the best not-pies in kansas

“what’s your favorite kind of sweets/baked goods, ladies?” i asked two of my friends the other day.

“cookies are good,” replied friend jess.

“anything not pie,” said friend roberta (who i always want to call “robbie” and never do).

restrictions were no coconut, mint, fruit or mixed-in peanut butter. suggestions were chocolate chips.

hmm. hmm. i mulled over the cookies i knew and loved, or didn’t know and didn’t know if i loved, and thought some more. of course the first things that sprang to mind contained one or more items from my list of forbidden ingredients. so i browsed around foodgawker for a little while, thinking vaguely, “well, nutella is kind of like peanut butter …”

these had to be special cookies. they couldn’t be just normal cookies. good heavens, no. i decided to see what joy the baker had to say about cookies. of course she had all kinds of brilliant ideas, but her sugar cookie ice cream sandwiches jumped out as being especially extra brilliant and super special.

armed with that inspiration, and a peanut butter cookie recipe as my guideline, i was all set to make nutella ice cream sandwiches … or not-pies, as i decided was more appropriate (and fewer syllables). so there you go.

nutella cookies (adapted from the peanut butter cookie recipe in the complete america’s test kitchen tv show cookbook, 2001-2010)

makes about 100 cookies, depending on how much dough you eat

  • 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup black strap molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups nutella
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 5 ounces (half a bag) ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate baking chips

adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. put silpat baking mats on two large cookie sheets, or use parchment paper if you don’t have silpats (but really, you should get some).

whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, flax seeds, sesame seeds, wheat bran and nuts together in a large bowl.

in a standing mixer with the paddle attached, beat the sugar and butter at medium speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the nutella and molasses and beat until those are mixed (atk says about 30 seconds). add the eggs after that and mix for about 30 more seconds. turn the speed down to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until everything’s combined nicely. stir in the chocolate chips.

using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop dough out and drop onto cookie sheets. i did two rows of four, so i had eight cookies per pan. note: nutella — at least, the kind that i used, which admittedly was generic — is more runny than peanut butter, so don’t worry if your dough is softer and not as dense as peanut butter cookie dough usually is. if you’re really concerned, add up to 1/4 cup more flour.

put the cookies in the oven and bake for about 5-6 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake for another 5-6 minutes. you could probably go up to 14 minutes total and be okay, but keep an eye on them to make sure the edges don’t get too dark. cool the cookies on the pans for five minutes, then transfer them to wire racks and cool the rest of the way.

to make the not-pies, you’ll need your cookies, plus a box and a half or so (let’s just say a half gallon) of ice cream. i used vanilla, since i didn’t want to overwhelm the flavor of the cookies, but you can use whatever you want to. this part is easy. place one cookie face-down on a square of aluminum foil (roughly 4 inches by 4 inches should do it), top with a generous scoop of ice cream, then top with another cookie, top facing up toward you. wrap in the aluminum foil and freeze until ready to serve. if you plan to serve them immediately (meaning as soon as you’ve topped the ice cream with the second cookie, pretty much), skip the aluminum foil.

and there you have it, folks: the best not-pies in kansas. if i do say so myself.