Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Disneyland White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

First off, I know it has literally been years since I have posted anything. HOWEVER, and this is a big however, I NEEDED to post this recipe. Mostly because of all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into creating it (note: do not take me literally here. There is no blood in these cookies. And any tears that may have fallen in are only tears of joy as I realized how close these cookies are to the real deal, and as far as sweat....well, I'll let you decide). If you don't care about how I ended at this recipe, just scroll to the bottom for the actual recipe, but don't forget to read the tips, as they're important to making the cookies successfully.


My husband is a little obsessed with Disneyland. If you know him, you know how much random trivia he knows about the place. And because of this, some of this knowledge has trickled down to me. What's so great about July 17, 1955? Anyone? Anyone? You're going to have to google it.

Anyway, for the past few years, Disneyland is where our family has spent our family vacations together. Yes it is hot during Summer, and yes it is crowded, and yes it is overpriced. But it IS a magical place and with the ages of our children, and my husband's undying love and allegiance, it works well for all of us. It is also a magical place to get treats (which is just as exciting for me as going on the rides....oh, and of course seeing my kids happy. That too. Don't forget that).

One of the treats I had heard about (and then, of course, read about on the Internet) was the large white chocolate raspberry cookies that you can find at the park. Apparently, people love these things. So last year, I bought my first one. To be honest, I think the one I bought was stale. My husband (lover of all things Disneyland and white chocolate too) loved it. I saved part of my cookie (weird, I know) to come home and try to re-create the recipe. Because if you know me, you know I have my own obsession with cookies, and I like trying to figure out recipes. It's almost like I can't rest until I figure it out.


So during the hottest weeks of the year in 2017, immediately after our family trip, I took to turning my oven on for hours at a time and re-creating the recipe (which included analyzing the color, texture, and consistency of the small bite I had brought home with me--I made a mental note to bring home an entire cookie at some other point). And then today, the day after our most recent trip, I decided it was time to make them again and post them. Especially since I brought home an entire cookie this time.
Actual Disneyland Cookie I bought yesterday

inside of actual Disneyland cookie

Of course, there are already lots of copycat recipes of this cookie on the Internet and Pinterest, but in looking the recipes over and examining the pictures, none of them seemed to actually look like the cookies found in the park. I'm sure they are still good and delicious cookies; I was just looking to recreate as close to a replica as I could to the cookie. In my searching, I came across the knowledge that the cookies in Disneyland are actually made by a company called Selma's. So I perused their website, looked over the ingredients that they had listed in their cookies, and went to work.
Side-by-side comparison of my cookie vs. the one from D-land. Mine is on the right. It is slightly smaller (but you could adjust the recipe to make 8 instead of 9 cookies and it would be same size--or use a larger scoop)
I noticed that their cookies had powdered sugar in them instead of granulated sugar, which was interesting to me. I don't know if it makes a difference, but I used C&H brand powdered sugar in the recipe. Also, as a commercial bakery, Selma's recipe uses hydrogenated palm oil, which I wasn't going to be able to use. I experimented with coconut oil (melted), butter, melted butter, and canola oil. And the one that worked the best for the texture was the canola oil. So a cookie with powdered sugar and canola oil. Who knew? This was different than any other cookie I'd made before.
These are the notes on the different variations I tried (there is also writing on the backs of the papers)
So, I won't go too much more into detail about my experimenting, other than to say I got pretty good at splitting an egg in half (yolk included) so that I didn't have to make (and waste ingredients if I didn't have to) full batches of cookies that I wasn't sure were going to turn out. They all tasted good, but once again, I was going for replicating the original.
I used Smucker's seedless red raspberry jam. 
There are a few tricks that will help you be successful in making these cookies. They're a little persnickety and high-maintenance for a cookie. One of the reasons I like cookies so much is because they're usually unpretentious....but for the sake of this copycat recipe, we'll continue. 

The first trick to mention is that I bake these by doubling up cookie sheets so that the bottoms of the cookies don't get too dark. That's an important step to ensure that the bottoms don't get too brown before the rest of the cookie is baked through.

Also, secondly, be careful in measuring the oil. The measurement is 3/8 of a cup (or 6 Tbsp). I use a liquid measuring cup that has a mark between the 1/4 cup and the 1/2 cup mark. That is how much oil to use.
3/8 of a cup is halfway between the 1/4 cup mark and 1/2 cup mark

Thirdly, the original cookie is mounded high and not flat. To help get this final shape, you bake the cookies for a short amount of time at a high temperature, and then you lower the temperature (so they don't burn) to finish off the bake. The initial high heat helps set their higher ball-shape, and then the lower temperature helps them finish baking slowly (which will also keep them soft).

Fourth, the white confectioner discs/chips can spread out quite a bit while baking which can make your cookies misshapen after they're done baking. To help prevent this, I actually cut most of the white chocolate discs in half (or just off-center; they don't have to be cut perfectly down the center). I set aside a few whole discs to put on the tops of the cookies (for aesthetic reasons). 
I set aside 9 whole discs to use for the tops of my 9 cookies, and cut the rest roughly in half

The fifth tip is that the dough is actually going to be a little bit crumbly as you make it. That is completely ok. It will come together. It looks a little crumbly because of the powdered sugar. And having it a little crumbly will create the shape and texture you want when you use a cookie scoop. I don't have any dry bits of flour here, though. It's all mixed together, but just a tad crumbly. If I push the crumbs together with my fingers, they should stick together. If your crumbs don't look exactly like this and your dough is a little smoother, don't panic. Forge ahead anyway and it will probably still work out (the cookies will just look a little more smooth rather than ragged).
before adding chips

after adding the chips

Sixth: You need a large cookie scoop for this (if you want to make them as big as the Disneyland ones). I have one that is a size 16. I actually think you could use a size larger, because this recipe makes them slightly smaller than the Disneyland version. Or, you could use a size 16 scoop to dish out 8 cookies (this recipe makes 9) and divide the leftover dough between the 8 cookies and you'd have cookies the same size as D-land. I'd say the measurement of this scoop is between 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup in size. If you don't care about size, just use a regular cookie scoop and probably use the smaller white chocolate chips (such as Ghiradelli or Nestle that come in a bag) as well. 


Seventh tip: to get the correct color in the jam, I actually add a drop or two or red food coloring gel to the raspberry jam. Obviously, this is an optional step and is not necessary for the taste of the cookie. But....I was going for copying the original. And the ingredients listed red food coloring. And when I didn't use it, the color wasn't quite the same. So there ya go. Put it in, or leave it out according to your preference. 
I have added 2 drops of gel food coloring to my 2 Tbsp of jam and then stirred until it is smooth and incorporated

Tip numero 8: you're going to need to mix the raspberry jam in by hand to get a swirled/mottled effect. I achieve this by placing the jam in 5 or 6 places on top of the crumbly dough and then cutting it in with the back of a firm spatula. I kind of cut it into the dough (like with making pastry), and do a gentle mix. You just don't want to mix too much or you'll end up with pink cookies instead of swirls/chunks of jam throughout the cookie. I have also found it is easier to mix in the jam by hand with a batch of this size (just the 9 cookies). Meaning: if you wanted to make more cookies, make separate batches rather than doubling ingredients in one bowl. 
I have spooned 6 blobs of the colored jam in the dough, and then have begun to cut it in with my spatula

I'm done mixing it in and am satisfied with the swirl/mottling of the jam. The dough is still a little crumbly, although slightly less so
Lastly (I think), when I scoop these cookies, I place one of my set-aside white confectioners discs at the bottom (or top depending on how you look at it) of the scoop (either in the center or just off-center) before I scoop the dough in so that there is an entire disc on the top of the cookie. For the first cookie, I may adhere it to the scoop with a small amount of dough. Usually after scooping the first cookie there is a small amount of dough left inside so I attach the next disc to that for the following cookies. 

I have attached one confectioner's disc with a very small amount of dough before I scoop in the rest of the dough

I then put six cookies on the first doubled-up cookie sheet (I also use a silicone baking sheet), and three on the second doubled-up sheet. 
Look at those large cookie dough balls! The crumbs come together in the scoop and adhere to each other


So there you have it! Now you're ready to get going!


Disneyland White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies 

makes 9 large cookies; 

preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 4-5 minutes, reduce temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 8-10 additional minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups + 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

6 Tbsp (3/8 cup) of canola oil
1 cup powdered sugar (level it off with a knife)
2 Tbsp. lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 tsp. raspberry extract (optional but recommended)

Scant 1/2 cup of white confectioners wafers/discs (cut in half) + 9 separate whole wafers
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2-3 Tbsp. seedless red raspberry jam
1-2 drops red food coloring 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; make sure the rack is in the center of the oven. Place the powdered sugar and light brown sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Add the canola oil and mix with a hand-mixer, starting with low-speed and working up to high as it mixes together. Mix for about 30 seconds, or until combined and smooth.

2. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and raspberry extract (if using) to the mixture and mix for about a minute on high speed until well mixed. 

3. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together until well combined. Add the flour mixture into the oil/egg/sugar mixture. Mix on low speed with the hand-mixer until just combined. The mixture will be crumbly. Add the scant half cup of white wafers (that you have cut in half) and the chocolate chips. Mix for a few seconds until the chips are incorporated. The mixture will still be crumbly.

4. In a small dish, combine the raspberry jam and 1-2 drops of red food coloring and stir until smooth and the dye is incorporated. Then spoon the dyed jam in 5-6 different spots over the dough. Use a firm spatula and cut in (almost like cutting in pastry dough) the jam into the dough by hand. Mix the jam is carefully and gently until the dough is swirled and mottled. If you mix too much, your dough will turn all pink. You want some pink parts and some mottled parts with jam. 

5. Place one reserved whole white confectioner wafer (adhere with a small amount of dough) in the bottom of a number 16 cookie scoop (place it slightly off center). Then scoop dough into the scoop and place on a silicone-lined double cookie sheet (2 cookie sheets stacked on top of each other). Place 5-6 cookie dough balls on one sheet, followed by 3-4 cookie dough balls on your second doubled-up cookie sheet.

6. Place the first sheet of cookies in the 400 degree oven for 4 minutes. Then reduce the temperature in the oven to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes until the edges of cookie begin to get slightly golden and set.

7. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to completely cool. If your cookies are slightly misshapen (i.e. not round), immediately after removing from the oven, you can use a spatula to gently push any sides in to make the shape more round. 

8. Return oven to 400 degrees and repeat baking instructions for the second sheet of cookies. 

EAT!
Fresh out of oven!



I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty pleased with myself after this one. It only took me a year to post it. Actually...it took me a year to make them again because I ate so many versions last year that I needed to take a break. But now I have a bad feeling I'll be making a lot more of these in the coming days, if only to imagine that I am on vacation! Or to spare myself $4 a cookie in the future. Yikes!