Saturday, April 13, 2013
Rocky Road Cookies
One of the nice things about going to school at Columbia is that I'm not too far from home. I know, I know, lots of people might find that weird, but I like knowing that I'm still close by. I'm far away enough from home that I can feel like I have my own separate life that runs independently from my family, but it's nice that home is still only about an hour's commute from Morningside Heights. It means that I can swing by for weekends away from the business of school, make it to family events like birthdays and holidays, and of course, do all my baking and photographing. Plus there's certain advantages- my dad will every now and then agree to drive me back up to school, meaning that my mom will send me off with about a full week's worth of groceries from Trader Joe's and whatever other things I might need. Yep, there are definitely perks to living close to home!
Since I actually do go home relatively frequently (about once a month for a few days), I like to bring my parents back something every time. It's nothing big, but it's something we all love. My parents and I are big fans of the roasted peanuts from the Nuts4Nuts carts that are scattered about the city, and we've been this way for as long as I can remember. Every single year we'd come to see the Christmas window displays we'd get peanuts and every time my mom and I drive around Queens with the windows open in the summer, we end up smelling them from wherever we are, and we always buy a bag. Every time I walk by a cart I have to resist the urge to buy some, but sometimes, I can't resist and I just have to get a bag. They're just so good! Fortunately for me, this lack of willpower doesn't affect me too much, as I have a terrible habit of never having cash on me, so it's not like buying cart peanuts is usually an option anyway (yes, yes, I know, this is a really bad habit). BUT ANYWAY.
I always bring my parents back honey roasted peanuts when I go home for the weekend, and they never last long at all- we usually eat them within minutes of me walking through my front door. Given our mild obsession with these sweet little nuts (or legumes, if you want to be really technical and correct), they just had to be worked into a recipe sooner or later. Wayyyy back in August last year, I made this KILLER rocky road ice cream (if you haven't made this yet, stop what you're doing, and put your ice cream freezer bowl in your freezer right now) which used honey roasted peanuts, so making some rocky road cookies seemed like the perfect solution, since I am also mildly obsessed with chocolate, in case you hadn't noticed yet.
These rocky road cookies are super simple to put together. Incredibly simple, actually. They have a rich, fudgy texture and flavor that comes from melting butter and chocolate together, and they have large chocolate chunks, mini marshmallows, and lots of coarsely chopped honey roasted peanuts. What's not to love?! They're also, surprisingly, not too sweet, which I wasn't expecting given the fact that they're loaded with sweet things. I mean, ok, they're obviously sweet, but the saltiness of the peanuts totally helped to balance it out, making these an anti-sweets-Dad-approved cookie (aka, a major success in my house!). The original recipe suggested using walnuts in the cookies, but for me, rocky road has to have some sweet and salty peanuts. It's just a perfect combination.
I made these cookies with regular old honey roasted peanuts that you can buy in the supermarket, but I'm sure they would have been pretty fantastic with honey roasted peanuts from the Nuts4Nuts cart. Maybe next time I make these, I'll force myself to buy a few bags, not eat them right away, and use them in the cookies. They'd be a wonderful, crunchy addition! But until that happens, or if you don't live in NYC, store-bought honey roasted peanuts will work just fine. The can of peanuts I bought for these cookies was devoured in its entirety in a single day at my house, which goes to show you that we mean business when it comes to honey roasted peanuts (although, to be honest, it was mostly my mom and I who ate them, and when my dad went to get some for himself, there weren't any left for him...oops...)! Enjoy!
Rocky Road Cookies
recipe slightly adapted from A Cozy Kitchen
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips
4 oz semisweet chocolate chunks
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup mini marshmallows
3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Begin by lining two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water (double-boiler style), melt the chocolate chips with the butter, stirring until smooth and glossy.
Transfer the melted chocolate mixer to the bowl of a standard electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla, and mix on medium speed until combined. Reduce the speed to low, and slowly add in the flour mixture.
Stir in the chocolate chunks, mini marshmallows, and honey roasted peanuts. Place the cookie dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up. While the cookies are chilling in the fridge, position an oven rack in the middle of your oven, and preheat it to 325 degrees F.
After 30 minutes, drop the cookies by heaping, rounded tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets (I used a cookie scoop to ensure uniformity). Bake the cookies until the are flat and the tops begin to crack, about 15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheets, and then transfer them to a wire rack to allow them to cool completely. Enjoy!
Makes about 3 dozen cookies