Have I mentioned that I don’t like throwing away food? Have I mentioned that I don’t like hanging on to leftovers in the freezer forever? Enter, creative leftovers. You read that right. Leftovers. Of course, leftovers get a bad rap. Did you know you can make chili out of spaghetti sauce?? Leftovers do not need to be the same thing every time you eat them! I digress. Out of my leftover, hanging-out-in-the-freezer Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, I give you … teeny, tiny, Mini Cookie Stacks. Yep, you know you want one.
These bite-sized beauties are a spin-off of the regular, classic chocolate chip cookie. They’re really more of a fall flavor with walnuts, cinnamon, and maple, but it’s a light fall flavor. I’ve got another recipe for a jumbo cookie that you’ll definitely want to munch on with a cup of hot apple cider, but that one will come later. This, though, this is a mini delight.
However, and here’s the key. This is important. No, seriously, it is. I mean, you don’t have to do this, but if you really want the best results, you’re going to want to do this. Rest the dough. Notice I did not say ‘chill’. We all hear ‘chill the dough’ and I know at least I sometimes say, “Pfff … chill the dough. As if! I don’t have time for that.” But you know what, that just means you can prep your dough ahead of time, even the day before.
And yes, I did said “rest” the dough, but in the case of cookies, if you’re resting it, you usually need to chill it too, unless you’re only resting it for a couple hours and it’s somewhat cool in your kitchen. Resting the dough accomplishes a couple things. 1) It gives the flour a chance to absorb the moisture in the dough, allowing your cookies to bake more evenly. And 2) If your butter was too warm, it firms it up so that the cookies hold together and don’t spread. If your butter was not too warm, though, you shouldn’t have any problem with this. Still, resting the dough, and in this case, in the fridge, is a good idea.
So here’s the thing. You can make mini cookies out of just about any dough. Use the same temperature, but bake them for less time. Watch them carefully as they will probably not brown around the edges before they’re done. They’re too small for that. Always only pay attention to the center of the cookie to tell if they’re done. Once it’s not shiny anymore, but dull, it’s done. That’s called being set. Of course, if you like crispy cookies rather than soft, by all means bake them longer. Personally, I like soft cookies. Mini mini cookies, like the ones here, however, have a margin of 30-60 seconds from being not done to being crispy when they cool, because these are all 1 1/2 – 2″ wide, that’s it. Teeny, tiny versions of their larger counterparts.
And about the frosting. Cookies are generally too firm to make a sandwich with frosting because frosting tends to be very soft. You could, of course, find a recipe that makes cookies out of a boxed cake mix, which, in my experience, produces ultra soft, cake-like cookies. That would be tasty too, but it’s really more like cake. Kind of like if you took two cupcake tops and sandwiched them with frosting … Actually, that sounds rather good too! But if you want cookies, not cake, you will need to use a butter-based frosting and chill the cookie sandwiches until the frosting is firm. Then the cookie stacks hold up great when you bite into them.
Of course, with cookies this small, you could just as well eat them in one bite! But I bet you can’t eat just one.
For a not-too-sweet frosting to compliment your cookies, choose a recipe that has at least twice as much butter, by weight, as sugar. A Swiss meringue buttercream such as this one from Smitten Kitchen is an amazing option for a smooth and silky, not-too-sweet frosting for any butter cake, cupcake, or cookie sandwich! For these cookies, I took about 2 Cups of frosting and added 1/2 tsp cinnamon and just 2 tsp of maple syrup. I’d have loved a stronger maple flavor because it goes so great with the walnuts in the cookies, but I don’t have maple extract here. If you do have it and want a maple flavor in your frosting, replace the typical vanilla extract in your frosting recipe with maple extract, or whatever flavor you want.
Just think about the flavor options! Chocolate cookies with mint chip frosting, oatmeal cookies with cinnamon frosting, carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting, snickerdoodles with … anything. I mean, the options are endless! And they’re just so darn cute to serve at a party or stash in the freezer for a tiny treat.
What flavor combo can you dream up? Let me know in the comments and it may be featured on a future post!
Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield 75 1 1/2-2" Cookies
Here's a recipe for extra-vanilla chocolate chip cookies, that lends itself perfectly to making cookie stacks, two cookies sandwiched together with luscious, buttery frosting.
This is a pretty typical chocolate chip recipe that stems from the one my family always made. I just upped the vanilla, added walnuts, and baked them in a tiny size.
- 1/2 C unsalted butter, barely softened (1 stick, 8 Tb, or 4 oz)
- 1/2 C packed brown sugar
- 1/4 C granulated white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
- 1/4 C finely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 C mini chocolate chips
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, put in your barely softened butter and smash it around with the back of a mixing spoon until there aren't any lumps. This way just ensures your butter isn't too soft.
- Add brown and white sugars and beat them into the butter until smooth.
- Add the egg and beat just until incorporated.
- Add the vanilla and baking soda and mix until incorporated.
- Mix in the flour completely, then the walnuts and chocolate chips.
- For best results, cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C.
- On a light-colored baking sheet or parchment paper, form somewhat even mounds of 1/2 - 1 tsp of cookie dough.
- Bake 5-6 minutes, just until the center is set. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes and transfer to wherever else you want to put them until cool. Just don't put them anywhere airtight until completely cooled.
To make cookie stacks:
- Prepare any butter-based frosting to your tastes. For these chocolate chip cookies with walnuts, I recommend taking a vanilla frosting recipe and replacing vanilla extract with maple extract and, if you like cinnamon, a pinch or more of cinnamon. Add and taste. That's the key, and frostings hold up just fine to this treatment.
- Pair cookies with ones that are the same size, then pipe frosting onto one and lightly press the other cookie on top. Refrigerate or freeze until frosting is firm, and serve cold.
P.S. I literally just looked at a photo of stacked, homemade potato chips on Pinterest two days ago and thought how silly it was to photograph them like that. Nobody eats them in a stack so why would you take a picture like that. And here I go, stacking my cookie sandwiches. They’re just so darn cute, what can I say.
Love from Germany,