baking fail: cornflake cookies


It isn’t often that I bake any more… and maybe that’s why I failed on such an epic scale with these cookies. I was doing a large-ish bake of old standards anyway, and when you’ve got a bunch of stuff going at once in a standard-sized kitchen, it’s easy to cut corners and make mistakes. However, I watched the most recent season of The Chef Show on Netflix (I never gave Jon Favreau much consideration before, but have mad respect for his reverence for bread baking and his sincere commitment to learning the ins and outs of cooking), and famous baker Christina Tosi appeared in an episode, showing the unsuspecting audience how to bake a whole load of tempting treats. Including this Corn Flake/marshmallow thing. It seemed like more trouble than it was worth (the first step being a Corn Flake crunch that had to cool completely before use), and the recipe itself also seemed finicky. Tosi told the guys in the show that if you didn’t do this (beat the butter and sugar for long enough), or that (beat the flour or add-ins for too long), or the other thing (didn’t thoroughly chill the formed cookies on cookie sheets), your cookies would not turn out.

Even though I was careful to follow the instructions to the letter, mine still spread out WAY too much. I even made the dough by weight (I normally go the much more inaccurate cup measurement way) and still ended up going wrong.

If the whole process were a bit friendlier I might try this again, but cookies that require extra steps (like the aforementioned crunch) are too time consuming for me these days. If I do ever try it again, I will document what I do differently (and share, if it works).

Cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip cookies

225 g butter, at room temperature 16 tablespoons (2 sticks)
250 g granulated sugar 1 1/4 cups
150 g light brown sugar 2⁄3 cup tightly packed
1 egg
2 g vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon
240 g flour 1 1/2 cups
2 g baking powder 1/2 teaspoon
1.5 g baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
5 g kosher salt 1 1/2 teaspoons
3/4 recipe Cornflake Crunch (below) 270 g (3 cups)
125 g mini chocolate chips 2⁄3 cup
65 g mini marshmallows 1 1/4 cups

  1. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes. (See page 27 for notes on this process.)
  2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. (Do not walk away from the machine during this step, or you will risk overmixing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. Still on low speed, paddle in the cornflake crunch and mini chocolate chips just until they’re incorporated, no more than 30 to 45 seconds. Paddle in the mini marshmallows just until incorporated.
  4. Using a 2.-ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1⁄3-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature—they will not hold their shape.
  5. Heat the oven to 375°F.
  6. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. At the 18-minute mark, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown toward the center. Leave them in the oven for an additional minute or so if they aren’t and they still seem pale and doughy on the surface.
  7. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temperature, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

Cornflake Crunch

makes about 360 g (4 cups)

This recipe was originally created to accompany the Cereal Milk Panna Cotta. It was one of those first-swing, home-run hits. It is incredibly simple to make and equally versatile in its uses. Put some in a plastic bag and take it on the go as the best snack ever, or use it as an ingredient in the recipes that follow.

170 g cornflakes ½ (12-ounce) box (5 cups)
40 g milk powder ½ cup
40 g sugar 3 tablespoons
4 g kosher salt 1 teaspoon
130 g butter, melted 9 tablespoons

  1. Heat the oven to 275° F.
  2. Pour the cornflakes in a medium bowl and crush them with your hands to one-quarter of their original size. Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt and toss to mix. Add the butter and toss to coat. As you toss, the butter will act as glue, binding the dry ingredients to the cereal and creating small clusters.
  3. Spread the clusters on a parchment-or-Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, at which point they should look toasted, smell buttery, and crunch gently when cooled slightly and chewed.
  4. Cool the cornflake crunch completely before storing or using in a recipe. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the crunch will keep fresh for 1 week; in the fridge or freezer it will keep for 1 month.

2 thoughts on “baking fail: cornflake cookies

  1. J

    The exact same thing happened to me! And I have absolutely no idea what I did wrong! I followed every step of the instructions to a T!!! Have you been able to figure out what went wrong?

    • I haven’t tried to bake them again (discouraged and time crunched). I feel like the Corn Flake crunch step where you make the crunch add-in had too much butter and that might have been one step that affected these. I will let you know if I try again. I didn’t “agree” with everything in the original recipe but followed it to a T as well, so if I adjust according to what my intuition wanted me to do, and succeed, I will repost!

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