Saturday, April 16, 2011
The Monster Cookie Experiment
Over Christmas, Jessica from Word & Play (formerly "The Elegant in the Room") sent me some lovely jars containing ingredients for "Monster Cookies."
I had never heard of Monster Cookies before and can't help but wonder about their origin. They seem to be a mish mash of ingredients from around the house -- oatmeal, M&M's, chocolate chips, nuts... some recipes call for peanut butter. Despite my best efforts, I can not find more information about them than this. Instead, my search engine keeps conjuring results for "Cookie Monster" -- go figure.
But ultimately the origin of monster cookies does not matter. All that matters is that they exist today and that they taste DELICIOUS. I'm not a huge cookie consumer (I leave that task to Patrick) but I would eat these cookies any day of the week.
The best part of making cookies in a jar is that the dry ingredients come pre-measured so it's pretty much idiot-proof... right?
Initially I was so proud of myself. I decided to make one jar at a time, and rather than mix the ingredients in all at once (as I now realize I should have done as is the nature of the cookie jar concept), I separated the ingredients and approached it methodologically, applying the traditional cookie-making techniques. Cream the fat (in this case, butter) and the sugar together to aerate them. Sift the dry ingredients and add slowly in batches. Fold in the remaining ingredients: oatmeal, M&M's, nuts, chocolate chips, and vanilla. Scoop onto a baking sheet. The result:
I thought the dough felt a little wet for a cookie batter, and as soon as I popped them into the oven, I realized that I had accidentally doubled the amount of butter that was supposed to go in. I had taken 1/2 cup of butter out of the refrigerator with the intention of splitting it but accidentally used the whole thing. Idiot proof, indeed.
Rather than mope about it, I used this as an opportunity to experiment and see how increasing the butter in the recipe affects the end result. After making the second jar the right way, here is how they compared:
Can you guess which has more butter?
Yep. It's the flatter one. Butter has a very low melting point, which resulted in much more of a spread. I always under-bake my cookies slightly to keep them chewy, but I'm sure if I would have cooked them all the way, the cookies with more butter would have been crispier as well.
Taste-wise, however, Patrick and I both agreed that they were about the same--both equally delicious. (In other words, our taste buds aren't sensitive enough to discern a significant difference.)