Last week we celebrated a most auspicious day – the birth of 6x6! Twenty something years ago, she entered this world – who knew she would turn into such a fabulous race-running, water-bobbing, cake-eating expert?
For her birthday, I wanted to make something that really celebrated her awesomeness. Something fantastic. Something more than just a cake. Or just cookies. Something that captured the true essence of 6x6 (eau de 6x6, if you will).
There are two things this girl loves: chocolate and coffee. Preferably together, and preferably in large quantities. So I set out to create a masterpiece. Mocha Pillow Cookies…taDA! I think I succeeded. (She also loves buttercream, but I couldn’t figure out a way to include that in this recipe.)
I have, again, outdone myself. These cookies are awesome! My inspiration comes from Bakerella (genius!), but then of course I had to add my own mocha twist to make them really really special.
Just imagine, you sink your teeth into a big chocolate chip cookie, only to realize that a) it’s mocha flavored, and b) there’s a rich and chewy brownie in the middle! If that’s not the perfect birthday surprise then I don’t know what is.
They look super-challenging, but really the recipe is just a few simple steps.
You could do these with brownie mix, but I like to make things from scratch:
Fudgey Brownies (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder (the original recipe suggested Dutch Process, but I only had the regular kind and it worked quite well)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground coffee or espresso powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan
2. In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies. (That’s a very complex way of saying: melt the butter, add the sugar, then return to heat until it’s smooth.)
3. While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, coffee, and vanilla until smooth.
4. Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.
5. Add the flour, again stirring until smooth. Note: The original King Arthur Flour recipe includes chocolate chips. If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.
6. Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.
7. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.
Make sure the brownies are completely cool before you cut them into about 1-inch square pieces. You can cut your brownies bigger or smaller, depending on how big you want your pillow cookies to be.
NOTE: You will have extra brownies – one batch of pillow cookies uses less than ½ pan. I’m sure you can find some way to dispose of the rest.
Cookies (adapted from Bakerella)
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg, plus 3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon ground coffee
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Beat butter and sugar until creamy.
2. Add egg, yolks, vanilla, and coffee. Beat until smooth.
3, Add flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Stir into butter/sugar/egg mixture. Stir in mini chips.
4. Let dough chill covered in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Now we’re on to the pillowy part! (This is what pillows are made out of in heaven. I promise!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Use a spoon or your hands to scoop about 1/3 cup chunks of cookie dough. Make an indentation and place a 1 inch square brownie in the center.
Press the brownie down gently and work the remaining dough around the brownie.
Shape the cookie into a ball.
Prepare six cookies at a time using a large baking sheet (15 X 20) and bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes.
Return the remaining dough to the refrigerator until time to bake the second batch. (As the dough gets warmer it gets harder to work with, so keep in chilled as much as possible.)
Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.