I have a teensy confession to make.
I really like Rachael Ray.
Say what you will about her sometimes-very-grating voice, her catchy acronyms (EVOO, anyone?), and her apparent inability to find anything in the drawers of her own on-set kitchen, but the girl's got skills. Some of my favorite kitchen tips came to me by way of watching her cook, and some of my favorite recipes are also hers. (See here.)
Last year, I happened upon the recipe for these gorgeous Hot Cocoa Cookies from Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine and they made my must-make-immediately list instantly. The absolutley mouth-watering photos over at Pip & Ebby didn't hurt either, and I was pleased that, with only a little effort, I was able to recreate these pretty sweets myself!
If you're gathering thoughts for holiday baking and gift-giving, I strongly recommend you put these on your short list. Right now. They're yummiest just after coming out of the oven, but if you give them a few seconds in the microwave they will be restored to their former, gooey, melty glory. (Don't forget to include a note to that effect if you give them as gifts.)
Hot Cocoa Cookies
from Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine, via Pip & Ebby
In a medium saucepan, melt together:
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter12 oz. chopped semisweet chocolate (bars)
Stir frequently over medium heat until smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Using an electric mixer, beat together:
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Beat on low speed until smooth, 2 minutes. Mix in the cooled chocolate mixture just until blended. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, mixing on low speed until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough and roll between your palms to form 1-inch balls. Arrange about 16 balls 2 inches apart on each cookie sheet, flattening slightly. Bake until the tops of the cookies crack, about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut 7.5 ounces of semisweet chocolate (bars) into 1-inch squares. Snip 8 marshmallows in half crosswise and stick 1 square of chocolate onto each of the cut sides.Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and gently press a marshmallow half, chocolate side down, into each cookie. Bake until the marshmallows are just softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 5 minutes.
Grate 5 ounces of semisweet chocolate over the hot cookies. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to the racks and let cool. Repeat the process with the remaining dough, marshmallows and chocolate. And try to control yourself so you don't eat every last one. It will be very, very difficult.