“It all happened in Vienna,” Robin Wehl-Martin says. She had been working for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Vienna, living in a tiny apartment with a woefully inadequate kitchen. When some friends lent her their apartment when they went on a ski trip, she made lasagna and chocolate chip cookies. “I made a mistake — too much baking powder or something, but wrong was very right,” she says. “When I returned to the US, I tried to replicate what I’d done. We ate a lot of cookies.”
Back in Seattle, Wehl-Martin’s neighbor, Zach Reinig — who is married to ice cream maven Molly Moon Neitzel — asked her to open a cookie place “as a small favor.”
On a whim, she said yes. Wehl-Martin now runs Hello Robin, a bright little cookie-centric café on 19th Avenue in Seattle, with her husband, Clay Martin. They use locally sourced ingredients when possible, like Shepherd’s Grain flour from Spokane and Theo Chocolate in Fremont.
“It’s still so fun,” Wehl-Martin says, “and we meet all kinds of people.” Wehl-Martin bakes a dozen different kinds of cookies, a few seasonal variations — hamantaschen for spring — and challah on Fridays. Call ahead if you want a loaf — it sells out fast.
Makes 3 dozen Cookies
Prep time: 45 minutes. Cooking time: 10–12 minutes
- 2¾ c all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¾ c (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 c packed light brown sugar
- ½ c granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 oz Theo 70 percent dark chocolate, cut into chunks
- 1 c packed mini marshmallows
- 36 graham crackers
- 7½ oz Theo 45 percent milk chocolate, each square halved
1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy, about three minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium speed for 15 seconds after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in the dark chocolate chunks and marshmallows.
2. Using a medium cookie scoop (about 1½ T), scoop the dough into balls onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Freeze the dough for 45 minutes. When you’re almost ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400° F, and put the graham crackers side by side on the second prepared baking sheet.
3. When the dough is frozen and the oven is hot, put one ball of cookie dough on each graham cracker and bake until puffed and just turning golden, 10–12 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately press one piece of milk chocolate onto each hot cookie.
4. Try to let the cookies cool for a few minutes before you eat them — they’re just about as messy to eat as a real fireside s’more!
Tips from Robin
Use a cookie scoop for consistent size, then put the trays in the freezer. Baking cookies while they’re frozen helps them maintain their shape and provides a balance of crunchy
and chewy. Don’t melt the butter for the dough — that will result in a flat cookie.
Summer cookie breaks on Shabbat are the best! Set up a sorbet ice cream bar for the kids
of all ages with cookies and all the trimmings. Scoop a few different sorbets in individual bowls, then decorate with all the berries and fresh fruit you can find. Some marshmallows and chocolate chips are a nice treat, too. — Keren Brown