One of my best friends, Mary E., has gatherings that Martha Stewart would want an invite to: all of the food looks and tastes perfect, a signature cocktail is served in a big, beautiful punch bowl, and items are served on coordinating platters and plates. Mare always has something for everyone, but the item that always catches my eye on the dining room table is the classic glass cake plate, covered with the dome lid protecting stacks of cookies like they were gold doubloons. It’s no secret that, before I can even sample the punch or make myself a dinner plate, I sneak one of her famous Whopper cookies to start things off.
“What makes a cookie perfect?” Posing this question to a group of people could result in a dangerous debate, much like religion or politics could at your company’s holiday party. Those from the “crunchy” school of thought just cannot imagine where the “chewy” group is coming from. The folks who love thick, cake-like medallions don’t see eye to eye with the wafer-thin lovers. I, for one, have always been a slave to the soft and chewy; there once was a time where, fortunately, I stopped myself just short of scarfing an entire package of Keebler Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies. Had they been homemade, I would not have been so disciplined. If they were Mare’s Whopper cookies, well, I’d be a goner.
Courtesy of Mary Elizabeth Harris
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups roughly chopped Whoppers
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Stir in milk and vanilla, then gradually fold in the flour mixture (do not overmix). Stir in the chopped Whoppers. Drop by tablespoons on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes, until lighty browned. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
This buttery batter produces a flat, soft, chewy cookie. Cooking them on the longer side of the instructed timing will result in a tougher edge, adding a little crunch, making all cookie lovers happy. The chopped Whoppers do not hold their shape in the oven’s heat, and melt into toffee like morsels inside each cookie. There’s no better way to use up the leftover Whoppers you have from Halloween trick-or-treating.
In the end, this cookie was just about perfect; chewy texture, with a slightly crisp edge, and a combination of both sensations from the melted malted milk ball. Even though I followed the directions exactly as they were given to me, there was still something missing. It wasn’t that I had over-beat the mixture, or miscalculated the cooking time. I even impatiently waited for the butter to become room temperature (seriously, I watched it). After eating one or two (okay, okay…more like three or four) cookies, it dawned on me: just like your grandmother’s chicken noodle soup, or my mom’s meatloaf, these cookies just taste better when Mare makes them. Simply put: my Whopper cookies were great, but Mare’s Whopper cookies are perfect. Nothing beats the original.