I Made Joy the Baker’s Favorite Holiday Cookies (and Here’s How It Went)
When we asked Joy Wilson aka Joy the Baker to complete the impossible task of naming her favorite holiday cookie, she gave us an untraditional pick.
“I really love these milk chocolate cookies and cream cookies,” she explains. “They’re buttery chocolate chip cookies with coarsely chopped Oreo cookies folded inside. The Oreos soften enough to make these cookies extra chewy inside but they have crisp edges. I also love that the cream cheese and milk powder keep these cookies soft longer. And you could totally sub the milk chocolate chips with a festive minty chocolate chip this time of year. They’re the perfect host or hostess gift during the holidays.”
What follows is the story of what happened when I tried to make them.
First, the shopping list: If you have a stocked baking pantry, you shouldn’t need too many additional ingredients to make these. I already had flour, light brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, butter, eggs, and vanilla. All I needed to add was a package of Oreos (my store only had Double Stuf in stock, bless), instant milk powder (huh?), and cream cheese.
I’ve never had an easier time finding what I thought would be a tricky-to-find ingredient: I literally bumped into a display of instant milk powder the moment I walked into my grocery store (it was right by the coffee, who knew?).
Now on to the baking part: These cookies and cream cookies are basically cookies within cookies, which, I have to admit, I struggled wrapping my head around at first. When getting my mis en place together, I was tasked with roughly chopping 18 Double Stuff Oreos into smithereens and the lazy Devil’s advocate that lives inside of me couldn’t help but ask: Why are you smashing 18 perfectly good, ALREADY-MADE, cookies, that you can eat right this very minute with a tall glass of milk, just so that you can make make brand-new cookies, the process of which will take you an hour?
Lucky for all of you, I cast that negativity aside and made some of the best cookies I’ve ever made in my life — but not without a few missteps of course.
The first fail of Operation Make Joy’s Cookies is that I do not own a stand mixer. Don’t worry, though, I am in possession of a Cuisinart 9-Speed Hand Mixer, so, against all odds, I worked my magic with that. After softening a half block of cream cheese and a stick of butter, I mixed them together until fluffy. Then I added in light brown sugar, an egg, and vanilla. For the most part, the hand mixer worked — except for the part when my brown sugar was a little too clumpy. I attacked it with the mixer on a slightly too-high speed and almost sent the bowl filled with my batter-in-progress flying across the room. But crisis averted, just in time to add the rest of the dry ingredients.
Once the batter base was complete, I folded in the milk chocolate chips and Oreo smithereens with a spatula, covered the dough with plastic wrap, and let it rest in the fridge overnight. (I also rested during this time.)
IS THIS NOT THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COOKIE DOUGH YOU’VE EVER SEEN? I had to restrain myself from going in on it with a spoon (because you know, salmonella), but in my wildest dreams it tastes really good.
These babies then went into the oven at 350°F for 12-ish minutes (mine were really big scoops so it was closer to 15 minutes) and came out looking like this.
Do mine look exactly like Joys? Nope, not at all. They’re not flat, or crispy-looking, and are definitely paler overall. (I attribute this to the fact that Joy used brown sugar as pictured in this vignette of her ingredients, but called for light brown sugar in the ingredients list, which is what I followed).
The cookies were fluffy and soft — and not just when they came out of the oven, which, for me, is no small feat. They truly taste like everything that’s perfect about milk and cookies. The Oreo chunks are both soft and crumbly at the same time, and the milk powder and cream cheese add a certain je ne sai quois. These are like cookies and cream ice cream, meets Oreos dunked in milk, meets chocolate chip cookies. And I can now confirm that I am never going to make another cookie for a cookie swap ever again.
Something tells me that you should leave these out for Santa this year.