What exactly is an adventurous cookie?

Because I happened across this contest. Too bad I didn’t find out about this earlier, but there’s still almost a month to go, so there’s time to develop some great entries!

This contest is offered by Scharffen Berger and entries must be sandwich cookies that include Scharffen Berger chocolate plus one or another of twelve “adventure” ingredients. The “adventure ingredients” include coconut milk or coconut cream, sweet potato, tapioca or tapioca flour, tequila, banana, chili pepper, pine nuts, cornmeal, Sumatra coffee, fresh ginger, yerba mate (which I’d never heard of but turns out to be the dried leaves of a tropical holly (Ilex paraguariensis), which are used as a tea), and cacao nibs.

So, doesn’t that sound like fun? In the first round, cookies are judged equally on “showing creativity and a spirit of adventure”, use of chocolate, taste, and ease of preparation.

In the final round, cookies are judged more heavily according to whether they show creativity and “a spirit of adventure” and taste, less heavily according to ease of prep and overall appearance.

Creativity I get, but “a spirit of adventure”? What could that be?

You’ll notice that all the “adventure” ingredients are tropical. I’ve got some cookies in mind to enter, and I’m tempted to give all my entries names like “Mayan End of the World Dark Chocolate Cookies”. Don’t you think that might earn the cookies points for adventurousness?

I’ve never entered a baking contest before! I’m kind of excited about this one, though, and spent several hours last night playing around with recipes. So far the cookies I have in mind include pine nuts, coconut milk, fresh ginger, chili, and sweet potatoes. (Not all in the same cookie!) I’m pretty sure I will not be using any of the other “adventure” ingredients, though coffee would be easy to add to a chocolate cookie, so maybe.

I need to try out some of the recipes I have in mind. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to find willing tasters! If they turn out great, I’ll post the recipes. If I manage to develop a winning recipe, hey, I’ll definitely post that recipe here!

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2 thoughts on “What exactly is an adventurous cookie?”

  1. Interesting list of ‘adventure’ ingredients – which aren’t solely tropical, surely? Sweet potatoes? Pine nuts? And some of the best peppers come from New Mexico. Maybe tropical in origin, but can grow elsewhere.

    I’ve got to say my immediate response is ‘why ruin good chocolate with weird ingredients?’ Recently had an encounter with a gourmet chocolate candy – a gift box – which used, probably really good ingredients and the chocolate part itself was quite good. But flavoring with genuine mint didn’t work. Way too strong as well as just tasting WRONG. So strong it took a while to figure out what the flavor was.

    So if I were to try (which I’m not) I’d use one of the milder items up there: pine nuts, tapioca flour, sweet potato… Never tried yerba mate, although I’ve seen it in the tea sections in ‘organic’ markets like Whole Foods. surely it’s not just a California thing?

    How to put in a spirit of adventure, when the type of pastry is specified is a puzzlement. good luck with your entry!

    I’ve now read Stiefvater’s RAVEN BOYS. It was rather easy to put down, and the mcguffin completely threw me out of the story whenever it came up, and IMO it did not end on a cliffhanger. Characterizations were excellent. Rating, pending sequels: middling. Not nearly as good as SCORPIO RACES. May be retroactively improved depending on sequels.

  2. Coconut milk is my pick for an ingredient that will complement good chocolate. I’m very happy with my first cookie entry (you can enter 10 recipes, and I probably will), which uses coconut milk in place of cream. I didn’t want to really bring out the coconut, so I didn’t do anything like add coconut extract, and in my opinion you can’t tell the coconut milk is even in there — but it is.

    I don’t ordinarily like to combine cinnamon with chocolate, or ginger with chocolate, but I know a lot of people are happy with things like that. I am in fact going to submit a recipe that uses ginger — made it yesterday, and I guessed right the first time about the proportions of ingredients for the cookie, but the filling is too thin, so I need to fiddle with that before I send in the recipe.

    Pine nuts are not my favorite; I’d almost always rather use walnuts — I always do in things like pesto. But I think orange goes with both pine nuts and chocolate, so I’m trying out that combination in a couple of recipes.

    Pine nuts do seem weird to me as a “tropical” ingredient. Why not Brazil nuts? Or macadamias? Not that there aren’t pine trees in dry regions of Mexico, so maybe that’s what they had in mind.

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