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.

irn-bru shortbread experiment


I am always game for trying out some different form of shortbread. And what could be more Scottish than Irn-Bru shortbread?


I found and used a recipe I came across online on the Scotsman website, and guess what? It was a total failure. I read the ingredients for the Irn-Bru filling a few times, and it didn’t seem possible that it could come together as an ‘icing-like’ filling – and voilà, it absolutely did not. I don’t see how this could work as published, so because I didn’t have time to mess about experimenting, I used the shortbread cookies (the recipe below worked beautifully) and made a chocolate filling instead:

125g granulated sugar
250g unsalted butter (I used half salted, half unsalted)
375g flour

Soften butter to room temperature. Mix butter and sugar until well-combined.
Add flour and mix gently with a pastry blender/mixer until dough almost comes together, which will take about five minutes.

Gather dough together and knead lightly on a floured surface. Roll dough to roughly 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Reroll excess dough up to 3 times. Bake at 265 F (130 C) for about 50 minutes.

You will be making a filling from Irn-Bru and white chocolate and creating nice wee shortbread sandwich cookies. If you follow the recipe, I don’t see how it can work at all. But if you do try it and the following info works for you, enlighten me. All I can think of is that somehow “double cream” differs from “heavy cream”, but I don’t think so.

1 bottle or can of Irn-Bru soda
100g of white chocolate
50g double cream
Pinch of salt

Combine white chocolate and double cream over a double boiler until combined. Let cool and mix in 4 tablespoons of Irn-Bru. Use a piping bag to fill each sandwich. I got what was very much like soup as a result, so no piping bag, no Irn-Bru filling.

Et voilà… in the end, it was not a thoroughly Scottish treat.

white chocolate cherry shortbread


I don’t think this was terribly successful. I found a recipe online somewhere (I can’t remember where) that claimed you could actually form this dough, once assembled, into a cohesive ball and then could flatten it with a glass to make individual cookies.

No. Fail. Maybe less flour, more butter? Using the recipe below, however, I salvaged it by just pressing the dough into round pans like I do with any other normal shortbread recipe. It was crumbly, and I was skeptical as to whether it would hold together and allow me to cut it into slices. But it did… and even though I have no idea how it tastes or even if the slices will hold up until I get them to their intended recipients, it at least worked well enough for now. I suspect these could be experimented with to achieve a better consistency.

White chocolate cherry shortbread
1/2 cup candied cocktail cherries, chopped finely
2 1/2 cups flour (maybe 2 cups would be better?)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 to 2 cups white chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond, if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 325F/160C. Use two round cake pans to bake in.

Mix flour, sugar, butter and mix until fine crumbs form. Mix in the extract.

Add your cherries and chocolate. Divide dough into the two pans and press it firmly into the pan evenly. Bake for about 15-18 minutes.


Happy Halloween


I will post later with all the recipes and reflections on this, but here are some images of all the baked stuff I made this weekend – my last big bake, I do believe. I set it all up in the office and feel very… free.


Getting the big Halloween bake all set up in the office


Very basic Halloween decorations


How will I organize this??


Ready for their close-up: Coconut cream bar cookies


Chocolate chip cashew cookies – same recipe as the white chocolate macadamia cookies, only throw in chocolate chips and cashews instead of white chocolate and macadamia nuts




Mini pecan pie recipe… also these got some rave reviews



M&M cookies… same recipe as the white chocolate macadamia cookies


Chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips – same recipe as the chocolate mint cookies but with peanut butter chips instead of mint


Table 1 of 2: Getting rid of ingredients cookies rather than the Halloween-themed goods


The Halloween-themed spread



Chocolate cupcakes (which happen to be vegan – not by design, just coincidence) with grey vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream



Witch finger shortbread cookie recipe… they freak everyone out



Chocolate truffles: Very easy to make




Coconut dark chocolate bites recipe: I toasted the coconut and blitzed it in a food processor, which is not indicated in the recipe. I think it works better this way



Close-up: Candy corn cupcakes


The full spread: Halloween baking 2017


Happy Halloween 2017



the tail end of baking


I wrote the other day about how I no longer derive joy from baking. But I discovered that in the middle of a medium-sized bake. Later I posted pictures of the baking, and everyone exclaimed, “You’re baking! But I thought you said you weren’t going to!” Yeah… I won’t. But I didn’t realize I didn’t want to until I was too far down the road of baking this recent stuff to stop. I finished the bake, vowed only to do my planned Halloween bake next month, and then that’s it.

Meanwhile, if you want to try your hand at the things I made for my office this week, here are the recipes:

Parting in stations/Craving comfort


For the first time in my life, I have no butter in the house. I usually have a small stockpile because I’m always preparing to bake. But I haven’t baked since Christmas, which must be the longest bake-drought of my adult life. If I were to get into it, I am sure the drive would return, but now isn’t the time. Sometimes I wonder about shifts like this – are they phases, or are they permanent changes in our make-up? Are lemon cakes and Anzac biscuits a part of the past?

While in the now (or ‘the noo’ to be all Scot about it), the scent of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies does not waft through the air, I am surrounded by sunlight, poetry and music. All ache and exultation.

from Mean Free Path
by Ben Lerner
What if I made you hear this as music
But not how you mean that. The slow beam
Opened me up. Walls walked through me
Like resonant waves. I thought that maybe
If you aren’t too busy, we could spend our lives
Parting in stations, promising to write
War and Peace, this time with feeling
As bullets leave their luminous traces across
Wait, I wasn’t finished. I was going to say
Breakwaters echo long lines of cloud

Oh, what could be more beautiful than “I thought that maybe/If you aren’t too busy, we could spend our lives/Parting in stations, promising to write/War and Peace, this time with feeling”?

Maybe the soundtrack du jour: Ruby Haunt’s “Crave”. It sounds just like something I would have fallen in love with in high school but sounds immediate at the same time. It pulls my heartstrings.

“Listen to the girl, who waits by your side, in a simple world, no need to ask why, nothing’s gonna change, the people pass by, you feel no pain, as she starts to cry. Craving, craving some comfort. You can’t explain, the things on your mind, you’re on your way, you won’t rewind. It’s over with, no need to lie, you’re just a myth, but you know it’s fine. Craving, craving some comfort.”

If only life were like living in a bubble of poetry, literature, music, going to gigs, walking through the fields and forests, last-minute adventures, linguistic parades and endless conversations.

Oh, wait, it kind of is.

Easy vanilla gaufrettes (waffle cookies)



Long ago I lived with a French guy. He went back to France for Christmas every year, and I stayed home alone. He usually came home with a tin of vanilla gaufrettes (thin, crisp waffle cookies) that his mother had made for him. Being who I am, I wanted to make some myself, but it was not until many years later, after I had moved to Sweden, that I bought the right kind of iron to make them myself. I rarely, if ever, make them. I had yet to find the right recipe. My latest experiment, though, was quite successful (except that they were a bit larger than I would like – but can adjust for size next time).

How to go for your own gaufrettes…

  • 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled

Makes about 8 cookies

While preheating the gaufrette or pizzelle iron to medium (about a 3 on a 5-level heating scale), beat the egg whites on high until they are stiff. Gently fold in the rest of the ingredients.

Place a scant tablespoon onto the preheated iron and cook for anywhere between 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on how well-done you like them. They will be a light golden brown but also are great if slightly darker.

You can cool them on a wire rack for cookies. Or you can shape them into small cones for ice cream.


Faux Girl Scout cookies: Homemade Samoa cookies


Samoa cookies are not the simplest cookies to make. Easier to buy a box from the Girl Scouts. But then it won’t be homemade, won’t be fresh, won’t be quite the thing you get when you make something of your own.

I made the Samoas once before, and they were very popular. When I wrote up the recipe and baking process last time (way back in 2011!) I included a few photos of the process.

Here I repeat just the recipe and a couple of snaps.

Samoa cookies: Recipe
1. Make the dulce de leche (or buy it) and toast the coconut (you can do a day or two in advance)
2. Make the cookie dough (it will need to chill for a few hours before you can roll it out and cut it)

Shortbread cookie dough
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (do not add if you have used salted butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk (you may not need this much – you are just looking to get the right consistency)

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in one bowl. Set aside briefly. In a bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy at medium speed, about 3-4 minutes. (I did this by hand.) Mix in the vanilla extract. Turn the mixer speed to low, and add the dry ingredient mixture, followed by the milk, one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together without being sticky. The dough should be a soft ball.

Turn the dough onto a very lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two pieces and form each one into a rectangle. Wrap the pieces of dough in parchment or plastic wrap and freeze for about 45 minutes to an hour. (You could also just put it in the fridge, as I did. I left it overnight.)

When ready to roll out, cut and bake, take one of your dough rectangles out and set aside to soften slightly. Preheat your oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment.

When ready, put down a piece of parchment on your work surface. Lightly flour and put your dough on top. Lightly flour the top of the dough and add another sheet of parchment. Roll the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Use a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter and cut the dough into rounds. Cut a center hole (I used the round end of a frosting tip), and then transfer to your prepared cookie sheet. Gather the scrap dough and repeat the rolling out/cutting process.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then put on wire racks and allow them to cool completely. While cooling, make the topping.

Caramel-coconut topping
3 cups toasted coconut (you can use sweetened or unsweetened and can use untoasted coconut if you prefer)
1 14oz can of of dulce de leche
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
a bag of dark or semisweet chocolate chips (to melt)

Open the dulce de leche and stir it together with milk and salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a couple of times to smooth the caramel. When smooth, add toasted coconut and stir completely. (And no, actually, it’s not pretty.)

Spread 2 to 3 teaspoons of the topping onto each cooled shortbread cookie. While the topping sets, melt the chocolate chips (either in a double boiler or in the microwave, whichever works best for you).

Once the chocolate is melted, spread chocolate onto the bottoms of each cookie and put them on a clean sheet of parchment.

You will then want to drizzle chocolate over the finished cookies — I just did this by dipping a fork into the remaining melted chocolate and drizzling it over the cookies. You can be more orderly about this by using a piping bag.

Refrigerate the cookies for a few minutes to let the chocolate firm up. Store the cookies between parchment sheets in airtight containers.

Lemon in all its forms – Think pink: Lemon sandwich cookies with raspberry filling


When I know I am going to do a big bake, I sometimes ask for requests – everyone has favorites. I got an enthusiastic request for something lemon – anything lemon. And lemon raspberry wouldn’t hurt either (since most lemon lovers are pretty addicted to the crack-like but luscious addictive nature of lemon raspberry bars).

I went to my go-to lemon cookie recipe after looking around and finding a far more complicated lemon cookie recipe. Why not just use what I know?

I baked these up and whipped up some raspberry buttercream to turn the cookies into sandwiches. I had frozen some very decadent cream-laden vanilla frosting and just added a bunch of de-seeded raspberry jam and a dot of red food coloring to make the frosting just slightly pinker.


Into the pink…

Cuckoo for coconut: Naturally gluten-free baking choices


I had an ambitious baking plan recently (don’t I always?), and – for once – I was ready, armed with plenty of time and all the needed ingredients. Then southern Sweden was hit by an unusually powerful windstorm, which knocked my power out two days in a row. While the outage only lasted a few hours, it robbed me of my motivation… ambition out the window.

I still managed to bake quite a lot, but not everything that was on my list – and the gluten-free baking options suffered most. I had very much hoped I could make my standard gluten-free paleo brownies (which I did) but also venture into the world of more adventurous gluten-free cookie options. At least in my first round of baking, I did not succeed, and the brownies were the only thing that got made.

On the second round, I still had some lingering hope for gluten-free experimentation, but the only thing I managed to do was make some very basic, simple coconut macaroons. It was a new recipe for me, which I grabbed from – apparently Ina Garten’s recipe. The final product turned out well, but I actually had to add a lot more coconut than the recipe asks for. I’d suggest adding the amount listed in the recipe and see if you get the right consistency for a “dough” that can hold its form and bake into a cookie but that is not too “wet” from the condensed milk.

Give it a shot.

Coconut macaroons
14 ounces of coconut (4.27 cups or 397 grams)
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 extra large egg whites
¼ teaspoon salt

Combine coconut, condensed milk and vanilla in one bowl and set aside.

Whip egg whites and salt on high until medium-firm peaks form.

Carefully fold eggs into the coconut mixture.

Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto baking sheets covered in baking paper.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden.