Week 1- Chili and Cornflake Crunch Cookies

Meet the contenders

  • Beef and Beer Chili
  • Momofuku Milk Bar’s Cornflake Crunch Cookies 

The Chili (recipe from Bon Appetit)

Cook time: 5 hours (most of that was just on the stove)
Rating: A big ol’ wooden spoon
In three words: Beefy, smoky,  cozy (like if a snuggie were a food, this would be it)

What we liked: All of the above. Eating this chili was like diving into a warm and comforting bowl of warmth and comfort. Really. The smokiness of the chipotles (we doubled the recommended amount) and the richness of the beef and stout made this a dish ideally suited to a freezing cold winter day. Even though we made it in November, we didn’t quite have that ideal chili-eating weather, but it was still delicious.

After an unfortunate beer disaster which cost us a delicious looking Belgian stout, we ended up using New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk Ale in the chili. It had a rich caramelly thickness to it that went nicely in the chili, so we’ll say that it was fate that led us to use that beer. We also let it simmer for way longer than recommended in the recipe (4 hours, to be specific), which made it even more delicious (as frequent taste tests during the cooking process proved).

Topping the chili with freshly grated sharp cheddar, green onions, and a dollop of sour cream not only provided balance to the meatiness of the chili but also aesthetically completed the meal.

What we didn’t: It was a little oily, and while it was plenty flavorful, it could have been a little spicier.  This is no fault of the chili, but our accompanying cornbread was not quite up to par. We searched and searched at Whole Foods (which, according to one patron, “has everything, even the really obscure stuff like coconut milk”), but weren’t able to find either corn meal or canned cream corn, so we were stuck with a mix which wasn’t great. And while the chili was delicious straight from the pot, after a day of sitting the flavors were able to continue developing and the chili thickened a little more. It definitely makes great leftovers. Another big FYI–we halved the recipe, and still had enough food to feed 5 for dinner, with more than a week’s work of leftovers for two people. A whole pot of this chili would probably last all winter, if not longer.

The Cookies (recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook)

Cook time: Long story. We baked 5 to a batch (because of the spreading) so it took quite a while to bake the full batch of 24-or-so cookies. 
Rating: 1,000 cookie cutters. (We love the ninjabread men.)
In three words:
Butter, butter, mo’ butter.

What we liked: Oh man. These cookies are buttery. Like super buttery. They’re made up of “standard” (i.e. extra buttery, but otherwise normal) chocolate chip cookie dough, plus mini marshmallows (!!!) and “cornflake crunch” (cornflakes, tossed in butter, and baked until crunchy). Nothing about these cookies doesn’t sound like the best thing ever. They are decadent, though, and, as one would expect, sweet. But not too sweet, unless you plan on eating more than one cookie…which is almost impossible to resist.

It’s easy to point out the “bad” parts of these cookies (nothing about them is even close to bad in the true sense of the word), and a little more difficult to describe just how delicious they are, straight out of the oven, with the gooey marshmallows, the melty chocolate chips, and the crispy cornflakes all coming together in a near heavenly cookie mouthful. You’ll have to try it for yourself to really understand how good these are.  They are everything you could want in a cookie–sweet, chocolatey, crunchy, crispy, soft, chewy, gooey, buttery, salty, sinful.

What we didn’t: These cookies were almost too buttery (if that’s possible). Because of all the butter in the recipe, they spread a ton in the oven, so we recommend spacing them far apart on a cookie sheet when baking and doing it in small batches. You could probably even cut some of the butter and play around with cooking time/temp.  The best batches we made resulted in chewy, golden, discs that managed to retain some form and thickness, while our less successful rounds produced something akin to when Alex Mack melts into a puddle of sorts (imagine that hardening into a more crispy flat state).  We also used salted butter and added salt, which (because of all the butter in this recipe) made them a little salty (although it did cut through the sweetness nicely).

Results

All in all, it was a successful week 1, and we can’t wait to see what we come up with next, because based on this week’s results alone, it’s going to be insanely delicious. Next week, we’ll see how the chili and the cookies fare against their first round competitors, Southwest pulled brisket and S’mores cookies!

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