the making of cornflake pudge
If you ever had the pleasure of visiting SF’s Mr. Holmes’ Bakehouse (closed in 2020), I hope you tried the cornflake cookie. They were famous for the Cruffin, but to me and my sister in law, their cornflake cookie was our favorite cookie — maybe of all time. It was crispy, chewy, sweet, salty, complex! The texture! The flavor! The lingering notes! We still dream of it.
Needless to say, I’ve tried to replicate that cookie a few times and failed repeatedly.
Here’s how my 2021 tests went:
- Not enough spread: If you pack a cookie with chunky additions, you inhibit its spread. This can be problematic if the cookie becomes too tall or doesn't look the way you want it.
- Sorely lacking a secondary savory element (not just in terms of salt, but flavor)
- Not the right amount of moisture
- If nothing else, I LOVED making cornflake crunch for this flavor. Created by Christina Tosi, it is the best way to make cereal ultra addictive. I eat it by the handful, or sometimes as cereal. Sadly, cornflake crunch alone is not the key to a phenomenal sweet-salty cookie.
The Mr. Holmes’ cookie was a large bakery size - probably clocking in at 2-3 ounces but wide. The issues I had with replicating the flavor were too substantial at the time so I put it on the backburner.
The more I dreamt of this cookie, I knew I couldn’t beat the taste of nostalgia. This year I decided to turn it into a pudge. A major benefit of the pudge format is that we don't need to achieve as much spread as a standard cookie, and therefore aren’t forced to use a high proportion of white sugar. Without that constraint, it's easier to bring the savory notes forward.
It had been about a year since I last attempted this flavor, and I was simultaneously tinkering with campfire pudge 2.0. Some of the campfire pudge learnings came into play for Cornflake pudge. In a few versions, I managed to boost the complexity of cornflake pudge and find a good savory element without overshadowing the other nuances of the cookie. I can't really dive into detail deeper without revealing secrets. However, I can say that this is a cookie where technique is more important than the ingredients.
There has been a lot of cross-pollination in the learnings between cookies this year, so I've been able to update a good number of the recipes that I created last year. I'm so thrilled to further my recipe development journey.
If you try cornflake pudge, I hope you’ll enjoy it! It isn’t for everyone - but if you’re a little adventurous and like something that toes the line between sweet & savory, this one’s for you.