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baking cookies

When I was speaking at the Blogher Food Conference last year, one of the organizers was telling us that on the last day of each month, she carries out what she calls E-mail Amnesty Day. On that day, she deletes all her e-mail in her Inbox, then issues an all-points-bulletin to everyone she knows that if there was anything important in there, to e-mail her again. She swore that it drastically reduced her e-mail and any meltdowns one might have trying to answer it all.

I thought that was an interesting idea, and when I looked around my apartment the other day, (which wasn’t half as scary as my Inbox), I realized that I had a huge miscellany of half-bags and jars of stuff left over from various baking projects, odds and ends that I was saving, which I said to myself (at the time) that I’d certainly use in the future. And this weekend, I thought it was high time to do something about it and get rid of them all, to do an exhaustive, clean sweep and get rid of everything.

kit-kat bars ingredients for compost cookies

What also prompted the purge was when I read where Adam made something called “Compost Cookies”, a recipe which includes anything you wish to dump in it, from chocolate chips to Fritos.

He replied, on Twitter, “What would you put in your version?” And then it hit me, that I should give these highly-praised Compost Cookies, a recipe from pastry chef Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milkbar, a try.

butterscotch chips butterscotch chips

I puttered about my apartment, gathering up goods, like that small blob of caramelized white chocolate I’d been picking at whenever it rose to the top of the pile of stuff, the 3/5ths of a bag of butterscotch chips that I used for Triple Chocolate Scotcheroos, four chocolate truffles I didn’t get around to eating which looked lonely, a half-jar of croquante from a brush with a molecular gastronomy, three miniature Kit-Kat bars from Japan, and the last morsels and bits from the bottom of a five kilo box of French chocolate pistoles.

Sine the recipe pretty much gives you leeway to use up three cups of stuff, including pretzels, potato chips, or whatever snack foods you want (or have on hand)…I kissed those Kisses goodbye, gave a scissory guillotine to some orphaned oursons guimauve, and said au revoir to all that.


Well…one of the three Kit-Kat bars didn’t make it into the mix. I had to taste one, to make sure they were was still usable, right? And maybe a few marshmallow bears, before sending them off to meet their melting fate.

marshmallow bears

For better or worse, in France, there’s all sorts of goofy snack foods, including one that I didn’t know if it still existed in the states or not: Bugels.

(I used something called “Google” and found out that yes, they do. I guess since no one sold them at the San Francisco farmer’s market, I sort of forgot about them.)

Although the supermarket shelves in France aren’t the all-out assault the American snack foods aisles are (re: shelves vs. aisles), we do have roast chicken-flavored potato chips, and there’s plenty of other nutritionally-dubious stuff to choose from, nonetheless. And the versions that you see here are often close to the original ones we had in the states, before everything thing in them got banned. Most likely because a lot of them fly under the radar here, they still taste the same as they did in the old days, since they’re full of insidious hydrogenated fats and even le glucose.


Like America, France is still a relatively-free country (although the banks and mobile phone companies here would like it otherwise), the great thing is that you can put anything the heck you want in this batter: thin mints, Pepperidge Farm goldfish, crisp bacon, Captain Crunch, salted butter caramels, Bugels, peanut brittle—whatever. Everything…out, out, Out!

As Adam mentioned, the dough was oh-mes-étoiles good. Don’t even think about tasting it before you bake the cookies, because if you do, you won’t likely have enough to bake off a single sheet pan of these. The salty pretzels embedded in the brown sugared batter, and corny Bugels a-plenty mingled with the big hunks of top-quality chocolate and low-quality butterscotch chips makes a dough that’s one salty-sweet, buttery-crunchy, amazingly delicious mess.

chopping bugels

Unlike when Adam said to Eve, “Stand back! I don’t know how big this thing is gonna get!”, when I scooped the cookie batter on to the sheet, I knew for sure they were going to be mighty-big whoppers. (Unlike Adam. Well, I mean the Adam of Adam and Eve. I don’t know about Adam Roberts.)

The recipe says to use a 6 ounce ice cream scoop. Do you have any idea how big a six ounce scoop is? That’s about 3/4 cup of batter.

Per cookie.

Hey, the bigger the better, I suppose. And I had a lot of stuff to plow through, so I wasn’t questioning anyone.


4 cups bugel batter

Being a good little baker, I followed the Compost Cookie recipe almost precisely, and the first batch were puddings of underdoneness, with lava rock-like edges. Someone on my Flickr page said they looked like “chicken pot pie cookies.”

compost cookies

I guess I was so excited to get rid of things that in my haste, I neglected to read where in the recipe, it said it was obligatory to freeze the scoops of dough for at least one hour, which I then dutifully did with the rest of the batter.

After baking off another two baking sheets, each one producing six identically flat cookies, which luckily didn’t resemble caramelized savory hand pies (although there’s an idea for anyone enterprising out there who wants to run with it) I went back and re-read the recipe yet again, and realized that the baking sheet needs to be frozen as well. So it was back to the chopping block for me.

thin cookies

Considering there isn’t space for a postage stamp in my freezer, finding space in there was no easy chore, let me tell you. But if I could clear out some space in my cabinets, gosh darn it, I could give it a go in my freezer.

And because when I’m having a problem I do what everyone else does: blame the French. So I resorted to dipping into my stash of American flour.

US flour cookie dough

And sure enough, success. Whew!

compost cookies

Oh, and what did I do with those extra cookies, the flat, the chicken pot pie-like, and overbaked, too thin ones? I cut them up and put them in the freezer, where I’m storing them, to use for another baking project in the future.

chopping cookies

Oh, no!. . .



    • H.Peter

    Ha! I love it. Amnesty anything. Endless possibilities in our kitchen.

    I would have eaten all the flat cookies though. Right away, while they are still warm.

    • Susan

    I copied that same recipe from some link to a Regis and Kelly article via twitter. I was taken by the name “compost” to describe the many possible additions to basically a chocolate chip cookie dough. Can’t wait to try these and tell everyone we are having leftovers for dessert! .

    • The Paris Food Blague

    great post! it’s funny i just tried–and blogged about–compost cookies a week ago or so. i didn’t know there was an official recipe and, being an improviser (euphemism for lazy baker) just threw stuff together. turned out to be more like compost bars. these look tastier than mine, i must say

    a bientot
    the paris food blague

    • Sasa

    I commend you on your frugality! Do you have a compost cookie ice-cream in mind, mayhap?

    • ChefDylan

    “Unlike when Adam said to Eve, “Stand back! I don’t know how big this thing is gonna get!”

    I just sneezed hot tea out of my nose and all over my laptop! I must have missed this line in the bible when I was at school.

    Who do I send the bill too?


    • Hannah

    Surely we’ll be be seeing compost ice cream in the future now? And is it wrong that I’m lamenting not having access to pretty much everything that you were trying to get rid of here? Bugles, butterscotch chips, Fritos, goldfish, Captain Crunch…. all sadly non-existent in Australia. My compost cookies would be very dull indeed. They’d just be chocolate chip cookies, most likely.

    • Lucie from Bilingual Butter

    Such a cross-cultural cookie! I could see these with some Ritz crackers and Pralinoise chocolate added for fun. Although, they don’t really count as compost cookies if you actually buy the stuff to make them. Then again, that just leaves leftovers for another batch, so I’m in!

    • Nicole

    But how did they taste once they were cooked?

    • Stephanie

    Crazy – we were writing the same post at the same time…I just posted about Compost Cookies this morning! I made them last night, although I actually shopped for my “junk,” which was silly and wasteful, since there was plenty in the cupboard already. Ah well. Yours are more fun – I love the pics of unrefrigerated version, and that they’ll show up someday in another version of compost cookies. How…sustainable!

    • Julia

    Good lord, wish I’d had this recipe three weeks ago when I purged my pantry and threw out bags and bags of stuff! Bookmarked this for next time, because there will inevetably be a “next time”

    • Stephanie

    Oh, I just now read the Adam line – I definitely didn’t include that. HILARIOUS!

    • Joanne

    Oh David, I had fun making these cookies too. I didn’t make big ones though. I don’t own a large ice cream scoop and made little 1 oz frozen balls of yummy goodness. I happened to only bake a dozen happy little cookies, the rest were placed in my freezer for future baking in an attempt to maintain some semblance of a healthy diet. My husband found them and has been snacking on frozen balls of heavenly goodness every time he walks by the freezer. Alas, my leftover ingredients are all gone, and I must refill the cupboards before I make these again.

    • John DePaula

    Ha! I made these, too, this week and I thought they came out too thin as well, even after chilling (though I have more frozen ones ready to bake). For my combination of add-ins, I didn’t think they were sweet enough. Perhaps a sprinkle of powdered sugar or drizzle with salted butter caramel…

    Hey, maybe you can use the remnants from the first batch in the next??? :-)

    • David

    John: Yes, many people reported theirs came out thin, too. Adam cookies (and Stephanie, who commented just above) had success. Whipping batter causes cookies to spread, so if I was coming up a similar recipe, I would alter the technique perhaps. Although since it’s Ms. Tosi’s recipe, and “Amateur” Adam got ’em right, there must be a quirk to getting them just right!

    • dawn

    you had me with BUGELS!

    • Barbra

    First of all, this is hilarious.

    Secondly, I will confess that I experienced some relief reading about your trouble with the first batches. Not in a schadenfreude, I-enjoy-others’-suffering kind of way, but because I have recently had similar experiences with a couple of recipes that I consider tried-and-true that really left me frustrated. Now I can blame the flour.

    And finally, this was not a good post to read before going to the movies. No way I can skip the candy counter now.

    • Lynn T.

    Talk about a blast from the past: bugels! haven’t thought of them in years, but now I must have, no need, some.
    I am going up to the city this afternoon for a brief stay and now, thanks to your comments recently, MUST get me some Cowgirl Creamery goodies.
    Lynn T.

    • luane

    ugh!! but knowing Bugels still exist was worth reading this…perhaps these should be called garbage pail cookies. It is was makes us Americans obese.

    • Jennifer @ Maple n Cornbread

    Oh WOW this is totally new to me with the Bugels! I love them, I can just imagine how wonderful these cookies are! *saving now*

    • Adam

    There’s a reason they call me the Home of the Mighty Big Whopper! So glad you made the cookies—what a great idea to use Bugels! I’ll do that next time around.
    – A

    • Cynthia Rieth

    David, I’m so glad I found your blog again! Bugels! I use to eat them with my grandmother when we had tea parties as a little girl – cookies sound delish; however, as it is girl scout cookie season here in the states I must put off making these for a while, then again, there will probably be one or two gs cookies I can add to the batch!

    • Lisa T.

    Oh no. Bugles are dangerous. But looks like I might have to track some down to have on hand when mom gets back from SF. I will exchange them for some Cowgirl Creamery treats that I hope she brings back. Hopefully with some Acme bread from next door.

    These cookies sound like great fun. I’ll have to make some soon. Guess I’ll have to get more than one bag of Bugles if I want even a single one to make it into the batter. ;P

    • erin

    LOVE the not-room-for-a-postage-stamp-in-my-freezer line. french and swiss refrigerators must have that in common, ha! thank you for sharing this story – i’m now inspired to go into my cabinets and dig out the many half-eaten bars of swiss chocolate hanging out and waiting to be used. YUM!

    • Rianne

    Hilarious! You just reminded me that I need to clean out my pantry. I’m sure I’ve got enough stuff in there to make an interesting combination of flavors. Ooooh…I gotta try this with my egg-free chocolate chip cookie batter. Thanks for posting this David :-)

    • Stephanie

    I baked mine on silpat mats, and made small cookies – wonder if that made for less spreading? I use cheap baking pans, which get much too hot, but the silpat mats temper that effect and usually mean a puffier cookie…which sometimes I don’t like. But since this was a new recipe, I erred on the side of caution. All interesting. I think next time I’d try not whipping the butter and sugar so much, I like that suggestion.

    • Linda

    You could crush the rejected cookies and use them as a thickener! Perhaps coffee thickened with crushed cookie crumbs, or milk thickened with them. Could be a yummy treat!?

    • Katrina

    Great post! I love Cleaning-out-the-pantry Cookies!

    • Dinners & Dreams

    Delicious-looking malgré tout!!


    • Karen@Mignardise

    I made these last week after reading Adam’s post. I like my food with LOTS of texture, so these are perfect for me.
    They were awesome! The sweet/salty thing, crunchy/chewy – loved it! My kids wouldn’t eat them because there were chocolate-covered cranberries in them, so I ended up eating the batch pretty much by my self.

    I still have some in the freezer and I think I’ll go bake them NOW.

    • Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf

    this is definitely one of my favorite posts of yours… and not only because you got cap’n crunch, adam & eve AND oursons guimauve all in one. not to mention roast chicken-flavored potato chips (but i think i’ll pass). nothing i love more than chocolate chip cookies, and i love adding marshmallows to them too, so i just can not wait to add the rest of my pantry as well. and soon ! big fan of christina’s cookies in nyc and know i’d be a fan of yours above too.

    oh, as for what to do with those cookie pieces in your freezer now… add them to your next batch of compost cookies, but of course ! :)

    • Heather @ chik n’ pastry

    Dude – you didn’t remember bugles in the states?? Man, I ate a bag of those in one “sitting” when I was a teenager. I guess it i did that now i’d weigh 300 pounds. i read adam’s post on these and they are intriguing. great way to not let those little morsels of odds and ends go to waste!!!

    • liz

    You could always use the ‘bad’ cookies in a cookie crumb-based crust for a chess pie…

    • Mark

    Do you guys eat Bugels with soft goatscheese too? Here in Belgium we eat them with a scoop of soft goats-cheese. Just scoop with the Bugels in the cheese, like a ice cream horn.
    Time for Bugels – goatscheese cookies?

    • Liz C.

    I’ve got a huge bag of these black pepper, dried cranberry, and orange zest pecans in my pantry as well as a large chunk of callebaut white chocolate, and I think I just figured out a use for them. (can’t eat the pecans whole b/c braces and nuts don’t get along too well.)

    • Suzanne Anderson

    Actually, instead of freezing those burned bits in the last picture, I think you should set them out on the windowsill for the birds. They’d probably enjoy them as well.

    • Hilary

    Wait, did you put your dough in the freezer or fridge? The recipe says to refrigerate the dough on cookies sheets. Confused!

    • Ashley

    Bugles! In a cookie! I am paralyzed with delight.

    • Vivian

    Hey, wait, Suzanne…you wanna KILL those birds?!! Don’t feed our feathered friends what you wouldn’t consume yourself …all those nasty burnt sugary bits ain’t good for any living thing’s digestive tract! David, what hilarity! I haven’t seen Bugels here (Canada) for donkey’s years! Love your take on all things culinary!! (and, ahem, religious…).

    • the lacquer spoon

    I know leftovers in a fridge turn into delish savoury dishes, but hardly thought about the similar outcome abailable from a sweets cupboard. Great idea!

    • Asti

    I used to make something similar and called them Kitchen Sink Cookies as in everything goes in except the kitchen sink. My stepchildren loved them.

    • David

    Liz: That’s a good idea. Although I found out my French friends like both the good ones, as well as the duds, too!

    Hilary: Since my freezer is so tight, I froze the baking sheet and the rounds of dough separately, then reunited them before popping the cookies in the oven.

    Vivian, Ashley, Mark, Heather, Jennifer, Adam, Dawn: I hadn’t had Bugels since I was about 16 years old. But I was having drinks at a friend’s apt here and she brought them out, apologizing a bit, but said, “I can’t help it. I love them!”

    And, for better or for worse, I agree! Perhaps if they called them “Crisp Polenta Horns” that would make them more popular with the foodie contingent?

    • helena

    when my 5 year old didn’t think it necessary to tell me that he had invited 5 friends to come to a party that afternoon and the mums of those 5 children brought those 5 children and left them ”desperation chocolate cake” was born. Those kids mixed it, waited by the oven for it to bake and ate every crumb. Method and recipe similar to what you described.

    • Jenn

    Love it! I take this approach often with cooking dinner as I frequently play the “how can I clean out the fridge” game – but I’ve never done it with cookies! I ditto turning the “bad cookies” into a crumb crust – this is what I do with all of my cookie failures.

    • Dorothy

    great cookies! this is why i love your blog!!!!! :) and now i know what to do with all my post-CNY stuff :)

    • k.bogatyr

    Wonderful idea! Perhaps we should apply to refrigerator food too and create an amnesty soup or stew!

    • Kelly-Jane

    I’m a bit perplexed at the thought of crisps and chocolate together! but do like the idea of getting shot of lots of bits and pieces at the end of sweet stuff bags.

    I’m wondering what I have in the cupboard now, and alas this might lead to taste testing, just to make sure the stuff is ok you understand.

    • Lynn

    I’ve often taken this approach with pizza, but never cookies. You’ve inspired me to go clean out my baking cupboards. Thanks!

    • Cookin’ Canuck

    Love it! My pantry badly needs an amnesty day. When I saw your photo of bugles, many childhood memories came flooding back. My grandparents always had bugles in their cupboard and, as a small kid, I would climb on the counters to get my hands on the box.

    • Hazel

    Hah! I’m living in a flat at the moment that nobody really lives in, so the cupboards are full of half bags of this and that brought back and left behind by myself and my brothers and others from university – things bought and used once and the rest put in the cupboard, on top of a similarly half empty bag of the same item from 6 months previously.

    I went through when I moved in here again this time and threw away everything that I could bear to, that was REALLY past its use by date. I am currently making vast quantities of cake to use up cheap self-raising flour (I never make cake with self raising flour – that was definitely a ‘brother’ purchase), heaps of icing to use up the !three! !boxes! of the stuff, bread with a bewildering assortment of seeds in it, and a lot of curry to use up the four separate jars of garam masala…

    I still have a long way to go.

    • Sharon in Germany

    Oh the flour! When I first moved to Germany NONE of my American recipes came out right. And it is the flour. The standard flour (405) is too fine, more like cake flour. You have to use 550 and then it mostly comes out ok, but there still variations that are not always predictable. I sometimes bring flour back from the US, but usually rely on the 550. I have to save room and weight for pecans and plastic wrap.

    Say hi to Adam for me.

    • rose

    Waste not, want not! love composting…have been soaking both rye and white left over (homemade) breads to add to new dough which has made it lighter!!! Freeze handfuls of left over sausage, bacon, fried potatoes for sugarless Breakfast Cake so my freezer cried for a separate 3’x4′ which is also full!!! But your experiment takes 1st prize!!! Thank you for sharing the ups AND the downs.

    • Keri

    Well, thanks. Now this preggo chick is craving Bugels something fierce.

    I wonder if you could chop the cookies and mix them into another batch of cookie dough, sort of Compost Cookies Squared?

    • Cyndy

    Oh, God, I wish I had an oven. Darn these French short-term rentals.

    • Laurena

    Ohhh, such a great use for my stash… and all my failed candy making attempts, I can continue to be ambitious without wasting precious ingredients.
    Any suggestions for something tasty from my slabs of Christmas fruitcake I was convinced to buy for charity?

    • Jenny

    We do this with pasta about once a week to get rid of all the veggies we missed in the fridge. Always an interesting dinner – not always great, but respectable when downed with enough wine.

    Great post, David. I love the bugles in here!

    • amyb

    My snickerdoodles always spread all over the pan in baking. I’ve been meaning to try the freezer tactic as well. Now I know to make sure the pan is in there, too. I’d make them today, but there’s a package of Asian snack mix that’s been languishing in the cupboard just inches away from the chocolate chips . . .

    • Diane

    Too good…after looking through my pantry, I found some killer chocolate bars, some chipotle fudge and a few bags with a teaspoon or two of different seaweeds. Might be interesting…or disgusting!
    And Laurena-turn those fruitcakes into a heavily boozed bread pudding (and add chopped chocolate to it!)

    • Elissa

    Hi David-
    I love getting your monthly newsletter. I think I missed or accidentally deleted the last few but am thrilled I did not pass over this one because I just pre-ordered your new book after reading about it in the email.

    Today I made the Blue Chip Chocolate Chip cookies from your book, The Great Book of Chocolate. I’ve taken your toffee recipe from The Perfect Scoop, left out the chocolate and almonds and used the toffee itself as a mix in to replace chocolate chips and the cookies are delicious. Reminded me a little of the amnesty cookie post. I also was inspired to clean out my freezer and I took out some frozen congo bars to taste test them against a Foster’s Market cookbook Blondie I had in the freezer, too. My husband and I used to think we liked the blondies better but today with a blind tasting we both preferred the congo bar. Very delicious.

    We love your cookbooks and make the Chicken Tagine from The Sweet Life in Paris often, too. I wish you would plan a trip to LA. I have perfected many flavors from The Perfect Scoop and would love to take you to a few great ice cream places in the area here. We don’t have a Bi-Rite creamery, but we do have some other yummy spots (though I think my renditions of your ice creams and Emily Lucchieti’s ice creams are pretty good as well).
    Can’t wait for April 6th.
    Take care,

    • Karin (an alien parisienne)

    “…what did I do with those extra cookies, the flat, the chicken pot pie-like, and overbaked, too thin ones? I cut them up and put them in the freezer, where I’m storing them, to use for another baking project in the future.”

    I laughed so hard I SNORTED at those sentences, and then got going again when I read about “Crisp Polenta Horns” in comments. *chortle*

    Before multiple food intolerances arrived in my life, these kind of cookies would have been *totally* up my alley, but then I was also the kind of person who once ate Twinkies and Diet Mountain Dew for breakfast. After I turned 35. (Heh. It was not one of those stupid young adult decisions is what I am getting at.) I was road-tripping, so I kind of had an excuse, too. Anyway, as a result of antics like that, I am here to tell you that karma *is* a total bitch, lol. At least I can come here and observe another’s humorous (mis)adventures with baking fare such as these. All the goodies look delicious, even if slightly like chicken pot pie, lol. Here’s to hoping they were yummy and kudos on having cleaner cupboards if not freezer space. :) Thanks, too, for all the laughter!

    • Sandra

    This sounds like a great idea and everyone of us probably has enough leftover interesting stuff to make a few batches of these cookies. Yummy!!
    But I saw that last photo—and a few weeks ago, in slicing potatoes for an augratin recipe, managed to include a bit of thumb tip —stopping everything fast to run and grab towelling etc and a few bandaids, so the inevitable would not end up in the recipe.

    • Jill

    Heck, SF has a starter passed down for generations to make sourdough. Now you have a compost starter to pass down in order to make cookies. Works for me!

    • Beth

    My dear Grandma used to keep bags of Bugles in the freezer so they would stay fresher longer. Ever tried an ice cold Bugle? They’re damn good! Ahhh, memories.

    • Torie

    I also made these cookies after reading Adam’s post, and mine also came out looking exactly like your first batch, even after I put them in the freezer. Like you, I live in Paris, and used type 65 flour. Is the secret to making them work using American flour? (Despite their flatness they all got eaten, but this is something I’ve been wondering about for awhile, as it seems like this happens a lot when I make cookies)

    • Merisi

    A miracle: Reading a cookie recipe and not wanting to test it.
    It was an interesting lecture in advanced composting, though. *smile*

    • Sarah @ Daily Nibbles

    David – this post was hysterical! I love it:) Cookies are so finicky. I have never heard of freezing the dough and the sheet. I did a cookie experiment a while ago on resting the dough. My holiday flight got delayed by three days, so I stayed home and baked refrigerated cookie dough every 12 hours. Hehe:

    They did improve the longer they rested. And I had to detox from eating freshly baked cookies ever 12 hours….

    • Sarah @ Daily Nibbles

    I mean ‘every’ 12 hours. Sheesh. I can’t edit.

    • Dolce

    You killed des oursons guimauve????? This is sooo bad…. But the cookies look good so I guess it’s ok for now on!

    • davidsl

    might i suggest a variation? this variation was inspired by the sight of those bugels and the poster joanne’s making little 1oz balls of dough: use the bugels to hold “scoops” of the frozen dough! little salty/sweet/frozen confections!

    • Lisa T.

    So I made these cookies on Sunday because like everyone else, you had me a Bugles. It was a treat to nosh on those. But the cookie making was a complete disaster. I tried freezing, I tried refrigerating, I feel like I tried it all. And just one mess after another. I’ll just have to take people’s word that these are good cookies. Becuase I for one am done with them and they hold no attraction for me anymore. :(

    But I’ll sit here and nosh on my bag of Bugles. Mmmm.. tasty.

    • joy

    I have seen that cookie recipe repeated a couple of times now but I haven’t seen anybody use different ingredients. I’m glad you went outside the box to use up some items in your pantry. That is one thing I have been meaning to do. Thank you for the tips.

    • Mel G.

    Made these on a whim last night and they were a HUGE hit with DH and The Kid. What a great way to use up Halloween and Valentine candy! We tossed in tortilla chips and Japanese arare crackers for the savory. Yum. Thank you for the great recipe!

    • Katherine

    The Salt Lake Tribune published reader favorites at christmas time / one of them was for a shortbread cookie made with crushed potato chips and chopped almonds / they are the best shortbread cookie i have ever had / buttery with a crunch

    • Dawn (KitchenTravels)

    Bugles. My hands-down favorite vending machine snack. I justify eating them on occasion because one, they are delicious. Perfectly delicious. And two – well, other than the BHT – the ingredient list is really not that bad.

    • Sue

    If someone already said this in the previous 73 comments I apologize! Anna at worked out some of the quirks in the recipe that was posted on the Regis and Kelly site. I don’t think she changed it so much as she clarified it. I made the cookies using her suggestions and they came out really great. They were definitely unique!

    Here is a link to her post with a great picture: Compost Cookies Success

    Good luck with the pantry and freezer clean out!

    • David

    Sue: Thanks. Yes, I saw that she increased the flour from the original amount (1 1/2 cups) to around 2 cups. (Although she halved the recipe.) I corresponded with Adam and he swore he followed the recipe on his site, which I believe, but think if I make them again, I will add more flour.

    Lisa T: Oof! But the batter is amazing, isn’t it?!

    Dolce: They died for a good cause, and they’re end was quick and painless (rather than a slow bake to the end, in the oven..)

    • Su

    Bugels! Forgot all about those, but now I might have to go looking for some. Also, that’s a very (um…) trenchant photo with the scissors and the bears.

    • Susan In L.A.

    Your description of your failure was absolutely charming! Inspired by you, I made Meyer Lemon Marmalade last night (no bergamots). It came out clear, golden, and nicely bittersweet. You also inspired my first try at any kind of jam last year (Italian prune plums), and granola, too!

    • Amanda

    I’ve never heard of Bugels, but I’ve got a big plastic tub in the pantry full of 3/4 empty packets of God only knows what!!
    Sounds like this is worth a try!

    • Lisa T.

    Okay David you are right: the batter was amazing. Had I known how disasterous the cookies would turn out, I would have let myself eat more of that delicious batter. :P

    I’ve been reading about using more flour, but I just can’t let myself try a 4th batch of the cookies. I have work and school to get done.

    • Carrie D.

    Bugels! My secret vice. Not only is there the orginal, but they also have a perfect junk food version, Caramel Bugels. Crunchy,sweet,salty and greasy. Thank Goodness it’s hard to find them in any size, as any size is a single serving bag. It will be empty by the end of the day. I have to admit to this horrible vice,even as I will discuss cassia v cinnamon, Mexican vanilla v Burbon vanilla. I can’t wait to try the compost cookies. I have packets of interesting bits just waiting to twist my family’s taste buds in circles figuring what combo is this bite. Please insert evil laugh here….

    • Chaya

    This also makes a great Passover preparation cookie, (PPC). I am cleaning out my kitchen now and I have piled up all the opened packages and bottles and cans and whatever. Great, I can now throw most of it, into these cookies.

    • molly

    Well, hot damn, this is GENIUS!! We have amnesty beans and amnesty pasta all the time (although I’d always thought of them as bits and bobs, before), to use up those orphans. But man, my baking cupboard needs a clean-out far more than my legumes. Pure brilliant.

    • David

    Quite a few people are having problems with this recipe. While it’s good to see I’m not alone (!), I didn’t reprint the recipe because it appears elsewhere online.

    I asked Adam if he modified the original recipe in any way, and he said he didn’t. A few of you in the comments have linked to a post on Cookie Madness, where the amount of flour was increased, and the recipe was a success.

    Since this isn’t my recipe, and I did some tweaking and turning to get it right, if you do attempt it, you should consult these places where the recipe appears (with other versions), before you start:

    Compost Cookie Success! (Cookie Madness)

    Christine Tosi’s Compost Cookies (Live with Regis and Kelly)

    Momofuku Milkbar’s Compost Cookie Recipe (Amateur Gourmet)

    Copycat Momokuku Compost Cookies (Oatmeal CookieBlog)

    Spring Clean Cookies (Stephandbogdan)

    • Karin (an alien parisienne)

    I am *STILL* laughing at Bugels as “crisp polenta horns.” God, that tickles me! I am never going to think of Bugels the same again, lol.

    Now I am going about the murdered petits oursons, too. Accckkkk!! Bwah hah hah! Poor bears.

    I still want to know: how did they taste? Have they been eaten? The ones that came out, that is? Were they as good as the Kit Kat bar? What’s the verdict from the taste testers?

    Oh, and I finally got the Adam and Eve comment, too, hahaha! (sometimes it takes me a little while… hee hee)

    I brought them to a party last weekend and everyone wolfed them down. They were great. -dl

    • Little Parisienne

    Poor gummy bears!!!! Such a violent picture omg!!!! :-) Great post David.

    • Adele

    I love thin, flat crispy cookies. I’ve been searching high and low for the right recipe to make them and now I’ve found it…….

    • Caffettiera

    This is one of the funniest ideas I have ever read of. I wish I had more leftovers of this kind. Unfortunately, my leftovers always end up in a very healthy and boring soup or vegetable curry… Is it an indication that I should buy more unhealthy stuff? But if I do, it never arrives to leftover stage.

    … No, wait! I have tons of the stuff I picked up at the Koeln Carnival (they actually throw you things like gummy bears and cookies and chocolate and mars bars and liquorice strings)! Do you think the recipe will stand liquorice strings? What about bubblegum?!?

    • Sally – My Custard Pie

    I love the way you’ve photographed the ugly ones as well as the pretty ones.

    • Diana @ frontyardfoodie

    I actually felt physical pleasure pain at that top picture. Holy cow that looks amazing.

    • dictionar german

    I thought initially that this was a project doomed to failure, then the pictures prove me otherwise. Now I remembered that my mother makes the best cakes in a similar way …

    • Nathalie (spacedlaw-spacedlawyer)

    Shame about the guimauve oursons. I could do with a couple right now.
    And strangely enough, despite my attempt at guessing from your debacle cookie picture, the recipe does not include shrimps. The end result look amazing and probably tastes it too. Pretzels and butterscotch? Heaven. (no bacon?)

    • Katia

    that first photo? i’m licking my screen. really.

    • Blaine

    This looks Great! I can’t wait to try it on my new Silpat Baking Mat. I just purchased it at a fantastic price. No better time than the present to try out a new recipe.

    • Akila

    Hilarious post, David! I am at my mother-in-law’s house right now and she has every junk food known to man here (and probably a box of Bugels stashed away, too). I just might have to make these very soon.

    • The Teacher Cooks

    We talked about you in my class today. First of all, the kids could not believe what you were putting in cookies. I calmed them down! Technique is everything!

    • Louise @ Kitchen Fiddler

    I love it! It’s the cookie equivalent of the Ben & Jerry’s “Everything But The Kitchen Sink” flavor, which happens to be a favorite of mine. This recipe couldn’t have come at a better time. Baking a batch of these cookies will provide a much-needed break from spring-cleaning while at the same time giving me an excellent and yummy reason to clear out the pantry!

    Thanks for putting a big smile on my face with this post.

    • thepastrykook

    now i see where that paunch comes from. haha. kidding. these look sinfully great though

    • nan

    I’m thinking a compost cookie party… kind of like Stone Soup. Or a baby shower activity? Everyone brings half a bag of leftover junk food or candy and we all give these a whirl. Wonder if bourbon would be a good accompaniment? At least if the cookies flopped, the guests wouldn’t care! Of course, the mother to be would have to forgo the booze…

    • Anna

    Hi David,

    Thanks for trying the recipe! After reading about all the miserable failures people were having with the Regis & Kelly version, I decided to try the recipe myself going on the assumption that the author of the recipe scooped the flour with a heavy hand — 5.1 oz per cup or so.

    About the 10 minutes of beating, that was odd but it seemed to work. I assumed (lots of assuming going on since I’m a housewife and not a professional chef) the whipping was to dissolve the sugar? Whatever it did, it worked and didn’t cause spreading. I’d be scared to skip that step.

    I made a half batch and was surprised to find the recipe with the flour adjustments worked perfectly. So I still believe it was a flour issue and that “scoopers” have been luck with the recipe than “spooner/sweepers”.

    One mystery is the oats. The recipe doesn’t call for oats, yet in the ingredients list on Milkbar’s website, they list oats. So if it’s not the flour issue, it could be that whoever wrote this recipe (because something makes me wonder if C. Tosi wrote it or just phoned it in) forgot the oats.

    • Alexis

    Ok, am I the only one who never has any of these things left over?? LOL

    • Paula King

    I did a cheater version of these things this morning before I went to work. I used a packaged chocolate chip cookie mix & crunched pretzels into it, Made them in a bar style. WONDERFUL! And oh, was I popular at work today!

    • Stephanie Manley

    What a fun post. I had not heard of these cookies, I have been dumping random things like this into brownies. I will have to give these a try sometime soon. I have been chilling my cookie dough down for awhile now when I bake cookies. It is hotter than Hades in Houston, and cookies just come out better for me if chill the batter down before baking cookies.

    • Liz

    What an awesome idea!

    I bet you could make cookie crumbs with the ones that didn’t work out so well and coat something in them and pan fry it and make it extra-delicious. French toast maybe?

    • MK

    So what’s the consensus here, then? In the comments here and on the posting on Adam’s blog, there are many, many comments about the cookies spreading out too much and burning.

    Is it because there isn’t enough flour, or because of this whole whipping the butter for 10 minutes? It seems like people are trying to chill the dough long enough, so I don’t know if that’s the issue. It seems like there might just be a problem with the recipe…

    • David

    Stephanie: Thanks, and your cookies look great. It’s interesting that some people have success with her recipe and others don’t.

    MK: Just above, in my previous comment, I linked to a few places where people had success with the recipe. It seems like an odd technique, to whip the butter for so long (which usually causes spreading) and to add a relatively scant amount of flour. But since it works for some people, and not for others, it’s hard to tell the cause.

    Anna: I didn’t see the recipe on their site, but I think adding oats (or oat flour) is a good idea. I think Chef Tosi is writing a cookbook and perhaps when it comes out, there will be another version of the cookie that addresses the variations.

    • Bare Cupboard

    I have something of a cupboard amnesty pretty much every Friday, as I always try and use up at least my fresh food before heading to the market on Saturday. (In fact, that is precisely what my blog is all about.)
    Yesterday I realised that I had a couple of things in my cupboard that had been resident there for far too long – namely a tin of that yummy French chestnut purée and a block of 100% cacao. So I made chocolate chestnut brownies.

    • jake

    I need to give these a try…dried goji berry/jersey milk chocolate/brazil nut/candied ginger/yam chip/mac nut/pepita/stale marshmallow santa frankencookies soundlike a good evening project. All in the name of spring cleaning/purging. Another bugel heyday-era treat for me were bacon daisies…small flower shaped, bacon flavoured corn chip kind of things. bugels are still around in Canada, bacon daisies disappeared in the late 70’s. yummy.


    • rebecca

    I was wondering, do you think the corn syrup adds value to the recipe? I’m going to try the recipe today and have everything BUT the corn syrup. Like you, I am interested in following the recipe to a T, just to see what the results are, so I’m running out to the supermarket now. Then I’m left with a huge bottle… I guess pecan pies are in the near future.

    Love your posts!

    • shira

    Eesh!!! I neglected to read the comments before making these – and I wish that I had. Same problem as everyone else. But when looking at the cookie madness recipe, it’s not only the flour thats different, it’s only one stick of butter versus the AG 2 sticks. Seems like a totally different cookie? Guess I have to go steal some more candy from my kids!!

    • amanda

    Publix! Oh how I miss Publix. If only Skopje had ethnic markets, too….

    • Melanie Heavenly

    What a fabulous idea. Not sure these cookies have made it across the pond yet. I was just considering having a pasta and rice amnesty. Not sure I can make anything with all the bits at the bottom of packets I have in my cupboard.

    • Laura

    I made these Sunday and they came out really really well. I did use a full-sized ice cream scoop, so they are huge. I baked the dough frozen, but did not chill the cookie sheet, which I will try next time. I think they were a tad too soft in the center, so I might add just a touch more flour, but otherwise – spectacular. The long beating of the sugar/eggs really does wonders for the flavor and that tiny sugary give when the cookie is bitten. More salty things next time for sure.
    (The next day I was putting up batches of pizza dough for the freezer, so I made myself an Amnesty Pizza to clear out the old cheese, meats, etc.)

    • mindy

    David, I have been experimenting with this type of cookie for months now. I have lots of little “remnants” from when I cut into my dessert company’s goodies, and being a typical chef who NEVER wants to throw anything away, I just incorporated them into my favorite chocolate chip cookie dough and wa-la! They were great. I have named these cookies something I thought was a little more “sellable” than Compost Cookies. (Garbage Cookies was a suggestion that was tossed.) So, be on the lookout for Kitchen Sink Cookies.


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