Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with a Twist


I have a favorite chocolate sandwich cookie that I make every so often. It started out as a basic cookie, until I tinkered with the recipe. I increased the cocoa and decreased the flour. Later, after more taste testing, I replaced some of the cocoa with some black, extra dark cocoa I had ordered from King Arthur Flour. Perfection. Darkly chocolate, slightly crunchy cookies surrounding creamy vanilla filling that tastes slightly of butter. After a day or two in an airtight container the cookies get slightly softer, which I really like.


If you don’t want to buy special cocoa for these, they are perfectly good with only natural cocoa powder. I have seen a few different kinds of darker cocoa in the grocery store, next to the regular cocoa. I have only used natural cocoa and a little of the black cocoa, as noted in the recipe, but feel free to experiment. If you use only natural cocoa your cookies might be a lighter brown than the pictures, but they will still taste fabulous.

The last time I made the cookies, we were brainstorming different fillings we could try. We came up with cinnamon, cherry and bacon. Cherry and bacon were a little more complicated than we wanted to mess with that day, so we decided to try cinnamon. I will tinker with the bacon and cherry possibilities some day soon.


I wanted some cookies with plain vanilla filling, so I divided the filling in half and added cinnamon. I started with ¼ teaspoon, but it was barely discernable. So I doubled it. The cinnamon flavor was stronger, but I thought it might get lost against the dark chocolate of the cookies. So I added another ¼ teaspoon. Perfection – richly cinnamon without straying across the line into too spicy.

I started out dolloping a tiny portion of filling onto the middle of a cookie and then gently squishing the filling flat with a second cookie. While this made a pretty cookie, with smooth edges on the filling, there wasn’t enough filling. I went back to my old method of smearing the filling on and adding the top cookie. Not as neat, but definitely a better ratio of cookie to filling.

I could have pulled out a piping bag to pipe the larger amount of filling into the middle of the cookies, but that was way more complicated than I wanted to get. Full disclosure: I have used my piping bag just a handful of times over the 10 years I have had it. Maybe someday I will get inspired to use it more often, but I’m not holding my breath. If you want picture perfect cookies, you can certainly use a piping bag. But I’m in favor of saving the time and cleanup and eating my slightly less-than-perfect cookies that much sooner.

Download or print just the recipe.

 Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Adapted by The Cook’s Life
From 365 Great Cookies and Brownies
Makes 45 small sandwich cookies

If you want to bump up the chocolate flavor a bit, you can substitute 2 tablespoons of dark or black cocoa for 2 tablespoons of the natural cocoa. This is totally optional, but really good.

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup natural cocoa powder (see headnote)
¼ teaspoon salt

Vanilla Filling:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk, approximately

Cinnamon Filling:
1½ teaspoons cinnamon for the full recipe
¾ teaspoon cinnamon for half the recipe

Do not preheat the oven. The dough needs to chill before baking.

Beat the ½ cup butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again until well combined and light. Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt and mix on low speed until dough is smooth.

Divide dough in half and shape each half into a long log, about 1¼ inches in diameter. Make the logs as smooth and uniform as possible so your cookies will be uniform. Wrap the dough logs in parchment paper or plastic wrap and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

While dough chills, make the filling. Beat the 2 tablespoons butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined. Add milk, a teaspoon at a time, until the filling is light and fluffy.

If you are making the cinnamon filling, add the cinnamon now. Use 1½ teaspoons cinnamon if you want to make all the filling cinnamon. If you want half vanilla and half cinnamon, divide the filling in half and use ¾ teaspoon cinnamon in one half. Beat the cinnamon filling until uniform in color with no lighter streaks. Cover the filling(s) and leave at room temperature until ready to use.

When the dough is chilled preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease.

Work with one log at time, leaving the other one in the freezer until ready to slice. Use a sharp knife to cut the log into ¼-inch, or slightly thinner, rounds. Try to keep them uniform so they all bake at the same rate. Place the rounds fairly close together on the prepared baking sheets. They do not spread or rise very much at all.

Bake cookies, one pan at a time, for 5-6 minutes, or until they are firm to the touch, but not hard. The cookies will not change color, but they will puff very, very slightly.

Remove baked cookies to racks for cooling. When cookies are room temperature, spread 1-2 teaspoons of filling on the flat side of one cookie. Top with another cookie and gently press the cookies together. Leave filled cookies on the wire racks until the filling dries and sets up a bit, at least an hour. Store cookies in an airtight container for several days, or freeze for longer storage. The cookies will soften slightly after the first day.

Note: If you want to make the dough ahead of time, make four shorter logs and slip them into a ziploc bag. If it is tightly wrapped, you can freeze the dough for a month or so before using. Slice directly from the freezer and bake as directed.

Get the Scoop on Chilling Your Dough


The weeks leading up to Christmas are cookie-baking time around our house. We give cookies for presents, take them as our contribution to potluck holiday parties and package them up for hostess gifts. We have done this since the first year we were married, and I don’t see us ending the tradition any time soon.

We make about twelve different kinds of cookies every year. Most of them are drop cookies, or the kind you roll into balls before baking. Some of them require a little more effort, but none of them are complicated or time consuming. As I write this, I realize many of our favorites are the roll-into-balls recipes – gingersnaps, Russian teacakes, chocolate chip doodles and snickerdoodles. The recipes instruct, “chill the dough before forming into balls for baking.” This often ends up with me using my forearm muscles of steel to scoop rock hard, chilled cookie dough.

The other day, when I was fiddling around, fixing my Russian teacake mistake, I had a revelation. If I scooped the dough balls first and then chilled the dough I would be getting the best of the process. I could scoop soft, creamy dough with ease and then chill the balls. Then, when I was ready to bake, the heavy lifting (so to speak) would be done and I could just place the balls on the pans and bake.

It works beautifully. Mistakes lead to innovation. And no, I’m not comparing myself to an inventor of say, rubber or the Slinky. It did kind of rock my cookie-baking world, though.

Try the method with any dough that calls for an hour or two of chilling. Portion out the dough right after you mix it and then chill the balls in an airtight container for up to a week. You can freeze them if you want to make them further ahead.

Oh, and in the free time that you will have if you use my revelatory method, you can kill some time on the internet. Try typing, “mistakes that led to inventions,” into any search engine and you will get some interesting reading.

Buttery Cream Wafers


I first had these cookies several years ago. I was teaching a bread baking class to friends from church and their friends. While we were waiting for the bread to rise we snacked on some of the cookies one of the women had brought to share.

The cookies were rich and buttery, but not very sweet. Most of the sweetness came from the filling sandwiched between the shortbread-like cookies. I immediately asked for the recipe. And then I didn’t make them until now. That is how baking goes sometimes.

I did change the original directions just a bit. They were cut-out cookies, which I really don’t like making. I just don’t have the patience for the process. And the re-rolled scraps are never as good as the rest of the cookies. I prefer to make logs and slice off the cookies – faster and easier.

Just one note: if you follow my directions, the edges of the cookies aren’t quite as neat as  cut-out cookies would be. I’ll take a few ragged edges for the ease of slicing the logs. We sliced and baked the cookies in about twenty minutes. If you really want perfect edges, you can certainly roll out the dough.


The original recipe has a simple butter and sugar combination for the filling. I added cinnamon to half the filling mixture. I liked the subtle spiciness next to the delicate buttery flavor of the cookies. I included the cinnamon variation in the recipe.

I also like the cookies unfilled. They are a nice contrast to sweeter cookies on a cookie platter. Sometimes butter and cream can do the job all by themselves.

Print the recipe here.

 Buttery Cream Wafers
From the Cook’s Life
Makes about 25 sandwich cookies

You can fill these your favorite icing if you prefer.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
⅓ cup heavy cream
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar, approximately

¼ cup (½ stick) butter, room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Cinnamon Filling Variation:
Add ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon to the filling. Beat until it is uniformly mixed, with no streaks of cinnamon.

Don’t preheat the oven. The dough needs to chill before baking.

Beat the butter until creamy. Mix in cream and flour.

Divide the dough in half and place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap. The dough should be relatively easy to handle, though greasy. Shape each half into a log about 1 inch in diameter. You don’t have to be exact. Try to keep the logs uniform so your cookies will all be about the same size.

Wrap the dough logs in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours until dough is firm. You can refrigerate the dough for several days, or freeze for up to a month. If you are storing for the longer period of time, slip the plastic covered logs in a plastic bag or airtight container to keep them from drying out.

When ready to bake preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place granulated sugar on a large plate or piece of waxed paper or parchment. Slice the logs into ⅜ to ½-inch thick rounds. Press each flat side into the sugar and place on ungreased baking sheets. Prick the top of each with a fork a few times.

Bake 7-9 minutes, or until firm, but not browned. Cookies are fragile. Let them cool a few minutes on the pans before transferring them to wire racks.

While cookies are cooling, beat filling ingredients together until light and creamy. Spread filling in a thin layer on half of the cookies and top with the remaining cookies.

Store in an airtight container for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

Three Dessert Inspirations

I must say that I rarely need inspiration when I am deciding on a dessert to make. But just in case you have dessert baker’s block, I am highlighting three of my favorite desserts that say Fall and Halloween to me. And no, none of them have anything to do with pumpkin. Today is all about chocolate, and maybe a little vanilla. What’ll it be – brownies, cookies or flourless chocolate cake?


Spicy S’mores Brownies

DSC_1160Iced Sugar Cookies

2012-09-28 15.48.16Flourless Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Wafers


I know I sometimes take the homemade thing to excess. There are times when I wonder what I am doing  – taking the time to make something that I could pick up at the store. Other times I stand by my homemade goodies, because they taste so much better than the commercial version. This is one of those times.

Rich found a recipe for a chocolate tart that he wanted to try last weekend. It called for chocolate cookie crumbs for the crust, and suggested chocolate wafers ground in the food processor. I debated if I wanted to go to the store to buy some, then I decided to make my own. The store wafers, or the ready-ground chocolate crumbs, are fine, but they do have a certain taste to them that I wanted to avoid. I didn’t want to take the time to make a decadent dessert, with butter, cream and good quality chocolate and have the crust taste like commercial cookies. Does that make me a cookie crust snob?


I decided to make the cookie crumbs from a chocolate sandwich cookie recipe I have developed. Since I was going to make crumbs, I pressed the whole recipe of dough into a sheet pan and baked it in one big piece. I had it mixed before the oven preheated and it baked in just over five minutes.

I cut the big wafer into pieces and ground about half of the recipe to make crumbs for the tart crust. We ate the rest. The cookies are darkly chocolate, slightly buttery and beautifully soft. They really resemble a commercial chocolate cookie not at all. And I am fine with that.


I made the recipe again so I could take pictures, and so we would have more cookies to eat. I debated rolling out the dough and cutting out rounds before I baked them. But it was hot in the kitchen and I wanted to make them quickly, and with as little work as possible.


I decide to try cutting them from the baked cookie, right after it came out of the oven. It worked beautifully. And it was so much quicker than rolling out raw dough and cutting and re-rolling the scraps. Yes, the edges are a little apt to make crumbs, but I can live with that to have fresh chocolate wafers, made with real butter in less time than it takes me to go to the store.

We are going to make ice cream sandwiches with some of the most recent batch of wafers. We will sandwich a few more with whipped cream. I will try to save enough to make another batch of crumbs to make the chocolate tart again (it was really good). I do have a feeling if I want enough cookies to make crumbs, I am going to have to bake another batch – this batch is mysteriously disappearing rather quickly.

Download or print the recipe here.

Chocolate Wafers
From The Cook’s Life
Makes one 12 by 17 inch sheet,
24 2-inch rounds or 30 rectangles

Use this dough to make chocolate cookie crumbs for cheesecake or tarts. Or cut round or square wafers for other desserts. These make great ice cream sandwich wafers.

½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12 by 17 inch half sheet pan or two 9 by 13 pans. Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat again. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. Dough will be stiff and slightly dry.

Press dough into a thin layer on the prepared baking sheet(s). It is easier to get it even if you dollop it out in about 10 globs before you start pressing. Try to get the dough in a layer about ⅛-inch thick. Don’t obsess over it, especially if you are making crumbs with it later.

Bake the dough for 5-7 minutes, or until set and slightly shiny on top.

If you are making rounds or rectangles, cut the shapes with a cookie cutter or sharp knife as soon as you take the pan out of the oven. By the time you get done cutting, the wafers will have firmed up enough to move them to a wire rack to cool.

If you are making crumbs, cut the wafer sheet into rough rectangles and use a spatula to move them to a wire rack to cool. Once the wafers are cool, process them in a food processor until crumbs form.

Store wafers or crumbs in an airtight container until ready to use. The cookies are very soft, but good keepers. After a few days, they will start to dry out slightly. Freeze to keep them at their freshest if you aren’t using them within 3-4 days.

Triple Chocolate Cookie Bars


I have been on kind of a cookie bar kick lately. I tend to make them more in the summer, when I want to get any necessary baking done as quickly as possible, to keep the house cooler. And yes, there is such a thing as necessary baking – baking for parties, baking for friends and baking because it has been too long since we have eaten something laden with butter and sugar. Okay, that last one doesn’t happen ever often around here, but it probably does for some people.

Just about any cookie recipe can be pressed in a pan and baked as bars. Recipes that use a cup of butter, about two cups of sugar and about three cups of flour will usually fit in a half sheet pan (or two 9 by 13 pans) and make beautiful bars. Cookie recipes vary, of course, but those ratios are pretty close to what most cookie recipes make. If you are experimenting with a larger or smaller cookie recipe, just take into account the depth of the dough and adjust the baking times accordingly.

Calvin and I made triple chocolate cookie dough the other day. Well, actually, Calvin made the dough and I washed the dishes. He was all for baking them as cookies, but we were crunched on time and I didn’t really want to have the oven on for that long on a hot summer’s day. I pressed them in a half sheet pan and had them baked off in ten minutes. Then we went on our merry way, running errands while they cooled.

I cut them later, while Calvin was at a friend’s house. I had to try one, because, well, it was a triple chocolate cookie bar. Does there need to be any other reason? I was blown away by how good they were – velvety, deep dark, chocolate punctuated by gooey pools of melting chocolate chips. I ate three before I came back to the real world. The original cookies were fabulous, but I think the cookie bars might be better. They might just be the best cookie bars we have ever made. And I don’t think I am exaggerating much.

Download or print the recipe here.

Triple Chocolate Cookie Bars
From the Cook’s Life
Makes 5-6 dozen cookie bars

The whole wheat gives a fuller flavor to the cookie bars and will be that “mystery ingredient” in your cookies. You can use all-purpose flour instead, if you prefer.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set out a 12 by 17 inch half sheet pan or two 9 by 13 inch pans. If you only have one 9 by 13 pan, you can bake half the dough at a time.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and melted chocolate and beat until well combined. Add flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda and mix on low speed until well combined. Add chocolate chips and mix on low or by hand.

Spread and press dough evenly into pan(s). Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough with flour if it sticks to your hands.

Bake 9-10 minutes, or until just set in the middle, but still soft. Cool in pan on a metal rack until just warm before cutting into small squares. Store in an airtight container for several days, or freezer for longer storage.

Snickerdoodle Bars


Me: How can we stage a different kind of picture of snickerdoodle bars?

Rich: [long silence] We have to make them first.

Why the snapshot of an inane conversation in our kitchen at 11:30 on a Saturday night? Mostly because I found Rich’s truly serious answer to be hilariously funny. Don’t judge me – it was way past my bedtime. And because there isn’t a whole lot I need to say about snickerdoodle bars. They are delicious. They go together in no time. And did I mention that the cinnamon sugar perfectly sets off the buttery goodness that is a snickerdoodle? Snickerdoodles in a bar, ready in less than half an hour. Enough said.

P.S. We didn’t make the cookie bars that night. But I did make them in the morning, after breakfast and before we left for church. They really are quick.


Download or print the recipe here.

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars
From The Cook’s Life
Makes 60-80 bars, depending on size

Cinnamon sugar:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 12 by 17 inch pan or two 9 by 13 inch pans. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Sprinkle about half, or a little less, evenly on the greased pan(s). Set aside remaining cinnamon sugar.

Beat butter and sugar together until completely combined and no longer gritty. Add eggs and beat again until light and fluffy.

Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

Press the dough in an even layer in the prepared pan(s).  You may have to flour your hands so the dough doesn’t stick. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the remaining cinnamon sugar. You may not use it all – the rest is tasty on buttered toast.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges feel firm and are just starting to turn golden brown. The middle may not be completely set, but it shouldn’t be completely raw.

Cool in pan on a rack for a few minutes before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container – these dry out faster than regular cookies. Freeze if you aren’t going to eat them within a couple of days.

Last Days, First Days and Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_4380Yesterday was Calvin’s last day of school, so today is the first day of summer for us. To most people, summer starts Memorial Day weekend, so we get a one-day jump on it. Summer means no alarms (at least for Calvin), lots of reading and lots of playing in the kitchen, of course.

We usually give homemade gifts to Calvin’s teachers at the end of the school year. Last year we gave each teacher a stack of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Calvin decided he wanted to do the same thing this year. And he wanted to make the cookies himself. Of course we waited until the last couple days of school to do this and time was working against us. Calvin had time to make the dough Tuesday evening and I baked them the next day, while he was at school.

Note to self: make sure the kid can read your notes in the family cookbook if he is working by himself. The cookies were a little flat because Calvin couldn’t decipher my scribbles that indicated the dough needed extra flour. But they tasted as fabulous as they always do, so to school they went. Calvin reported compliments all around, so they were a success.

All the cookies went to school, and I forgot to take pictures of their crisp, buttery flatness. You will have to imagine the above cookies a little flatter and darker brown. If you make them as written, they will look like the pictures. If you only use two cups of flour, they will be flat and crispy. I understand there are actually people who prefer them that way. I have even met a few of them, and they seem perfectly normal. Can you tell I am in the tall, soft cookie camp?

No matter how you like them, chocolate chip cookies are always a hit no matter where you take them. If you are short on time, press the dough in a sheet pan and make cookie bars. Pick up a few bags of chocolate chips the next time you are at the grocery store. Summer is here and you never know when you will need a quick dessert for a spur of the moment backyard barbecue, or teacher gifts, if school isn’t out already for you.

Download or print the recipe here.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Nestle Tollhouse Cookies by The Cook’s Life
4-6 dozen, depending on size

You can use all-purpose flour in place of the white whole wheat, but it adds a nuttiness to the cookies. Everyone who tries them will wonder what your secret ingredient is.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup white whole wheat flour*
1½ cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups chocolate chips, semisweet or 60% dark

*White whole wheat flour can be found in the baking aisle, next to the other flours. Store any unused flour in a zip-top bag in the freezer to keep it fresh for up to a year.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter, sugars and vanilla at medium high speed of a mixer until well-combined and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until fluffy again. Add white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt and beat at low speed until mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.

Scoop dough onto ungreased cookie sheets by teaspoon, tablespoon or 2 tablespoons. Flatten larger cookies slightly before baking. Bake 7-8 minutes for smaller cookies, 9-11 minutes for medium and 11-13 minutes for larger cookies. Remove cookies from oven when they are lightly browned, but still slightly soft in the middle. Let cool on sheets for a few minutes and then remove to racks to cool.

Brown Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches


Saturday is dessert-baking day at our house. We try not to eat too many desserts during the week, so the weekend is our time to indulge. We started our weekend with a freezer full of ice cream – mint chocolate chip, brown sugar cinnamon and a dab of chocolate amaretto. We also had homemade caramel and hot fudge sauces in the fridge. I wanted more than just ice cream sundaes for dessert, but I wanted something that would go with all the ice creams and toppings.

Somehow our Saturday lunch conversation wandered to what to bake for dessert. I decided mentioned that we should make something that would go with our bounty of ice creams and toppings. We thought about cookies, cupcakes and then somehow came up with ice cream sandwiches. We wanted something soft and chewy, and maybe vanilla flavored.


I used our adaptation of the Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe as a starting point. I made half a recipe, switched out the white sugar in favor of all brown sugar and substituted some white whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour to make them chewier. We figured out pretty quickly that the chocolate chips would interfere with getting the cookies thin enough, so they had to go.


I knew that the full recipe spread into a half sheet pan made cookies about as thick as a brownie. We needed them to be half as thick (twice as thin?), so I spread the adapted half recipe into a half sheet pan. I figured the job would be harder if I started with the whole batch of dough in the middle of the pan, so I dolloped it out with a spoon all over the pan before I started spreading.


Right away I realized the dough was going to stick like crazy to my spatula. First I tried spraying the spatula with cooking spray, but the dough still stuck after a few swipes. I had to wipe it and re-grease it way too often, losing a little dough each time.  I then tried dipping it in water, which was the ticket. I didn’t bother to wipe it off when a little batter stuck, but just dipped quickly and kept spreading.


It worked beautifully and I was able to get the whole thing spread out to less than an eighth inch layer over the whole pan. I then went around the edge and made sure there was slightly more batter at the edges than in the middle so the edges wouldn’t burn.


I set the timer for five minutes and pulled up a stool to watch the show (which Rich thought was pretty funny). I didn’t want to risk burning the cookie and I knew it would bake quickly since it was so thin. After just a minute it started to look melted all over. After another two minutes it was starting to set on top. Then big bubbles welled up in places, heaving slightly as the bottom cooked. Just as the timer rang, the whole top looked set except for one corner. I turned the oven off and set the timer for one minute. Perfection – set, but soft, just starting to turn golden on the edges. I cut them while they were still hot; to make sure I got clean edges, then let them cool in the pan on a rack.

We made deconstructed ice cream sandwiches the first night since we were too impatient to let the ice cream soften and then refreeze the sandwiches. And we could also use more sauce that way. Rich and I had brown sugar cinnamon ice cream with caramel sauce. Calvin had chocolate chip mint with hot fudge sauce. That didn’t sound like the best pairing with the brown sugar wafers, but he enjoyed it. The sandwiches were perfect. The cookies were soft and pliable, and stayed that way even when topped with cold ice cream. The brown sugar came through loud and clear, with undertones of vanilla and a slight nuttiness from the whole wheat.


We made a few sandwiches to freeze for another day. We had more cookies than we had ice cream to top them. Now we need to make more ice cream. But then we will have more ice cream than cookies. Guess we’ll have to make more cookies. Then we’ll have more cookies than ice cream. We’ll have to make more ice cream. Oh, what lovely problems to have!

Download or print the recipe here.

Brown Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches
From The Cook’s Life
Makes about 24 large, thin cookies
12 ice cream sandwiches

½ cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
½ cup white whole wheat flour*
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

*You can substitute all-purpose flour if you don’t have white whole wheat flour.

For serving:
Softened ice cream
Ice cream sauces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12 by 17 inch baking sheet, or two 9 by 13 inch pans. Set aside.

Beat the butter, brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add flours, baking soda and salt and mix well.

Dollop cookie dough on baking sheet in small mounds. No need to be neat, you will be spreading the dough out, but the many dollops make it easier than starting with one large mound in the middle of the pan.

Use an offset spatula or table knife to spread the dough into a thin layer, all the way to the edge of the pan. Make sure the edges are a tiny bit thicker than the middle so they don’t burn. Keep a glass of water next to your workspace (but far enough away that you don’t knock it over if you turn the pan – ask me how I know). When the dough sticks to the spatula, and it will, dip it into the water. Keep the spatula wet and the job will go much faster. Be patient and you will get it all spread out to a thin layer, about an eighth of an inch thick.

Bake the cookie layer for 5 minutes. Stay in the kitchen. Check the cookie after the 5 minutes – if there are any wet-looking places, turn off the oven and set the timer for another minute. When it is done, the cookie will just be starting to brown on the edges and will feel set, but soft, if you press on it.

If you watch it bake, the cookie will start to look melted after a minute or two of baking. Then it will start to set around the edges and bubbles will appear under the middle. It may even heave and buckle. Then it will start to set all over and look dry on top.

Let the cookie cool about 2 minutes and then carefully cut it into 24 rectangles with a sharp knife. Let rectangles cool in the pan on a wire rack until room temperature.

To serve, top a cookie with a small amount of softened ice cream. Add a thin layer of ice cream sauce and then top with another cookie, mashing the ice cream so it fills the sandwich to the edge. Eat immediately, or wrap individually in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container. Freeze until ready to eat. Cookies will stay chewy, even after freezing.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


The other day I was looking for a recipe to make a slightly healthier snack for Calvin (and me, to be truthful). I remembered that my mom had made a recipe from Cooking Light Magazine for cookie bars baked in a pie plate and sliced into wedges. I found the recipe and then promptly made a bunch of changes.

I used sliced almonds instead of the chopped pecans called for, since I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to chop my pecan halves. I also used a whole egg instead of an egg white. I used white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour to up the nutrition and fiber a bit. I also doubled the original amount of chocolate chips, because, why not?

To top it off, when I made a second batch, I reduced the sugar because I thought the first ones were too sweet. You can use either amount of sugar listed, with no other changes to the recipe. I also reduced the canola oil to one tablespoon in the second batch. It made the bars a little more cake-like and less cookie-like. The difference was slight, so I’ll let you decide how you want them. The wedge in the picture is more cookie-like and the square bars in the background are more cake-like.

You can bake these in a pie plate and cut them into wedges, as in the original recipe, or use a square pan and cut squares. The wedges are a little fragile and tend to lose their points. The square bars are better for packing into lunches, or eating with your fingers while you stand over the pan. Just in case you know anyone who would do that.

The original recipe was called Granola Cookie Wedges, which I thought was slightly misleading. They have no granola in them. I think they are supposed to resemble commercial chocolate chip granola bars, but I’m not sure. There was no explanation in the original recipe. I ditched “granola” in the name in favor of “oatmeal.”

These truly go together in just minutes, and they only require a bowl and a spoon to make – no mixer. I mixed them up before the oven had time to preheat, if that gives you any indication.

While not exactly health food, these are healthier than a chocolate chip granola bar from a box. And they taste a lot better too. Take a few minutes to whip up a batch and see what you think.

Download or print the recipe.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Adapted by The Cook’s Life from Cooking Light
Makes 12 wedges or bars

Use the smaller amount of brown sugar to make these slightly less sweet, if you prefer. Use the smaller amount of canola oil for more cake-like bars, the larger amount for more cookie-like bars.

¼-⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
½ cup oats (I used old-fashioned)
¼ cup sliced almonds (or chopped nuts of your choice)
¼ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate or 8-inch square pan. Set aside.

Mix brown sugar, oil, melted butter, vanilla and egg together. Add salt, baking soda, flour, oats, almonds and chocolate chips and mix well.

Spread batter in prepared pan, making sure top is level.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the center is set. Cool in pan on rack for at least 5 minutes before slicing into 12 wedges or bars.