Sunday, April 17, 2011

chocolate surprise

Growing up on a farm just across the woods from my grandparents was amazing.  Especially when you have a grandmother that seemed to bake almost everyday. Her cookie jars were always filled and there were eager hands always reaching into them. Mine probably being the plumpest.  I always thought she made them just for the grandchildren, but now that I look back on it I think my Grandpa ate just as many as we did.  The two cookies I distinctively remember her having most of the time were called Shit Balls and Surprise Cookies. While both of those names could have you wondering what kind of household my grandmother ran, I promise you they were both edible.  I am lucky enough to have two grandmothers that love to bake and cook and garden. It's also pretty cool that they don't mind me calling to ask questions every once in a while. I'm pretty sure that's why my Grandma Alice finally had a cookbook made, which is filled with all sorts of recipes that her, my great grandmother, great-aunts and my grandfathers family had used. By giving us the book she wouldn't be getting calls every other day on how to make a meatball.  Don't worry, it wasn't just me calling. I have more cousins than you would even care to count.

As kids, most of my cousins were obsessed with the shit balls. To be honest I never really enjoyed them that much.  They are a no-bake oatmeal cookie and I'm convinced that the only reason they all loved them so much was because it was the only time, under any circumstance, we were allowed to swear. The word shit was always said a bit louder than the word balls.  My personal favorite of the two was the chocolate surprise cookie. It was a soft, cake-like cookie with a marshmallow melted on top and chocolate frosting over the marshmallow.  They are the sweetest cookie you could ask for.  Grandma always had tons of different cookies to choose from, but as I remember it these were the two we fought over. 

The reason I started baking was because grandma gave us that cookbook she had made.  I was now able to get a little piece of home to shove in my face when I felt the need for sweets.  To be honest, Grandma had some flops in there, but there are also some of my favorite cookies, bars and pies in that book. Oh, and rhubarb slush. Which I managed to make last summer with a very brave friend of mine. That slush was the most stressful kitchen experience I've ever managed to have. It makes me realize how patient of a person  my grandma is, her being able to make gallons of it and all.  

Some of my grandma's cookie recipes aren't the easiest to follow. I think over time she just memorized them and would bake that way. I, however, need to follow directions. So, when a recipe of her's says, "cool and frost with boiled chocolate frosting", where is the recipe for the chocolate frosting?!?! Uffda. I need to know specifics, grandma! For me, baking isn't like cooking, I can't just dump stuff in and see what happens.  Don't worry, I finally found a recipe that had specific instructions and I had that cookie tasting  just like I remember it. I used butter instead of shortening and all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, which is what she used.   If you decide that the shit ball cookie is more appealing to you just send me an email, I'll ask grandma if I can give you the recipe.

 Surprise Cookie:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally
1/4 cup butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk 


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.
Using a tablespoon or 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow, cut-side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begins to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
For frosting, mix together all ingredients. You may need to add more milk (slowly) until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. 
Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing outward until marshmallow is covered.

This cookie is so incredibly easy to make.  The only somewhat difficult thing is making the frosting.  If you mix it by hand it will get so lumpy and runny.  Use your hand mixer and it will work out perfect and be nice and smooth. Also, before you frost your cookie remember to let them cool completely or the marshmallow will move all over and it could be a mess. Happy baking!!


  1. ah, the slush. i think the key to making it is doing it on the hottest day of the year with none of the necessary supplies.

    these cookies look amazing! i think martha may have stolen this recipe from your grandma!

  2. ok-that's crazy-it's like a homemade ding dong. I want one. I bet they are good frozen too. I want one.