The other day I got a text from a friend who was eating lunch with another friend at The Neon Carrot. She sent me a photo of this crazy-looking cookie with, like, random foodstuffs sticking out from all angles. It was called the Junk Cookie.
They asked that I recreate this cookie for this blog, "but better."
Now, I wasn't confident that I could just whip up a cookie better than a professional baker who works at a highly regarded restaurant. Especially without having tasted the cookie I was supposed to be improving.
But I thought I could probably manage to make a cookie that wasn't completely gross.
I figured I'd just start with your basic Toll House cookie recipe, omit the chocolate chips, and dump a bunch of other junk in it. I just had to figure out exactly what kind of junk to dump.
The Neon Carrot's cookie included, as far as my friends could tell, chips, pretzels, peanut butter cups, Whoppers and "a random date." My friends clearly weren't impressed by the date, so I knew to cross that off the list. And I don't really like Whoppers. (At least not the "malted milk ball" variety. The Burger King variety, though, I'm big fan of. Although I'm not sure I could fit one inside a cookie.)
So I knew what I didn't want in my cookies. But I wasn't sure what I did want. I clearly needed some inspiration. So I went to Vons and walked around looking for snack foods that I could make a cookie with. I picked up a bag of Kettle chips, pretzels, some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and M&Ms.
And then, as I pushed my cart away from the snack aisle, I saw it — what was sure to be the crowning glory of my junk cookies. Haphazardly hung on an endcap, destined to be ignored … until now. Immediately, I knew:
These cookies are gonna have CornNuts in 'em!!!
OK, I see the look of disgust on your face, and I have to tell you: It's fairly justified. I mean, CornNuts? In a cookie? That's ridiculous.
But it's also … not half bad. I mean, if you like CornNuts.
If it's been a while since you've eaten CornNuts (which I'd imagine is pretty much the case for everyone, because who still eats CornNuts?) you might not even realize that's what those crunchy little nuggets are. I brought some of the freshly baked cookies in for some co-workers, and they guessed that the CornNuts were all sorts of things, except for CornNuts.
Once I told them about the CornNuts, however, the CornNuts seemed to become distractingly obvious. But that didn't stop anyone from eating the cookies!
Well, actually it did. My co-worker Jen didn't even finish chewing her first bite before announcing, "I don't think I like this."
But junk food isn't really her thing. If junk food is your thing, you'll totally like these cookies!
(p.s. Everyone agreed that these cookies would taste better without the CornNuts. Even the people who enjoyed the cookies were a little weirded out, though they didn't seem to mind the chips and pretzels. So if you're more interested in making the cookies tasty than making your friends guess what the cookie's made with, you might want to omit the CornNuts and substitute more pretzels, perhaps. Or more candy. Or whatever.)
Recipe: Junk food cookies
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup potato chips, broken into manageable pieces, but still big enough to be obvious
- 1/2 cup CornNuts
- 1 cup Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (about 16 miniatures, quartered)
- 1/2 cup M&Ms
- 12 pretzel sticks (this is mostly just for decoration)
- Preheat your oven to 375˚F.
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt, and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the flour in three stages, beating just until incorporated after each addition.
- Stir in the first four junk food items: potato chips, CornNuts, peanut butter cups and M&Ms.
- Using an ice cream scoop or other large spoon-type utensil, scoop sizable amounts of dough onto ungreased baking sheets. (My scoops were about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter.) If your scoops of dough aren't very round, form them into balls with your hands.
- Place a pretzel stick horizontally on top of each dough ball, and press it down a little, smoothing the dough on top of it.
- Bake the cookies for about 16 minutes (the exact time will depend on the size of your cookies). They're done when they're browned around the edges, and the centers still look a little soft (if you like your cookies undercooked a bit).
- Let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
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