These days it's rare that I prepare food for a group of unmitigated omnivores. But I was faced with this very situation on election night (a distant 10 days ago, and we still don't have a firm government; I wonder if, in the manner of cricket, it's about time we called a draw). Michael and I agreed that we wouldn't go to too much effort, so we all nibbled on bread and dips as Antony Green warmed up his electoral models and were gobbling down a Penang Affair delivery by the time Kerry O'Brien accidentally called a seat for the ABC.
I put more effort into a non-alcoholic beverage (mint-garnished Lebanese lemonade) and something sweet for the final call that never came. Free of dietary restrictions, I decided on a butter-laden and utterly glutenous recipe for 'compost cookies'. I just couldn't resist the prospect of stuffing cookie dough with chips of the potato as well as the chocolate variety.
Yes indeed, this recipe requires you to select one and a half cups each of your favourite sweet and savoury junk foods, chop them up, and bake them into cookies. I gleefully picked out plain potato chips, sesame pretzel sticks, mini M&Ms and Twix-flavoured Pods and with a twinge of irony added organic butter, free-range eggs and fair trade sugar to the same shopping basket. And just as I had hoped this cookie dough was sweet buttery heaven on a spatula, probably the most delicious unbaked dough I have ever tasted.
Unfortunately the fully-baked cookies didn't quite match up to my moment of bliss with the electric beaters. I was given due warning - Adam emphasised that the dough balls must be thoroughly refrigerated before baking and Penny recounted a case of over-baking. But limited to two trays and with a fridge full of election night drinks there was only so much I was willing to do. The dough balls were firm and cold but clearly not firm and cold enough, and when they hit the oven they rapidly flattened and turned a deep brown round the edges. The ones pictured above were the few most successful cookies and while they were certainly the tastiest, they were nothing on that sweet, sweet dough. While I'd be interested to taste compost cookies at their best, I'm not sure that I'm inclined to bake these ever again.
(recipe sourced from the Amateur Gourmet)
1 cup raw sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup (160g packet) mini M&Ms
3/4 cup finely chopped pods with Twix
3/4 cup plain crisps, crushed
3/4 cup sesame pretzel sticks, chopped finely
With an electric beater, cream together the butter, raw and brown sugars and corn syrup for several minutes, until fluffy. With the beater running at a lower speed, incorporate the vanilla and eggs. Once they're in, crank up the speed again and beat the mixture thoroughly for 10 minutes. Yes, really - the mixture will become much smoother and lighter.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. When the butter mixture is ready, gradually add the dry ingredients at a low beating speed until just combined. Stir the sweet and savoury snacks into the dough until they're just mixed through. Roll the mixture into balls and refrigerate them for between 1 hour and 1 week.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the dough balls on baking trays and bake them until just barely set. (AG says 9-11 minutes but some of my over-baked bikkies were in there for as little as 7 minutes.) Allow the cookies to cool completely on the tray before eating or storing them.