Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tutorial: Baking a Cookie Cake

Ever walked through the mall and seen the Great American Cookie Company with their cookie cakes on display?  Or maybe you've seen them in your local grocery store bakery?  It wasn't so long ago that the ubiquitous cookie cake was a novelty, an rare little item.  These days, they're everywhere and most often covered in some decorator's buttercream scrawl with the words, "Happy Birthday!" on them.

Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE me some cookie cake.  I think the cookie cake is genius: it's a giant cookie!  And who doesn't love cookies?!  Definitely not this guy:


At least he did, until childhood obesity became an epidemic and now he's the Veggie Monster.  C is for Cookie, which is good enough for me!
What I don't love about cookie cakes is the price.  They are outrageously expensive but ridiculously easy to make.  I'm not joking.  Here's how to do it:
Step 1.  Make or buy cookie dough.
Step 2.  Press onto parchment paper on cookie sheet.

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Step 3.  Bake at 300-325F (depending on oven) for about 15 minutes or until set.
Step 4.  (My favorite step) EAT THE GIANT COOKIE!!!

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Yes, it really is that simple.  Now you're probably wondering what my secret cookie recipe is.  Oh, I'll tell you.  [Loud stage whisper] You can find it on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse package!  [Normal voice]  Yeah, that's right.  My chocolate chip cookie recipe comes from the back of the Nestle Tollhouse package.  Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!  (Although Alton's recipe for The Chewy is pretty dang good too)  I like to melt the butter when I make mine, then it definitely guarantees chewy cookies every time.  Yum!

But in case you're wondering, there ARE a few tricks to this:
  1. Make sure you reduce the oven temp down by about 25F to 50F...otherwise you'll have a very crispy and un-yummy cookie on your hands. 
  2. ALWAYS use parchment paper underneath.  You're mashing the cookie down and you need to be able to get it back up again. 
  3. Bake it longer than the instructions tell you to.  I bake it for about 12 minutes and then watch it like a hawk to make it sure it doesn't overbake.  Remember, it continues to bake on the sheet after you pull it out of the oven.
  4. Homemade buttercream icing spread on top is to. die. for.  No lie.  You will think you have died and gone to heaven, it is that yummy.
    And here's another great thing about chocolate chip cookie dough: it freezes wonderfully, so you can make it ahead of time and freeze some of it for later.  I love being able to have something to whip up for my friends and family on a whim, knowwhatimean? 

    I hope you'll give cookie cakes a try!  If anything, they are easy to make, quick to bake, and pretty fail safe, IMO.

    Happy Baking,
    Kelly

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