make it yourself: indoor smores and chocolate chipper champs

My grandma was the cookie queen. While everything she made was delicious, her cookies were a specialty. She’d make up care packages for me in college and even when she included date cookies, I scarfed them up. (And I don’t even really like dates!)
So when my best friend asked for one of my grandma’s desserts for her birthday, I knew I had to choose cookies. I picked two kinds: indoor smores and chocolate chipper champs. Mark made homemade vanilla ice cream and we had cookies and milkshakes to celebrate!
First up, indoor smores. This is a great no-bake recipe that you can make in about 10 minutes. I think all of us have at one point scrambled to find something easy to make and bring to a picnic in the summer or a potluck at church. This recipe is great for those situations!
I bake with organic chocolate chips if I can’t get fair trade. (For an explanation of why, see this post on chocolate.) I also used Three Sisters graham cereal, since it’s made with no artificial ingredients (and my friend is allergic to yellow #5). Whole Foods has their own brand of marshmallows in the bakery section, which are also artificial ingredient free. Add some corn syrup, vanilla and butter, and we’re off.
Melt the butter, corn syrup and chocolate in a saucepan and bring to a boil, constantly stirring. 

Add the vanilla off heat and then dump the mixture over the cereal in a large bowl. Mix and add marshmallows. (I reserved some on the side for a final topping.)

Press into a greased 13 x 9 and add the rest of the reserved marshmallows. Let it sit. 

Later, get out your propane crème brulee torch and go to town, toasting the top marshmallows. (Mark was the torch master in this photo.)

Indoor smores – all the deliciousness of smores without the campfire!

Next up, chocolate chipper champs. (What a great name for a cookie!)

The ingredients for these are the basic brown sugar cookie recipe, but with extra chocolate! I used the same chocolate chips as in the indoor smores, but added Sunspire chocolate candies. Sunspire makes fair trade chocolate and they don’t use artificial ingredients in their candies. Since my friend loves M&M’s, but can’t eat them because of the artificial colors in the shells, these are the next best thing!

Most cookie recipes have you cream the sugar and butter together first before adding eggs and vanilla, but grandma’s recipe says to just dump it all in the bowl, so that’s what I did. 

Forgive the gratuitous batter shots. I just love batter.
Add in the dry ingredients until you have a thick cookie batter, and add hearty amounts of chocolate chips and chocolate candies. (So much that your paddle on your mixer starts to groan.)

Scoop into drops on a cookie sheet. We use Silpat mats on all of our cookie sheets – a fantastic investment that I highly recommend if you do a lot of baking. Easy clean-up and the cookies come off the mat seamlessly.

Grandma’s recipe notes that after dropping the dough on the sheet, you take two candies and push them into the top. No idea why, but if it was good for her, it’s good for me.

About 11 minutes later, you have chocolate filled ooey gooey candy cookies. Or chocolate chipper champs, as grandma called them.

(If you’re interested in the recipes for these, let me know. I’m happy to share – grandma always did!)