whiskey breakfast cookies

Everyone who knows me knows that that I have a sweet tooth, and also an alcohol tooth.  That’s in part why I was so pleased by a trip, a couple of years ago, to San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe.  They opened in the mission amidst the recent ‘weird’ ice cream trend, along with SF’s Bi-Rite Creamery near dolores park.  Oh san francisco days!  LA must have several such places; the one I know of is (the overrated) Scoops.  Anyway, Humphry Slocombe had a chimay ice cream, a wine ice cream, and what they called whiskey-breakfast, which was flavored with bourbon and cornflakes.  It was so…charming.  That’s the right word.

Two years later (that is, yesterday)  I decided to try to make whiskey breakfast cookies for R’s christmas party.  When I try to make something it involves less experimentation and more searching google for a recipe.  The below recipe comes from Shirley O. Corriher’s BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking.  It was posted by this blog, but don’t click on that because they have better pictures than me.  The recipe is actually bourbon and oatmeal, but I exchanged corn flakes for the oats.

Whiskey Breakfast Cookies

1 cup pecans
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp (5 oz) unsalted butter, divided
1 tsp salt, divided
2.5  cups cornflakes
¼ cup  shortening
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
4 Tbsp bourbon
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1  egg
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

First off, I should note that the book that this recipe comes from is all about the science of baking and so is presumably very precise.  Still, I changed the above recipe (some of the these changes I made while making the cookies, while the rest is what I would do if I were making them again).  The main differences are: cornflakes instead of oats (and you need more cornflakes than you would oats), more flour, more bourbon, and  less heavy cream.  4 tbs bourbon might be too much, but I felt the end product should have had more of a whiskey taste.  Also cut down on the pecans because they are strong tasting.  I might even forgo them in future batches.  ANYWAY.

1. Roast pecans on a cookie sheet at 350˚ for 10 min.  Take out and mix with 2tbs butter and a pinch (1/4 tsp) salt.

2. Mix the flour, baking soda, remaining salt,  cinnamon, and  nutmeg.  Use whole nutmeg that you grate with a microplane grater, because it’s fancy that way.  That will set the tone for the rest of cookie-dough-making.

3. In a medium sized bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and shortening.  I think the shortening is necessary in this recipe; sorry.  Usually when I make cookies I just chop in the butter with a wooden spoon and try to get everything incorporated.  But apparently a trick in this recipe is to really beat all the ingredients together.  So I took out my hand mixer and went to work.  It was fun and the mixture did really change in color and consistency in an interesting way.  After about five minutes of this, mix in the in the vanilla, bourbon, and cream (I used milk.  shh!). Add the egg and beat just to blend.  It has a very light, mousse-y texture at this point.

4. Slowly beat in the flour mixture.

5. Coarsely chop or crush the pecans and cornflakes.  I used my brand new mortar and pestle.  Because I just got it as a gift and, again, it’s fancy.  I have a lot of fancy kitchen things now, and before I would be ambivalent about this, because my philosophy has always been to just make do with whatever you have (part of why I like Mark Bittman’s style).  Also I don’t like accumulating crap that I’ll later have to move.  But my parents wanted to get me ‘holiday’ gifts and I couldn’t think of anything but food related things, and technology.  So I got Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook and a mortar and pestle.  Anyway, for this step you can also use: a food processor, a knife, your hands.   Stir them into the mixture with a spoon.

6. FREEZE THE DOUGH FOR 10-15 MIN.  If the dough is sticking to your hands as you try to put it on the cookie sheet, put it in the freezer and leave it there until it doesn’t do that.  This is not part of the original recipe but it’s the way I make cookies now.  If the dough becomes too cold to work with, you can let it sit out for a few minutes and it will be fine.  But mostly you’ll be able take a heaping teaspoon of dough, and roll it in your hands into a neat, nice sphere.  Somehow I like the texture of cookies when you can do this.

7. Bake at 350 or maybe 365 for 9-10 min-ish.  My oven is cold so I went up to 380, but who knows how hot that actually is.  Anyway, you know how to bake cookies, so I trust that you’ll be ok from this point on.  Cool on the sheet for a couple min then a wire rack yada yada yada.  The only exciting part about that is that I recently got a wire rack from target as part of t-day prep.

8.  Look at!

The final cookie was tasty, and went over well at the party, but still it wasn’t perfect for me.  I wanted more whiskey flavor (I only used 2 tbsp per the original recipe) and I also wanted them sweeter.  But like I said I have a sweet tooth and an alcohol tooth, so.  I was trying to think of how to make them sweeter without changing the recipe too much (by adding sugar) and then it hit me: frosted flakes.  Genius.  Thank you.  You’re welcome.

9.  Louis the holdiay party duck says that you can totally eat these for breakfast.

Louis says that cornflakes are part of a healthy breakfast

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