We’ve been accused of thinking outside the box. It isn’t true. At Cookulus we don’t even know where the box is. We just like to think. So it is only natural for us to start our new blog at the end, or more accurately, at the hairline between death and life where something “on the way out,” fertilized by imagination, is reborn.
Is there anything sadder than a stale cookie; full of missed opportunity, unsatisfied pleasure, shriveled sensuality? Cheer up. Staling is nothing more than loss of moisture, replace it and freshness returns. Baked goods start staling the second they come out of the oven. During baking starch in a batter opens up and takes on water. As the starch cools it contracts, wringing out that water, which then evaporates into the air. Unless there is something in the batter to absorb the water before it escapes. Hello sugar. Sugar is hygroscopic. It holds on to water. So sweet baked goods, like cookies, stay moist longer than savory stuff, like bread. Eventually though, even a cookie will turn stale and enter the afterlife.
If such a fate should happen to your cookies you have obviously been derelict in cookie consumption, but there are ten things you can do to make up for it.
- Resurrected Cookies: Put stale cookies in a closed jar with a piece of whole fruit, like an apple or a pear. The sugar in the cookies will absorb moisture from the fruit and the cookies will soften.
- Cookie Crumb Pie Crust: Mix 3 cups (750 mL) crumbled stale cookies, 2 tablespoons (25 mL) confectioners sugar and 4 tablespoons (50 mL) melted unsalted butter and pack into a pie pan pressing the mixture into a firm even layer covering the bottom and sides of the pan. Line with foil and bake at 400F (200C) for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until lightly browned, about 8 minutes more.
- Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches: Pack an inch of slightly softened ice cream between two cookies. Wrap well and store in the freezer. The moisture in the ice cream will soften the cookies.
- Tortoni: Mix shards of broken cookies, chopped nuts, chocolate, dried fruit and a drop of almond extract into softened vanilla ice cream.
- Cookie Pudding: Soften broken cookies in milk and fold into prepared pudding.
- Crunchy Chocolate Truffles: Melt 1 tablespoon (15 mL) unsalted butter, 1/2 cup (125 mL) heavy cream and 8 ounces (225 grams) bittersweet chocolate over low heat. Stir in 1/2 cup (125 mL) crumbled stale cookies and cool completely. Scoop into 16 balls and roll in cocoa.
- Cookie Gorp: Mix broken cookies with nuts and dried fruit.
- Cookies and Milk: Crumble cookies into a bowl pour in cold milk and eat with a spoon.
- Cookie Ornaments: Poke a hole in a cookie with a sturdy pin (or if the cookie is too brittle tie a ribbon around it) and spray with polyurethane coating.
- Eat Them: Stale cookies are 100% edible. Grab a glass of milk and go for it.