Nano's Devil Dogs
Guys guys guys!
I am so, so beyond excited. You know why? Because today I am sharing one of my all time favorite recipes with you, the one that has everything going for it: family, tradition, memories, chocolate, cool whip, cake, cookies--everything.
Devil Dogs (or Devil Dog cookies) are an old family recipe on my dad's side. According to my mom's recipe card, they are attributed to Nano, which is the name we all called my great-grandmother. I personally learned, together with my cousin Isabel, how to make them from my Grandma Joanna at our bi-annual family summer beach trips.
These beach trips are absolute perfection. They are what dreams are made of, full of the memories and sunshine and flavors and laughter that I escape to in my mind when the overcast Spokane skies get me down. Part of the reason they're so special is because of our destination for something like 40+ years, the magnificent Sunset Beach in coastal North Carolina (aka, the best place in the world). Part of the reason is because of the excellent seafood and quirky shopping in nearby Calabash, NC. But the main reason is that 22 (or more) of my loud, sometimes obnoxious (in the best way), usually hilarious, always incredibly beautiful family members pile into a beach house for a week or two during the lazy summer days, playing cards, soaking up the sun, strolling in the sand and sea, and munching on Nano and Granny Joanny's biscotti and devil dogs.
Nostalgia doesn't even being to cover it, and actually I'm gonna stop before I start sobbing a delirious mixture of happy-angry-sad tears because the forecast is currently 32° and bleak in Spokane and the snow is turning car-exhaust brown, while Sunset has rows of houses painted in colors like sea-foam green and lemon yellow, with names like "A Shore Thing" and "Looney Dunes."
Besides, this is a happy occasion. 1) It's National Chocolate Cake Day, which I didn't know was a thing but I will stand behind 100% and even make T-shirts if necessary, and 2) I'm sharing devil dogs today!!!
Devil dogs are perfect for two main reasons:
- Devil's food cake = the best cake flavor out there. These cookies are basically mini devil's food cakes, which is excellent news because with cookies you can get away with eating two or three of them without turning heads, whereas if you went to town on three slices of actual devil's food cake, some might start to regard you as a pig.
- Cool Whip. Throughout my childhood, I did not like pumpkin pie. Therefore, when Thanksgiving rolled around, I would just have a plate of cool whip, sans pie. I developed an acute love for cool whip, and this recipe's got it! Nano and Grandma do have icing recipes to fill it with that I will also share at some point, and ice cream is always an option as well; but my favorite filling will always be cool whip. Plus, that means when you're making these cookies you can sing "Whip It" and that's fun.
Devil dogs are also perfect to me because of the treasured memories and family tradition that I associate them with. When I think of my family, I think of biscotti and devil dogs. I will forever hold the memories of making devil dogs with my grandmother--her teaching us how to scoop the batter off the spoons with our fingers in a sun-kissed beach rental kitchen with the waves rolling onto the shore outside--in my heart and soul. And it's probably good that I have those memories to hold onto, because the real cookies don't get the opportunity to last that long before they're eaten, especially not where my family is concerned. We're lucky to have some leftover two days later, and it's an almighty miracle if they last three.
I think both nature and technology were as psyched as I am that I'm sharing devil dogs, because they both pulled their own weight as far as this post goes. When I was shooting my photos of the devil dogs, it snowed beautiful little snowflakes and the lighting was soft and cloudy and perfect and my camera did its job and then some. I apologize in advance about the number of photos with this recipe, but not really. I'm ecstatic about how beautiful they turned out. :)
I know you want a piece of this magic after hearing me go on and on about them for so long....so without further ado, Nano's Devil Dogs.
Nano's Devil Dogs
Makes: About 3 dozen cookies (36)
Takes: About 2 hours
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup cocoa
- 4 cups flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 containers of Cool Whip (for the filling)
- Cream butter, sugar, and eggs together in a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer.
- Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and cocoa, mixing on low speed until combined.
- Add 2 cups of the flour and 1 cup of the milk, mixing the whole time on low speed and adding the flour gradually so as not to send it flying around your kitchen. Then, add the other 2 cups of flour and the other cup of milk. Note: I use Fairlife lactose-free 2% milk, and the recipe still works just fine with this substitution.
- Preheat oven to 375°F and lightly grease a baking sheet or two.
- Using a spoon, scoop up some of the batter and push it off the spoon and onto the baking sheet with your finger, creating a little circular dollop. Repeat until sheet is full, or about 12 dollops of batter. Space 2 inches apart. Note: It is very important that the dollops of batter are not too big, otherwise the cookies will flatten and spread too much while baking. Each dollop should be about half a spoon of batter.
- Bake 7-8 minutes, or until cookies are no longer gooey on the inside. They should be somewhat puffy, like little devil's food cakes.
- Transfer cookies onto wire rack with a spatula and let them cool slightly.
- Pair up cookies of similar sizes.
- Spread Cool Whip (or similar whipped product, like homemade whipped cream) on the bottom of one cookie and press the other on top to create a little cookie sandwich.
- Continue with chapters 5-9 until all the batter is gone and all cookies have been made into sandwiches.
- Place cookies in an airtight container in the freezer. Devil Dogs are especially delicious when chilled!
Note: This recipe is only lactose-free depending on what type of Cool Whip/similar whipped product you use for the filling, and what type of milk you use in the cookies. If you use a lactose-free whip and Fairlife lactose-free milk, the recipe should be fine to eat without a Lactaid pill. Score!