I’ve always loved to bake, but I’m excited that last weekend, I invented a recipe on the fly.
Two hours before an event, I was planning on running into CVS to buy chips or cookies, sad that I didn’t have time to bake anything like I usually do. But then I looked in the refrigerator section and saw the ready-made cookie dough and I had a spark of inspiration.
I could make cookies! Or, better yet, cookie bars! Better yet, I can add candy to the cookie bars! Why not Rolos and Reese’s Pieces?
I did, and it turned out amazing (probably could have baked for a minute or two longer in the oven, but hey, you can’t win them all). I’m here to tell all of you, dear readers, that it’s fun to make up your own recipes — even when you have a bit more than two hours until show time.
How to Invent Your Own Recipe
1) Gather ingredients that fit your mood of the day. For me, that day, I wanted cookies, caramel, and peanut butter, and I was praying that those flavors would taste good together.
2) Take a really wild guess on how much to buy. Two cylindrical things of cookie dough just didn’t seem like enough; three just felt right. Each “thing” of dough (that’s a technical term here) served about 15 people, so I figured cookie dough for 45 was about enough. For the candy, I guessed that one bag of Reese’s Pieces would do, and one bag of Rolos would be more than enough (and I could keep the extras for snacks).
3) Base your recipe off another recipe. A few months ago, my mom’s friend Marcy gave me a recipe for chocolate chip fudge bars. The basic concept of the recipe was that you line the pan with a little more than half the cookie dough, then pour your fudge over the dough, and then top with globs of cookie dough. In my version, instead of a fudge center, I lined my cookie dough with the Reese’s Pieces and some sporadic Rolos. The cookie dough baking time for cookies was 10-12 minutes, but Marcy’s recipe for cookie bars called for 25 minutes of baking; so, I used her baking time as a guide.
4) Remind your friends that the prettier the baked good, the worse it tastes. It’s true! Have you ever had the cakes in the display cases at diners? They look amazing, but when you eat that beautiful slice of chocolate cake, you realize you should have stuck with a vanilla milkshake. The converse to my rule is even truer: When you’re served a messy dessert, it will usually taste amazing. So even if your cookies break apart or your cake is mushy, grab a fork and a napkin and dig in anyway.
5) Have a backup plan in case of failure. You probably won’t fail. But in case your pie catches on fire or you added sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk (it can happen to the best of us), have a couple packages of Fig Newtons nearby.
So, let’s all start making up great recipes based on whatever is on sale in the candy aisle. And get excited — if any of you find yourself near my apartment the day I experiment making Junior Mint Brownies (they’re going to be great!), you’ll be in luck.