Assignment #1

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Volcanic Island Cookies

The inspiration for these cookies comes from a combination of caramel rolls and chocolate lava cake. I figured I could make lava cookies, but why not go all the way and turn them into little volcanos?

The first challenge was coming up with the flavor. In this case, chocolate was chosen for the mountain largely out of necessity, as a volcano should logically have a dark color. I started with simple cocoa powder, but I did not like the smooth texture it provided, so I decided to mix in crushed up oreos to give it a more rocky look.

I wish I had Barry's Oreo separator for this part...

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The sugar cookie base and the chocolate oreo dough
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Creating the volcano shape was the biggest challenge. I tried many different methods. The first, which was a catastrophic failure, was simply to shape the cookies into a rough mountain shape and attempt to bake them. I didn't really expect this to work, but thought maybe the added cookie crumbs might help it to hold its shape. It did not. I ended up with a misshapen, squashed cookie.
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The next idea was to make a hollow cylindrical cookie, with the hope that as it collapsed during baking, the bottom would spread out and form a base for the top. I made snake-like coils and layered them on top of each other as though I were making a vase. This actually worked surprisingly well. However, it had the disadvantage of being completely hollow, and as I planned to fill them with caramel, that was not ideal.

Cookie dough is NOT snakes AT ALL.
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My next attempt utilized a muffin tray. Initially I planned to fill the holes with cookie and carve a crater in the top. This worked quite well, but they really just looked more like muffins than mountains. They had unnaturally smooth sides. Also, a solid muffin of cookie does not like to cook well, the centers were still nearly raw by the time the outside was starting to burn. Not good.

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The muffin tray and coil cookies side-by-side

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The uncooked interior of the muffin-cookie

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My last idea was to invert the muffin tray and place the cookie over the outside. This allowed me to texture the cookie and make it look more organic, as well as keeping the cookie relatively thin so it could cook evenly.

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This design worked perfectly, and from there it was fairly straightforward. Using the same cookie base without the added chocolate, I created a few round sugar cookies to use as the island.

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I then "glued" the volcano to the island with frosting, and added some sprinkle grass and frosting shrubs. I was just about to pour the "lava" over the mountain when I realized that a caramel color would not make for convincing lava. I decided to experiment with adding various combinations of red and yellow food coloring until I got a reasonable shade of orange I could use for my lava.

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With that done, I slowly poured the colored caramel into the crater I had pressed into the top of the cookie and let it spill over the sides a bit.

volcano cookie

Recipe:

1 teaspoon cocoa mix
2 sticks softened butter
2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
9 oreo cookies with cream removed.


1. Mix butter and sugar together. Add eggs, vanilla, and milk. Mix well.

2. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to butter, sugar, and eggs.

3. Remove HALF of the dough and refrigerate.

4. Remove the creams and crush the Oreo cookies with a rolling pin until they are fine, rocky chunks. Mix crumbs and cocoa powder into dough the other half of the dough.

4. Refrigerate 1 hour.

5. Roll chocolate dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick.

6. Cut approximately circular pieces ~4 inches across and drape them gently over an inverted, buttered muffin tray, do not let the dough break! Use a knife to trim the excess, it is essential that the bottom of the cookie be flat. Carve grooves into the side with a fork, and resist the urge to drive to Devil's Tower. Press the top of the cookie gently into the muffin tray to create a crater.

7. Bake chocolate cookies on the muffin tray for 12 minutes. Gently twist them to remove.

8. Roll plain dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick.

9. Using a large cup or other round object approximately 5 inches across, cut round disks. Sprinkle with green sugar.

10. Bake plain cookies for 5 minutes.

11. Use green frosting to "glue" the volcano to the base cookie, then add decorations as desired.

12. Mix 20 drops red and 8 drops yellow food coloring in a 24oz bottle of caramel syrup. Shake very well.

13. Pour caramel slowly into the crater of the volcano. Allow it to spill over the sides, but not too much. It should be contained completely within the base cookie.

14. Enjoy!

3 Comments

Awesome landscape you've created here. I imagine eating these for a desert/dessert island movie marathon.
I'm curious about your ideation process, it seems like you came up with the idea to make a volcano in anyway possible, but I don't see you experimenting with any other ideas. I would like to have known if you did any mind mapping, associations, drawing, made lists, etc... before you got to the Volcano concept.
Your testing of each detail of the Volcano cookie is very impressive, you certainly refined your methodology here!

A very technically challenging cookie. You pulled it off well. I would have taste tested it had it not been for the problem of the massiveness of the cookie and stuffing myself with some 20 other samples beforehand.

Your ingredients were pretty straightforward. I imagine eating a cookie of a volcano where the island cookie tastes of some tropical land and the lava has a bit of a hotness to it. Kind of theme it out.

I also agree with what Alex had to say about starting with a broad outline of where your thoughts were initially and narrowing it to your final product. I feel most of your content was about the volcano, which I assume was your most challenging aspect on the project, but was that the only problem you came across?

Overall, ambitious project and you pulled it off well. Funny comment about the Oreo Separator.

You did a really great job with this assignment.

What I loved about yours especially is that you took the creativity task to the next level and PRESENTED your cookie differently. A lot of the other cookies still just looked like cookies, but yours was turned into a fabulous landscape island! I absolutely loved your idea, so creative!!

Your blog style is very clear and easy to read. You included everything in your process and your thoughts throughout baking. The only thing I could say that could potentially make it better is to include some kind of unique ingredient making it a little more savory to add to the sweetness.

Overall though, great thoughts and awesome cookie! Good job!

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This page contains a single entry by grang074 published on October 28, 2013 3:09 AM.

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