Rocky Road Cookies with Almonds and White Chocolate Chips

I recently tried my hand at a bit of woodworking. You should know, before I begin, that I knew absolutely nothing about the subject. And truth be told, after all the fuss and mess, I still don't.

I wanted to create a new tabletop to play around with for my food photography. I was feeling uninspired with my current two choices: wooden dining room table and slab-of-wood-I-stained-that-looks-a-lot-like-dining-room-table. A change was in order. While place mats can be fun to experiment and play around with, I no longer wanted to be restricted to photographing something on a 15 x 11-inch surface (tougher than it looks!). Thus, my mission to create my own tabletops began.

I think this officially takes me from "enjoys food photography in her spare time" to "slightly obsessed." You'll still love me even if I am a little crazy, right?

After dropping $20 on five planks of wood, I was at a loss of what to do next. The wood sat in the garage for two months while I tried to figure out what to do with it. It got wet. It warped. It'll add character, I told myself when I tried to dowel all five pieces together and they refused to match up. It'll add character, I told myself when creating deep grooves and divots while mishandling a belt sander in an attempt to smooth the warped surface. It'll add character, I told myself when I accidentally dropped the heavy tabletop on cement and cracked one of the corners.

It'll add character... right?

I think that's going to be my new woodworking motto.

After painting the surface white and letting it dry, I christened it by photographing these cookies. And it was beautiful. Until, of course, I picked up one of the cookies after setting it on the table. Turns out you need to seal wood or the buttery goodness in your baked goods might just leave grease stains. Oops.

Well, there's always something new to learn. And if you are like me and trying to do woodworking, turns out there's everything new to learn. Um, does anyone happen to know how to get grease stains off wood?

Have YOU tried anything new lately?

Since I have an allergy to tree nuts, "Rocky Road" has eluded me for most of my life. I've lusted over this flavor in ice cream shops and bakeries for far too long. It's about time I did something about it. So today, that's exactly what I did.

Though these Rocky Road Cookies do not feature walnuts or marshmallows—the staples of that classic Rocky Road flavor—I don't think you'll mind. I think you might be too busy finding and nibbling at every last crumb to notice. Since I'm a little burnt out on marshmallows (yes, it's possible! I blame this, this, and this), I substituted in white chocolate chips instead. I feel that white chocolate chips have a texture better suited to cookies than marshmallows, while marshmallows have a texture better suited to ice cream. It's a personal preference, but I feel like it makes all the difference.

These Rocky Road Cookies with almonds and white chocolate chips may not be your traditional Rocky Road cookie, but it doesn't make them any less enjoyable. A rich chocolate cookie is absolutely stuffed full of white chocolate chips and almonds. Each bite showcases all of these flavors at once, providing your taste buds with a Rocky Road experience. Plus, these cookies kind of look a little rocky. I suppose that's what I get for stuffing them (too) full of flavor!

One Year Ago: Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Rocky Road Cookies with Almonds and White Chocolate Chips

Yields 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating until well combined.

Slowly add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well mixed. Stir in the white chocolate chips and almonds.

Spoon onto a baking sheet and flatten slightly with your hand. These cookies will not spread out as much as others simply because they are so full of delicious extras. Bake for 8-10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.