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Thursday, November 3, 2016

How not to waste a batch of failed cookies

We all have that fail in baking from time to time. Sometimes it's overdone brownies that no one wants to eat. Or a cake that's way too dry. In our case, this time, the "fail" was intentional, a batch of intentionally "bad" cookies, for a class assignment.

One daughter had an assignment to make 50 "beautiful" things and 50 "ugly" things for one of her classes. She chose to make cookies. For the 50 "ugly" things, she burned some, made them misshapen, and some she sprinkled with black pepper.

This tin of cookies sat in our pantry for almost a month. I was concerned they might mold. To my surprise, no mold, just really hard cookies.

I set out to salvage what I could from them. I used a serrated knife to cut off the tops of each cookie.

Then I crushed them coarsely with a large spoon in a bowl. I added some melted butter, a sprinkling of sugar, and dumped the whole shebang into the bottom of a baking dish. (The sugar and butter are optional. I added then to conceal the off-putting flavor and texture of these cookies.)

After dealing with the cookies, I made a batch of scratch cornstarch pudding, butterscotch-flavored. While that was still hot, I poured it over the cookie crumbs.

After allowing to cool, I put the whole thing into the fridge to chill.

I wasn't going to try any, due to the milk thing, and my bad track record with milk. But my daughter raved about it. So, I had to have some, and then some more. Good thing I took a pill. Yeah, pudding, it's my one weakness.

Honestly, this is one of those homemade desserts that no one could guess was a concealed baking "fail". I've done this with brownies, topped with chocolate pudding, and cake topped with jam and vanilla pudding. I think of this as poor man's trifle.

An aside, about scratch pudding -- do you all have a good recipe for cornstarch pudding? Do you know how to turn plain pudding into butterscotch? For butterscotch pudding, use dark brown sugar in place of white sugar, skip the vanilla extract, and at the end, swirl in 1 tablespoon of butter.


  1. Yum! I'm going to try this with some leftover frozen yolks in my freezer.
    I accidentally purchased skim instead of 1% milk this week. Will mix with evaporated milk for pudding.
    I still remember in grade 7 Home-Ec we compared scratch made pudding v's dry package pudding. Scratch won hands down and I couldn't believe how easy it was to make.

    1. Hi Teresa,
      Scratch pudding is so easy to make, and tastes so much better, I think. My mom used to buy the instant pudding that you mix with cold milk and it sets up. That stuff was really awful, not at all creamy, but kind of weirdly grainy. Plus you can adjust the sugar in a scratch batch. My recipe calls for 1/3 cup of sugar for 2 1/4 cups of milk. Sometimes I make it with just 1/4 cup, and we still really enjoy it.

      I hope your day is off to a great start, Teresa!

  2. I like both vanilla and chocolate homemade pudding. We use this recipe:
    The only thing I don't like is that leftover pudding left in thefridge overnight isn't soft and creamy anymore.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I use a recipe from one of my mom's old cookbooks. It's referred to as blanc mange. It does set up pretty firm the next day. It's best when it's fresh. But we're still happy to eat it. I have experimented with less cornstarch, and that works pretty well for next day pudding. Also using a richer milk helps, too.

      have a great day, Alice!

  3. Yes, Save the Cookies! I've had plenty of baking falls in my time -- what I've always done is dry them out thouroughly in the oven, grind them into chunky crumbs, and add them to my homemade granola (along with the oats, etc) as I'm making it. The crumbs turn out like crunchy Grape Nuts in there ;-)....

    1. Hi Patience,
      Granola -- What a great idea for the cookies! I'll have to try that. Thanks!

      Have a great day, Patience!

  4. You said she put pepper on the top. Did she alter the basic recipe?

    While I think it's good, I'm not a pudding person so no recipes here.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      no, she used the same dough for both halves of the project, so the cookies themselves were fine, luckily!

      Have a great day, live and learn!

  5. What a good save. I did not know how to make butterscotch pudding.
    Have a great day.

    1. Hi Patti,
      butterscotch pudding was my sister's favorite when we were kids. Boxed butterscotch is always kind of orange-y in color. Homemade will be more tan, but same if not better, taste in the scratch.

      I hope you have a great day, too, Patti!

  6. Funny you posted this. There was a program on a local tv channel last week that used a "failed" brownie batch--their solution was similar. They pulsed the brownies into crumbs, added butter, baked it like a graham cracker crust, and used as a base for a pie (I don't remember what kind of pie).

    The only pudding I make from scratch is bread pudding. Maybe I need to remedy that. It's not a dessert that comes to mind when I'm thinking of sweet treats.


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