthday.  He, like, most men, doesn't like sweets. What is it with guys being embarrassed to eat desserts? Chocolate is manly, people! 

So for every man birthday in my life, I'm forced to come up with some sneaky non-cake dessert that is inarguably delicious. A giant "cake" made of chocolate chip cookies.  

The cake is visually stunning, for sure.  It's surprisingly easy to make! 

  • i just used the Toll House cookie recipe, with a little trick: to get the cookies to spread and be really flat, I melted half the butter (1 stick in the toll house recipe).  I creamed the other stick as called for in the recipe, but the addition of the melted butter made the cookies spread really wide and gave them a much crispier texture than usual. 
  • I used an ice cream scoop and a flat offset spatula to make sure the cookies were all relatively the same size. It wasn't perfect, but it is a rustic cake anyway! No worries.  I had two sheet pans rotating in the oven and used parchment to move the cookies easily on and off the sheet pans. Each cookie took about 8 minutes to bake. 
  • For the frosting, I used a simple vanilla buttercream - though, in retrospect, whipped cream would have worked just as well. The cake was super sweet, and using whipped cream would allow you to control the sugar levels a bit more (whipped cream with a little bit of sugar tastes delicious, butter cream with reduced sugar is… butter).  You could also use a canned frosting if you're in a pinch.
  • When assembling the cake, the trick is to pick a "good side" and line up the edges of the cookies evenly on that side. The back will be totally janky and uneven, but you can place it facing a wall. 
  • For mega drama, put beaucoup de chocolate shavings on top.
  • Let the cake rest in a fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. The frosting will soften the cookies and make them really cake like -- similar to the effect of an icebox cake.
Look at this dramatic presentation! 

It was really hard to get the slices to stand up, so I eventually just plopped them on their sides. SO MANY LAYERS:


I love this cake - so fun for a change, and really easy to make in advance.  Remember, a small piece of this bad boy goes a LONG WAY.]

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