One of our fondest childhood memories is usually that first camping trip where you are not only introduced to the beauty of the great outdoors, but also to the wonders of the campfire. It is a place where friends come together, couples become closer, 6 foot big chested blondes get murdered by machete wielding psychopaths….
The power of the campfire can be extremely important and influential in a child’s life and leave long-lasting memories that remain throughout adulthood. For me, I can remember my grandfather giving me s’mores as we sat around the fire with all my family in his backyard. Now this is despite the fact that I had braces and wasn’t supposed to have marshmallows as they always got stuck in my brackets….every….single…time…
For each of us, the stories told around that glowing ball of flames stay with us and are passed down along generations. We create traditions and tall tales that are culturally based and can become the foundations for mythology as these stories usually reflect some portion of our daily lives.
This week, we chose to read Neil Gaimen’s Norse Mythology and explore the basis of Nordic beliefs from the tales of Odin, Thor, and Loki. He retells fifteen Norse myths, from the creation of the Aesir to Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods, making them accessible to the modern reader.
Gaimen presents this collection of stories, staying close to the original material and not “re-working” the stories to modernize them too much. He uses “Gaimen language” to bring them to life and makes them enjoyable for the reader as the stories are quick and easy to read. What may appear at first glance as an unappealing, Gaimen succeeds in writing a wide variety of stories that are comedic, satirical, and even educational and leaves you wanting to reread the collection as soon as you finish it. From Thor dressing up in a wedding gown to retrieve his hammer from some giants to Loki transforming into a female horse to distract a hooded figure from completing a wall, every story leaves the reader with a desire to learn more about Nordic folklore and love Neil Gaimen a little more.
Despite this review, The Group didn’t end up meeting this week due to schedule conflicts and a rather exhausting workday that put a few of us practically to sleep from pure exhaustion. I mean, you move an entire bay of shelves from one end of fiction to the other as fast as you can and see how much energy you have left for the rest of the day….trust me, not as much fun as it my sound.
However, despite my exhaustion, I did manage to try out what I am calling “Campfire Cookies”. Because we were telling tall tales this week, I thought what best to eat than a s’more concoction……. minus the fire pit of course
PREP TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
BAKE TIME: 10-15 MIN
- 1 (12 oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
- 12 marshmallows, halved
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Place butter and chocolate chips in a large, microwaveable bowl and microwave in 20-second increments, stirring in between, until mixture is fully melted. Remove from microwave and let cool for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl or mixer, beat brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract together for 1-2 minutes, or until fully combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
- Once melted chocolate has cooled, mix it into egg mixture, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go.
- Gradually mix dry ingredients into the wet until just incorporated. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, or until chilled.
- Preheat oven to 325º F and line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove cookie dough from refrigerator and use a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon to scoop 2 tablespoons of dough and place on lined baking sheets. Make sure not to overcrowd baking sheets.
- Using the back of a spoon, flatten your cookies slightly, then place baking sheets in oven and bake for 9-11 minutes, or until sides and tops of cookies have just set, but are still soft in the center.
- Remove cookies from oven and press 1 piece of dark chocolate into the center of each cookie. Top with 1 piece of marshmallow (1/2 marshmallow), pressing gently so they stick to the cookie.
- Return baking sheets to oven and bake for another 4-5 minutes, or until marshmallows are just slightly browned and cookies are cooked through.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
The cookies turned out really well actually despite the marshmallows going rogue. Theoretically, they are supposed to melt down and puddle in the center, but silly me, I chose to place full-sized marshmallows instead of halves…….
Tip of the day: CUT THE MALLOWS IN HALF!!!!!!
It will leave nice pools in the center and not bubble over so much. Also, the original recipe says to let them stay in the oven until the marshmallows start to brown. Take this tip literal as the marshmallows will become chewy and tough if left in their too long. You want minimal browning to occur, just enough that the marshmallow begins to melt a bit.
Beyond that, these are chocolate goodness that will add a smile to anyones face especially near a roasting fire….
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