Well, I'm thoroughly off the wagon now. I've now baked two Martha cookie recipes in two days. I'm officially an addict, and for the most part, I'm okay with that.
I've actually been planning to bake these cookies since last week, when I came back from my Labor Day trip to discover that the group of coworkers I eat lunch with had proclaimed Tuesdays to be Cake Days from now on. Apparently, another department at the museum has elaborate potluck lunches together and has a cake day on a different day of the week, so they wanted to appropriate that tradition to make their own Tuesdays more tolerable. Someone else brought the inaugural Cake Day cake, but I quickly volunteered to be next, after I was granted an assurance that any form of baked goods would be acceptable. Cake Day is definitely the kind of tradition I can get behind!
I knew I wanted to make cookies for Cake Day, since they're easier to transport to the office than a homemade cake, but I still wanted to make something cake-like. I contemplated the carrot cake sandwich cookies I made back in May, but whereas I didn't happen to have cream cheese in the house, I did have the ingredients necessary for another Martha recipe I'd been meaning to try: Surprise Cookies. The treats get their name from a hidden marshmallow half, nestled on top of a soft, cake-like chocolate cookie, then camouflaged in chocolate frosting so that whoever is lucky enough to take a bite gets a marshmallowy surprise. The recipe promised that the flavor would call to mind hot chocolate in cookie form, and that was all I needed to read. I picked up the requisite marshmallows back in early June, when s'more season put them on sale, and before the Martha embargo.
My 9/11 emotional collapse brought my Martha moratorium to an early close and meant that I'd have to bake two days in a row, but the mammoth pile of dishes aside, I didn't really mind. Though yesterday's biscochitos were seemingly more popular at the office, these "surprise" cookies appealed to my palate much more. I can't help it if I'm a chocoholic, on top of being a Martha-holic. Even the batter was delicious -- it tasted like thick, room temperature hot chocolate, and I almost never eat raw cookie dough from the bowl. (People often marvel at my self-control in this regard, but I honestly find raw cookie dough fairly disgusting, and it's the reason why I'm able to produce so many finished cookies when many people end up eating most of the dough before it even hits the oven.)
The cookies were also perfect for Cake Day. The first of my coworkers to bite into one did a little happy dance when she discovered the secret marshmallow, and proclaimed them to be "like a classy Ho-Ho." If you're at all a fan of the Hostess line of products, I think you'd enjoy these cookies, and I think the surprise element of them would make them a fun project to bake for your kids, if you have any. Definitely give them a try.
adapted from Martha Stewart
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 large egg
1/2 c. whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 marshmallows, cut in half horizontally
1 recipe chocolate frosting, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 375.
1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about two minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat until well-combined. Add flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until combined.
3. Roll the dough into 1 3/4 inch balls or use a comparably-sized ice cream scoop, and place 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake cookies until firm, about 8-10 minutes.
4. Remove cookies from the oven and immediately press half a marshmallow, cut side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing slightly. Return to oven and continue baking until marshmallows begin to melt, 2-3 minutes more, keeping an eye on them. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
5. Spread about 1 tablespoon chocolate frosting on top of the marshmallows, spreading to cover thoroughly, so marshmallows are hidden.
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c. natural cocoa powder
1/4 c. milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, melt together the butter and cocoa powder over low heat, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture over powdered sugar and whisk in milk and vanilla extract until smooth.