The In-Flight Snack Cookie

Just in case you haven't noticed, I've been on a bit of a blog hiatus this summer. In my defense, I've been traveling all over the place (Italy, Greece, Turkey, Amsterdam, New York, Houston). Seriously, I just unpacked my suitcase for the first time since I packed it. ....in May. I'm not one for excuses, but at least I haven't been wasting my summer away laying in my bed for days. Actually scratch that, I've been doing that too. Oops? 

All that aside, I am so happy to finally share a new recipe with y'all! I really can't believe it's been a whole two months since my last dessert post. (Don't worry, that doesn't mean I wasn't eating dessert. I definitely did that.) After I came home from my amazing two weeks traveling throughout Europe, I was plagued with chronic baking fail syndrome. No really, it was tragic. I made about six different desserts in a two week span and EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. was an absolute fail. S'mores baklava — sounds great in theory, right? The oven disagreed on that one when it turned into a bubbly mess of burnt sugar and melted chocolate. Lemon Lavender Cake? Tasted great, but it slid right off the cake stand and crashed face-first into my stovetop. I felt hopeless. 

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Ever since I was a child, I have had a strange fascination with airlines and air travel. I kid you not, it was my childhood dream to be a flight attendant. This was due mainly in part to my obsessive viewing of View From the Top, that really terrible Gwenyth Paltrow movie that is definitely one of my guiltiest pleasures. While most kids my age collected Pokemon cards, I collected airline safety cards — yes, those safety information cards that you never look at in the back of the seatback pocket that your legs crammed next to. Why? I have no idea, but I still have over 100 from dozens of airlines from around the world. Disclaimer: I was a really weird child. 

Right about when I memorized the IATA codes for just about every airport worldwide (surely a normal goal for any fourth grader), I discovered AirlineMeals.net, a website devoted to nothing but — you guessed it — airline meals. Seriously, this website is one of the most oddly fascinating things ever. I have spent countless hours going up and down the airline index and looking at the variations between the meals that they serve. Confession: 12 year old Graham submitted quite a few photos himself. 

It should come as no surprise that I love flying. Considering all of the traveling I have been doing this summer, I've had my fare share of interesting flight experiences. My Air France flight from New York to Paris was marked by me eating everything in sight, like neverending warm baguettes and a small mountain of Valrhona chocolate. Amsterdam to Paris had a mid-flight macaron service, despite only being 50 minutes long. Paris to Chicago? Totally wasted my lie flat bed to read all of The Fault In Our Stars in 4 hours. Luckily, I had a blanket to sop up the tears that were violently streaming down my face throughout the book's entirety. (Okay?) 

On my final flight of the summer, a late-night jetBlue flight from New York to New Orleans, I came up with the concept for these cookies. As the flight attendant approached me with a huge basket of snack options, I was left dumbfounded. Seriously, how was I supposed to choose between blue potato chips, pretzels, or animal crackers? (Hint: I didn't.) 

After tearing through the three bags of pressurized snacks, I suddenly came up with the genius idea to bake a cookie inspired by traditional airplane snacks: peanuts, pretzels, potato chips, and biscoff cookies. Think Momofuku Compost Cookie at 38,000 feet. 

Once I got home from my trip, I baked these immediately. One bite in and I knew they were an instant hit. The combination of sweet and salty, crispy edges and gooey middles, little bites of crunchy Biscoff crust, the faint tastes of coffee and butterscotch — definitely better than anything I've ever had on an airplane. 

The In-Flight Snack Cookie 

makes about 20 cookies

adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar.

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons glucose
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts 
  • 1/2 recipe (about 1 cup) Biscoff crust (recipe below)
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp ground coffee
  • 2 cups potato chips (if you can find Terra Blues, snatch 'em immediately)
  • 1 cup mini pretzels

1. Combine the butter, sugars, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes. 

2. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl.

3. Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch, peanuts, Biscoff crust, oats, and ground coffee and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the potato chips and pretzels and paddle, still on low speed, until just incorporated. Be careful not to over mix or break too many of the pretzels or potato chips. (You deserve a pat on your back if one of your cookies bakes off with a whole pretzel standing up in the center.)

4. Using a 2-3/4 oz. ice cream scoop or a 1/3 cup measure, portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookies flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies at room temperature. 

5. Heat the oven to 375 F.

6. Bake the dough for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. 

7. Cool the cookies and enjoy.

Biscoff Cookie Crust

makes about 2 cups

  • 1 1/2 cups Biscoff cookie crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tbs butter, melted, or as needed
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Toss the Biscoff cookie crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients.

2. Whisk the butter and heavy cream together. add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. the butter will act as glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. the mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. if it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 1 to 1½ tablespoons butter and mix it in.

3. Eat immediately, or deploy as directed in a recipe. the crust is easiest to mold just after mixing. stored in an airtight container, graham crust will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or for 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

Graham Blackall, World Traveler.

I have a confession to make: I haven't baked in almost a month. 

For me to do such a thing is unheard of. It sounds pathetic, but to think that my fingers haven't touched the preheat button on an oven for such and extended period of time sends me into a bit of a panic myself. Such a shocking circumstance could only be a product of one of three scenarios:

1) A zombie apocalypse has ravaged the small town of Covington, Louisiana. 

2) My most cherished possession — my beautiful, huge new KitchenAid mixer that I still have yet to name (any ideas?) — was stolen, burst into flames, or walked out on me when she found out that sometimes I cheat on her with my ex-mixer. (Hey, making small batches of cookies in a 6 quart bowl results in lots of butter-sugar residue getting stuck in the bottom of the bowl. You can't blame me!)

3) I've spent that time galavanting through Europe on a life-changing trip full of memory making, relaxing, donkey riding, shopping, and eating my body weight in bread alone. 

Luckily, it was the latter. 

Original plans had me boarding my Air France flight with laptop in tow so I could share each and every moment with you guys via thrice-weekly travel diary updates. I even had a schedule! But shit happens. Namely, that shit being you deciding that carrying a laptop and camera bag in addition to a rolling carry-on and the inevitable bag full of airport purchases — did you know they still have crispy M&M's in Europe? Neither did I, but my pantry does very well now — is just too much of a hassle. So I left it, and opted to go the Instagram route for the duration of my trip, giving me ample time to truly savor each and every moment. Sorry not sorry. 

Instead, I'll give you the highlights of my amazing trip ex post facto:

1. Flying Air France business class, also known as the land of endless champagne, Valrhona chocolates, macarons, and warm mini baguettes. Given my strange childhood obsession with A View from the Top and the subsequent urge to become a flight attendant, this was like bucket-list level for me. Seriously, how I am I going to go back to economy after this? #firstworldproblems

2. Selfie-ing in front of the Trevi Fountain, because I really didn't like a single thing about Rome. Oops? Sorry, but I really just don't get off on history. Gelato, on the other hand...

3. Riding donkeys and getting a fish pedicure in Santorini, because I'm totally a Kardashian. 

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4. Having a traditional Turkish bath and the most amazing rooftop dinner in Istanbul, the most foreign and crazy-ancient-yet-weirdly-modern city I've ever been to. 

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5. Beach hopping and exploring an abandoned lighthouse on the top of the world in Mykonos. 

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6. Ditching touring the Acropolis for more important things, like you know, froyo.  

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7. The Amalfi Coast. No explanation needed. 

8. Binge eating pizza napoletana at Da Michele in Naples. This changed my life for the better. No really, this was the best pizza I've ever eaten; and trust me, I've eaten a lot of pizza. 

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9. Having a traditional Dutch-Indonesian rijsttafel. Hands down, the best meal of my life. 

10. Falling head over heels in love with Amsterdam. From biking through De 9 Straatjes, visiting the mind-blowing Anne Frank House, visiting the Van Gogh Museum, shopping at de Bijenkorf, gorging on stroopwaffels and french fries, going from one cute cafe to the next one, I immediately felt a deep connection with this amazing city. Now I'm researching how I get back there immediately, because it's the best place I've ever been. 

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Alas, I have (unfortunately) returned from my trip. (Cue the sad face emojis. In particular, the one that looks like it's having a debilitating mental breakdown. This one.) As if the separation anxiety I'm feeling wasn't enough torture, I have still yet to adjust to the disappearance of surplus of attractive people, my inability to legally drink alcohol, or you know, sleep. Thanks, jet lag.

Brb, I have to mend together my currently-fragile relationship with nameless mixer. Lots of vacation-themed recipes are coming your way. 

Get ready :) 

Swirled White Chocolate + Nutella Brownies

Remember the White Chocolate Nutella that I totally fangirled over last week? Well, I hope so, because it was quite the moment. At first taste (smell & sight too), I knew that my spreadable concoction would become the base for many many delicious desserts. Immediately after making my homemade Nutella, I went to work with my stand mixer. I'm certain that there will be plenty of white chocolate hazelnut recipes in the future, but let's start with this one. If you're more of a regular Nutella fan, no fear! This recipe is the best of both world. Because there's nothing better than coupling white chocolate Nutella with straight up, regular Nutella. 

The swirled brownies came from one of my favorite recipes for fudgy and super moist Nutella brownies. This go around, I cut the recipe in half and mixed one bowl with regular Nutella and the other with my white chocolate version. Um, best decision ever? I think yes. 

These brownies are legit.  Like crazy delicious eat-the-whole-pan legit. For real —  these are a gift sent straight from the Nutella gods. I'm just imagining a group of Roman gods slowly churning away at a giant batch of Nutella. They'd be proud. For sure. 


Nutella Batter

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flour

White Chocolate Batter

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1/4 cup White Chocolate Nutella
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x13 baking dish. 

  1. In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Once melted, stir in sugar. Cooking the mixture for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  2. Remove from heat and stir in Nutella until smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the eggs, vanilla, salt, baking powder, cocoa powder, and flour. 
  4. Pour in the butter mixture and mix until smooth. 
  5. Set aside.

Repeat steps 1-5 with the white chocolate batter. 

Dollop spoonfuls of each batter into the prepared pan. Swirl them together gently. Add any extra Nutella/White Chocolate Nutella and swirl into top. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool and serve. 

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