Baked Sunday Mornings: Candy Bar Cookies

I usually don't make recipes that include candy bars on the ingredient list. I do have a soft spot in my heart for Health Bar bits (which I love in Lisa Yockelson's Buttercrunch Melt-a-ways and a recipe for Giant Chocolate-Toffee Cookies), but somehow the idea of using chopped candy bars in a recipe seems like cheating. However, the entire point of the week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe is to feature candy in baked goods -- the Candy Bar Cookie has candy inside a cookie, covered in chocolate. Whoa.

The dough for the cookies is easy to make. You beat softened butter with an egg yolk, and add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. The dough was very dry, and you are supposed to form it into a disk, chill it, and then roll it out and cut it into circles. When I read through the recipe I immediately decided that seemed like too much trouble. Rolling and cutting dough is quite a hassle when you don't actually need something that is a perfect circle shape -- you just need to portion out the dough and be able to wrap it around pieces of candy.

So I left the dough in the mixing bowl, chilled it briefly (about 15 minutes), and then used scoops to portion out balls of dough. I pressed the balls of dough between my palms and wrapped the flattened discs around the candy. The process worked out great. I used fun-size Mounds (cut in half), Reese's Dark Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures, and Rolos. Because the Rolos were significantly smaller, I used a #60 scoop to portion the dough to wrap them, and I used a #50 scoop for the other types of candy.

The photo in the cookbook shows cookies with tall rounded tops. My Mounds cookies were fairly rounded, but the Reese's cookies were flatter, and the Rolo cookies were flattest of all. I dipped the Mounds cookies in white chocolate, followed by bittersweet chocolate, and then topped them with white sprinkles (to mimic the coconut inside). I decided the double-coating process was too much effort and I dipped the remaining cookies in bittersweet chocolate only, topping the Reese's cookies with chopped peanuts and the Rolo cookies with yellow sugar.
While dipping the Mounds cookies in both white and bittersweet chocolate was a bit time consuming, the payoff was that the cross-section was more attractive. As you you see in the photo above, the layer of white chocolate is clearly visible, and it gave the cookie a cleaner, more distinctive look (although I think much of the effect is lost if you just bite into one instead of cleanly bisecting the cookie with a knife).
I have mixed feelings about these cookies. The cookie dough has very little flavor. It is light brown colored because of the small amount of cocoa powder in the batter, but it has no chocolate flavor. The dough doesn't even contain vanilla, so there's no vanilla flavor, either. To me, the cookie dough added almost nothing to the candy inside, and thus, the cookie did not seem transformative and was not necessarily an improvement over just eating a piece of candy.

My husband and I both had the same favorite from the assortment -- the cookies made with the Rolos. I don't particularly like Rolos, and I never eat them plain. But in the cookie, the caramel center was transformed into a very chewy and satisfying treat. To me, a baked Rolo tastes better than a plain Rolo; one of the other few times I have used candy in baked goods is to encase Rolos in chocolate batter for these caramel-filled cookies.

I liked these cookies better on day two, and even more on day three after baking. The cookies seemed more like an integrated whole as more time passed by -- in other words, less like a piece of candy + a cookie, and more like a single dessert with multiple layers of flavor. My tasters enjoyed these, but I'm ambivalent. I'm not sure that these cookies confer enough of a benefit over just eating a piece of candy to justify the required effort.

Recipe: "Candy Bar Cookies" from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

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Chelly said…
I like that you scooped out your dough instead of rolling it out! Good idea! I agree with you on the flavor of the was quite blah. I used another caramel candy with not much success...I should have used Rolo's because I did prefer the caramel but most of mine oozed out of the cookie! Nice job!
Look the look of the coconut ones. I agree it was more work double dipping but it sure does make for a lovely cross section.
Unknown said…
I used the same method for shaping the cookies as I also thought the steps of rolling out the dough and cutting into circles was a waste of time. After seeing everyone's posts I realize I used way too much dough for mine. I agree though, I don't think I would make them again.
Anonymous said…
You and I have the exact same thoughts regarding using candy bars in cookies (seems like you're cheating) and - why encase a candy bar in a cookie when it's so much simpler to just eat the candy bar? Haha! Still - your cookies are really lovely and you did a fantastic job!
Anonymous said…
I didn't roll and cut the dough either. Sounds like most of us were on the same page! Also didn't bother with the white chocolate, but it definitely makes for an awesome photo!
Anonymous said…
I love your Mounds cross-section! I totally agree about the double-dipped cookies-- much prettier. I'll have to try the Rolos, as it seems that several people liked those a lot. I too wish these were rounder, rather than lumpy mounds. Looks like I went to way too much trouble rolling out the dough!