This post is being sponsored by Nordic Ware featuring their AMAZING Cookies & Cream Baking Pan. For almost the past year I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the amazing folks from Nordic Ware as one of their elite key bloggers that partners up regularly with them for new product launches, product demos, giveaways, contests and other sweet things throughout the year to review. This round when I received this pan to review I literally shrieked out in happiness! I first saw this pan a few months ago while on their website and immediately fell in love. Cookies cups filled with milk are the latest trend out there in bakeries.
I’ve seen a few other types of pans as well that are 2-pieces as some pan companies that say just take a muffin pan, turn it over and bake the cookie on the outside of the well. Yeah, I tried that and you know what, it doesn’t work. The cookies are dry and brittle and you don’t get that right shape. In my family Nordic Ware has been a trusted name for generations. And if Mom and Grandma trusted Nordic Ware, I’m definitively going to trust them!
As I said, I shrieked like a 13-year-old girl seeing my favorite boy band in person when I opened up the box. This pan is BEAUTIFUL! It’s a single piece which means I don’t have to worry about always having 2 parts to make these cups, no smushing pans together and it doesn’t take up a lot of room. The shape reminds me of a honeycomb which is kinda cool and artsy.
Growing up Nordic Ware was the only baking pans used in our household. Mom and Grandma swore by them. Every single thing they made in their bundt pans came out perfectly. As I got older and really got into baking my first purchase was the Original ProCast Bundt Pan. It holds 12 cups and truly amazing! It’s shape is iconic and just like Mom and Grandmas, every single bundt I make it in it comes out perfect. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!
Being a part of Nordic Ware’s elite team of bloggers I got to learn so much about the company itself. Did you know that it was founded in 1946? We’re talking close to 70 years in business! And what I LOVE LOVE LOVE about this company is that they are family owned and operated too. That’s says a lot about a company. Plus this pan, along with over 90% of their products are made right here in the good old USA – Minneapolis, Minnesota! They share the same value as I do – keep the jobs local. Support your hometown! Go Nordic Ware!
So now back to this pan. It’s made from Cast Bundt Bakeware- Platinum Collection. This is one of the reasons why I, as an engineer along with being a home chef love Nordic Ware is that heavy cast aluminum ensures uniform baking and browning to enhance unique designs. Now add to the fact that they have a nonstick surface and you are set! The nonstick surface makes release and clean up quick and easy. And trust me, cleaning this pan was a breeze! But I’ll get more into that later.
As you can see on the packaging they show you the latest trend for this pan – the cookie cup filled with milk. On the backside of the packaging they also give you a recipe. I LOVE LOVE LOVE when companies do this! This is something that I love to do for companies – develop recipes for their products. However for this pan I wanted to push it a bit; see what other things I could make it other than cookies and milk (which are AWESOME by the way).
I actually took some inspiration from good old Mother Nature for this recipe. You see in the evenings it’s been pretty cold which makes it perfect hot chocolate weather. I got to thinking… “Hot chocolate cookie cups filled with hot chocolate”. Since I already have a signature hot chocolate cookie recipe that was pretty simplistic but what was challenging was figuring out how to get the liquid hot chocolate in the cup part without it seeping through. See when you make the standard cookie cups for milk, once they are cooled you coat the inside of the well with chocolate and then chill it to set. Then you pour in your milk and the cold, hardened chocolate keeps it from seeping through. Well if I used hot chocolate in lieu of the milk well what happens when anything hot hits chocolate? Yeah, it melts – not good. So I had to scratch that idea of using actual liquid hot chocolate.
While I was still contemplating the filling I got started on the cookie dough and baking. Like most cookie doughs once you make it chill the dough for about an hour. Since the cookies have to bake inside a well, and per Nordic Ware’s instructions you need to grease and flour the inside of the cookie wells and along the top. You can just use one of those canned sprays that are cooking spray and flour mixed. If you do it the regular way with crisco and flour you can but if you’re making chocolate cookies use cocoa to coat the wells instead of flour. This way you don’t get that white cast on the cookies when they come out.
Next fill the wells about 2/3rds full. You don’t want to fill them to the brim as just like any cookie that has leavening agent in it, they will rise up and over. What I found the best way to fill the cups was to take pinches of dough and stuff it down in the wells. For softer doughs if you put the dough in a piping bag you could easily pipe it in.
After reading their instructions to make the standard chocolate chip cookie cup, I saw that the time was increased a bit from a typical sheet pan cookie so when I made my cups I also increased the baking time by a few minutes. Once the cookie cups were done I followed their instructions and let the cups cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then I placed a cooling rack on top of the cookies, flipped the pan with the rack against it over and gently tapped the pan/rack onto the counter. The cookies slid out effortlessly and more importantly in tact! No cracks, crumbles of pieces left behind in the pan.
Out came the most adorable, perfect shaped cookie cup-like shot glasses! What’s funny is that I didn’t realize until after the cookie cups were on the cooling rack was that I was presented with 7 cookies cups! What’s so awesome about this? Well 7 is a lucky number and if you think about it, most dinner parties are even-numbered, averaging about 6 folks. That being the case there is one extra – aw what a shame *wink* SCORE for the chef! Thank you Nordic Ware for thinking of the chef when designing this pan. Okay fine that may not have been the reason behind 7 but that’s what I’m going with as that gives me full on justification as to why I can eat one before serving my guests.
As the hot chocolate cookie cups were cooling I went to clean the pan. Now this is something that I was concerned about. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to get my cleaning pad down inside. Granted the cookies came out clean but there was residual oil/flour spray left inside the pan. What I first did was squirt some dish soap in each well and then turn on the sprayer to get the wells all sudsy. I then took a sponge and cut it into a long 1/2″ strip. I then pushed the sponge into the well and was able to easily wipe out the wells. A quick spray of clean hot water and the pan was squeaky clean.
With a clean pan and cooled hot chocolate cookie cups I then sat down to figure out what I wanted to fill them with. What I did know is that since they were hot chocolate flavored I definitely wanted to rim the top in chocolate and Kissy Face Candy Cane Dust. I knew I wanted some type of hot chocolate filling. Sure I could have gone with cold “hot” chocolate or even frozen hot chocolate but if wanted to use these as say more of a holiday dessert or better yet, one that I could make ahead and then set out for a holiday party I had to go with a some type of thicker filling.
That’s when it hit me… MOUSSE! I whipped up a batch of Triple Chocolate Hot Chocolate Mousse (which seriously is to-die-for). I put that into a piping bag and filled the cups up and slightly over the brim. Then to make it more hot chocolate-like I topped the cookie cups with Marshmallow Bits and Chocolate Curls. If you wanted to take it a step further you could have melted a bit more chocolate and piped out chocolate handles onto waxed paper. Once cooled, “glue” the chocolate handles onto the cups and VOILA! Actual cups to hold!
This pan definitely met my expectations. One thing I love about Nordic Ware is Repeatable Quality. Every pan, every single time – the same superior outcome with their products! So yes, every home needs this pan! Put this on your holiday wish list for sure!
Oh and the recipe for all of this… I’m going to tease you just a bit before I post it. Okay fine, you need to wait for the follow up post. This is something that is worth waiting for. Tonight, I just want you to have sweet dreams filled with images of these amazing little treats!