Ah the joy of Bank Holidays. There’s something unequivocally British about them; with their awful weather, terrible TV and pathetic excuses for public transport. In true ‘English-person-with-their-head-in-the-sand’ style, Mr. Cay and I had planned to go to Southport for a day trip on Monday. My only prior experience of Southport has been an ill-advised family trip to a Pontins Holiday camp there when I was seven. I got into a fight with a bloke dressed as a giant crocodile and my brother got very bad stomach flu. To be honest, it was a miserable experience for everyone involved. But, I was prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt this time, mainly because I’d been led to believe that it was a place which served up excellent donuts and fish & chips, and also because it was only a 30 minute train journey from our house. Then the trains decided to go kaput. I’m not good with rail replacement services at the best of times, but especially not when I could be at home drinking wine and watching Dexter.
When life hands you a cancelled adventure, the only right and proper course of action is to make cookies. I’d been meaning to make Christina Tosi’s (of Momofuku Milk Bar fame) Cornflake-Chocolate Chip-Marshmallow cookies for a while, but had never gotten the chance. Despite my ridiculous girl-crush on her (hey, we bakers-called-Christina have to stick together) it seemed like a lot of faffing for a plateful of biscuits; all that cornflake-crunching, butter-creaming and dough resting, and going to the shops to buy skimmed milk powder. But with a spare day on my hands, and some serious book-writing-displacement-activity to indulge in, it seemed churlish not to at least give them a try.
And man, I’m glad I did. These cookies may just be the best cookies I’ve ever tasted in my life – a riot of tastes and textures. First, there’s the wonderful toffee notes of the (seriously addictive) cornflake crunch, followed by a hit of chocolate and wonderfully gooey melted marshmallows. Yes, it’s a sugar bomb, but it’s a sugar bomb which packs one hell of a punch. I took a batch of these into my office yesterday and couldn’t help feeling a note of pride when they were devoured in record time.
There are a few things to consider when you’re baking these though. First, mixing and resting the dough is vital. My trusty hand mixer actually conked out on me halfway through making these, causing me to curse £6 ASDA home baking equipment and pray for God to deliver me a KitchenAid for a wedding present. Secondly, don’t skimp on the dough when you’re portioning these out for baking. They spread out quite a bit when they’re baking, so if the balls of cookie dough aren’t large enough, they’ll be too thin and burn before you know it.
Other than that, I can’t think of a better way to waste an afternoon in a kitchen. Sorry Southport, nothing personal. But I think that this time, I got the better end of the deal.
You will need:
- 120g cornflakes (I used Crunchy Nut cornflakes)
- 40g skimmed milk powder
- 40g white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 130g unsalted butter, melted
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees C/Gas Mark 4.
- Pour the cornflakes in a medium bowl and crush them with your hands to 1/4 of their original size. Add the milk powder, sguar, and salt and toss to mix. Add the butter and toss to coat. As you toss, the butter will act like a glue, binding the dry ingredients to the cereal and creating small clusters.
- Spread the clusters onto a baking parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, at which point they should look toasted, smell buttery and crunch gently when cooled slightly and chewed.
- 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 one month.
CORNFLAKE-CHOCOLATE CHIP-MARSHMALLOW COOKIES (Makes 15-20 cookies)
Adapted from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook
You will need:
- 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 250g granulated sugar
- 150g light brown sugar
- 1 medium sized egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 240g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 270g Cornflake crunch
- 125g chocolate chips
- 65g mini marshmallows
- Combine the butter and sugars in a bowl. Cream the two together with a hand mixer for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla and beat again for 7-8 minutes. Do not skip this part. This is a very important step to achieving the right consistency for Milkbar Cookies (If you’re lucky enough to own a KitchenAid, this is where it will come in handy. If you don’t, be prepared to develop some serious upper-arm muscles).
- Turn your hand mixer/stand mixer to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute (Don’t do it for any longer, or you risk overmixing the dough). Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Add the cornflake crunch and mini chocolate chips to the dough and mix for 30-45 seconds, until they are just incorporated. Add the mini marshmallows, and mix for another 30 seconds.
- Portion out your dough into balls which are (roughly) the size of your fist onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Don’t make them any smaller than this – if you do, they’ll be too thin, and won’t obtain that lovely chewy effect. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat, wrap the sheet 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.
- Heat your oven to 2oo degrees C/Gas Mark 4. Arrange the chlled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on a parchment-lined sheet pans. Bake for 12 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle and spread. At the 12 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.
- Cool the cookies completely before transferring to a plate or 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.