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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1 teaspoon cocoa mix
2 sticks softened butter
2 cups sugar
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.