Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mexican Night & S'mores Stuffed Cookies

So last month, I had another one of my classy dinner parties. This is usually how the food parties come about: I find a really exciting baking recipe on Tumblr or foodgawker that I want to try out (in this case, the S'mores stuffed chocolate chip cookies) and I know how much everyone loves my baking, so I invite people over. Then I realize that I can't just serve dessert so I scramble to find something that looks simple to actually cook.
Pastas are usually my go-to dinner because cooking meats intimidates me and everybody loves pasta!
Don't get me wrong, I love eating meat. Cooking it, however, gives me the heebie jeebies. What if I don't cook it all the way? What if I give all my friends salmonella? What if I overcook it and it's dry? Pasta is flawless and can usually be made without meat.
But here was the problem: I made pasta for the last cooking party because it was Italian themed and I needed to change it up a little. That's when I found a recipe for "Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti". Genius. We were having Mexican night and I was going to overcome my fear of cooking raw meat. (Recipes at the bottom)

Now, when I saw the recipe for this, I was skeptical. Sure the picture made it look good, but it said nothing for the taste. Plus, enchilada and pasta seems like a weird combo, not to mention my fear of cooking meats.

Boy was I mistaken. It was delish! And it was pretty quick and easy too. 

So we moved on to dessert (my comfort zone)

I could stare at this for hours
I whipped up some cookie dough while I had some of my friends make mini s'mores to go inside the cookies. We had to shrink the s'mores down so they could fit inside the cookies. For each mini s'more, we used half a graham cracker, half of a normal size marshmallow, and one or two pieces of a Hershey's chocolate bar. 

All stuffed up and ready to go
The stuffing process was a bit stressful. For starters, the s'more almost always breaks once we started putting the dough on and around it. Also, the cookies are roughly the size of baseballs (unexpected, but there are worse things in life than Godzilla-sized cookies).
We popped those suckers into the oven and waited for the magic to happen

Aren't they beautiful?
Do you see that toasted mark? Breathtaking, am I right?

The bad: the cookies were time-consuming, almost too filling, and the stuffing process was no walk in the park.
The good: um, did you see the pictures?!? THEY WERE AMAZING.
I had some the following morning and they were even better, probably because I wasn't so full from all the pasta.

Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti (from How Sweet It Is)

serves 2-4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/2 pound of dry whole wheat spaghetti
1 10-ounce can of red enchilada sauce
3/4 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
cilantro for topping
  1. Boil water for pasta and prepare pasta according to directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions, peppers, salt and pepper and let cook until vegetables are soft, about 5-6 minutes. 
  3. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, then stir in chicken, cumin, cayenne, paprika and chili powder, along with the can of enchilada sauce.
  4.  Turn the heat down to low, drain the cooked pasta, then add pasta to the skillet too. Fold in cheese and mix thoroughly to combine. 
  5. Toss with a set of kitchen tongs until everything is mixed, then serve with a bunch of fresh cilantro.

S'mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Picky Palate)
Makes 12 large stuffed cookies
2 sticks softened butter
1 Cup granulated sugar
3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3 1/2 Cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Cups semi sweet chocolate chips
24 graham cracker quarters or 12 full sheets separated at perforations
3 Hershey Bars, broken into pieces
12 large marshmallows cut in half lengthwise
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silpat liner.
  2. In a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, continue to beat until well combined.
  3. Place flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl; mix to combine then add slowly to wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips.
  4. Layer a graham cracker quarter with 1 or 2 Hershey chocolate squares and 1 marshmallow halves.  Close with another graham cracker.  Top s’more with a large scoop of cookie dough.  Place in hands and place another large scoop on bottom then front and back sides as needed.  Form dough around s’mores.  Will get messy, but stick with it, it does not have to be perfect.  S’mores will move around but it’s no big deal.  
  5. Place large cookies onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until edges are golden and centers are cooked through.  Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack or serving plate.

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