27 Sep Luckily, it wasn’t a beauty contest
We are huge fans of The Great British Bake-Off here, and so of course it was quite upsetting to learn of the departures of most of our favorites from the show. But perhaps it was the influence of this program, with its absence of inflated drama and the genuine enthusiasm and camaraderie of the contestants that inspired me to enter a local baking competition this weekend. And, much to my surprise, I won best cookie! I can’t say it was a crowded field, but it was still satisfying to be the holder of a blue ribbon.
I wanted to make something original for the contest, knowing that I was unlikely to beat anyone through skill or know-how; I was aiming for a good concept, as well as a good bake, naturally! Last year some time, I made Christina Tosi’s (yes, a familiar face from another cooking competition show) cornflake-marshmallow-chocolate chip cookies, particularly the amazing crispiness the cornflakes add. Do you remember the old cereal commercials, which always showed a kid eating a bowl of Sugar Smacks or whatever, alongside a plate of toast and a glass of juice, with the voiceover announcing, “part of a good nutritious breakfast” (what kid eats toast AND cereal, I ask you)? Well, that was my jumping off point.
These cookies are probably not part of a good nutritious breakfast, but they take their flavors from that most important meal of the day. I started with the basis of a lacy, Florentine-style cookie with butter and oats and sugar, and added banana for extra caramelized goodness. Then I stirred in a mix of my favorite cereals; you could easily vary these depending on your preferences. Finally, to make a real showstopper, I sandwiched them with a slathering of coffee cream, using cream cheese to keep the sweetness from getting overwhelming.
It’s not the best looking cookie, I’ll be the first to admit, but it’s a winner taste-wise. And I’ve got the ribbon to prove it!
- 2 small, ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- Dash salt
- 1 3/4 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
- 2 1/2 cups breakfast cereal of your choice - I used a mixture of Cheerios, lightly crushed corn flakes and Rice Krispies
- 2 Tb unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 Tb cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 Tb + 1 tsp strong brewed coffee
- 2 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone pan liner.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas until mostly smooth. Beat in the melted butter, brown sugar, egg and salt. Stir in the oats.
- Gently fold in the cereal and mix until well combined.
- Drop dough by scant tablespoonsful onto prepared baking sheet. I found it helpful to use a spoon to pat down and shape the cookies gently, since they will spread some while baking and you want them to be as consistent as possible when you sandwich them.
- Bake until edges of the cookies are beginning to brown and the tops are dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Beat together the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Sift in about a cup of the powdered sugar, then stir in the coffee.
- Add more powdered sugar until the filling reaches a spreadable consistency; you don't want it to be drippy.
- Spread the filling on the bottom of one cooled cookie, then sandwich another onto it.
- Eat and enjoy!