Monday, January 7, 2013

Compost Cookies

The ladies at my workplace always do a cookie and craft exchange every year around the holidays.  I always do my best for the craft part, but I'll be honest--it's not really my strong suit.  Last year, I attempted to crochet a rug out of t-shirt scraps...and it turned out shaped more like a table runner--too narrow to be a rug!  But, being the procrastinator that I am, I had waited until the last possible second to make it, so I had no time to re-do it.  This year, I got the brilliant idea to crochet a set of placemats from raffia, since many of the ladies wanted something that was more practical.  Again, I waited until the last minute, only to find out that raffia is a real pain to work with, and at about 8:45 pm on the night before the exchange, I realized that I had no hope of finishing the placemats in time (in fact, I only had about 2 rows of the first one done after working on it for 2 hours!).  After frantically checking my local craft store's hours, I gunned it to get there before they closed at 9 pm, picked up some chunky yarn, went home, got my biggest crochet hook, and cranked out a simple scarf in no time flat.  Thankfully, the recipient loved it.  Phew!

The cookie part of the exchange comes much more naturally to me!  I have a reputation for being a good cook and baker around the office, though, so I always do my best to bring my A game and to make sure I bake something slightly out of the norm.  This year, I included the molasses ginger cookies that I blogged previously (the darker cookie in the picture) along with these not-so-little gems.  These cookies are an addictive combination of salty and sweet, which is always a good thing!  And they're HUGE!  They're also very flexible--they're called compost cookies because you can use whatever mix-ins you have lying around the house!  You can use this recipe to finish up all those half-empty bags of baking ingredients and snack foods that clutter up your pantry (unless that's just me?).  I've included some ideas for mix-ins below, but the only limit is your imagination!  You'll want the mix-ins to be small enough that you can get a few per cookie, but big enough to get a contrast in texture between the different ones!  Do yourself a favor, though, and make these cookies!

Salty: potato chips, pretzels, salted roasted nuts, crackers, popcorn, cooked and crumbled bacon
Sweet: semi-sweet, milk, dark, or white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, graham crackers, cereal, toffee bits, cookies, candy, coconut
Neutral: oatmeal, unsalted nuts

Compost Cookies (adapted from Christina Tosi, as seen on The Amateur Gourmet)

  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 yolk
  • 1 Tbl. corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. salt (yes, this seems like a lot, but it's right!)
  • 2 c. salty mix-ins (I used potato chips and pretzels)
  • 2 c. sweet mix-ins (I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and crushed graham crackers)

Thoroughly cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and yolk, corn syrup, and vanilla until thoroughly combined.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and then stir the sifted ingredients into the wet ingredients until mostly mixed.  Very gently, fold in the mix-ins.

Using a 4-oz (1/4 c.) ice cream scoop, scoop the dough out onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, or freeze.  To bake, make sure the dough balls are spaced at least 4 in. away from each other on parchment paper-lined baking sheets--these cookies spread!   Bake at 350* F for 15-18 minutes, or until edges are set.  Let cool on the baking sheet, and then taste test your new favorite cookie!

*Note: if you're not using mix-ins that will absorb a fair amount of moisture (oatmeal, graham cracker crumbs, pretzel crumbs), you may need to add an additional 1/4 c. of flour to the dough.


  1. I love these cookies! They are one of my current favorites because of the sweet and salty combo.

    1. Yes, I saw these on your blog, too! I was a bit worried about how they would turn out, because a lot of comments on the blog where I got them from said that they were too salty and/or spread too thin, so I left out essentially half an egg, and they were perfect!