The failed cookie experiment I turned into cereal.

I think I’m so smart. I always think I can improve on a recipe–make it healthier, with less sugar because I’m so much wiser than everyone else, and no one has ever thought of this before, right? Every once in a blue moon it turns out, but most of my cooking experiments blow up in my face. I’ve decided to post more of them. Especially the ones I figured out how to save so you might use them too!

I grabbed this recipe off the Quaker Oats oatmeal box for “Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies” and decided to ‘fix’ it.

The original recipe:
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tbsp butter, softened 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp. olive oil and 9 tbsp. milled flaxseed
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar  1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 cup granulated sugar  less than 1/4 cup Stevia extract
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour  whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup raisins 3/4 cup raisins because I didn’t have any more than that.

1. The recipe said heat to 350 degrees. Well, I set it to 375, because everything always cooks at 375. Everyone knows that.

2. The recipe said to beat the butter and sugars on medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. WELL. I asked my husband, “Do you think I really need to do that since I’m not using butter?” He answered no.

3. I added the eggs and vanilla. It said to mix well. (I didn’t.)

4. I added the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, but didn’t mix well this time at all. I had way too much dry and not enough wet, and this was not looking anything like any cookie mix I’d ever seen.

5. I added the oats and raisins and it told me to MIX WELL–AGAIN? By the time I finished “following the directions” the wonderful mess wouldn’t stick and I had oil all over my sleeve. I needed more of a sticking agent, more liquid, maybe? Doesn’t liquid help things stick? So I added another 2 tsp. olive oil and…..a splash of milk and I scrunched it together with my hands.

6. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
“Umm. I think you need to come in here and look at this,” I announced to my man. “Maybe we could eat it as brownies?” I offered putting it in the brownie pan.

7. I baked them 10 minutes–just like it said, and when I pulled them out of the oven, they were a crumbly, cinnamon, but yummy…mess that looked more like baked granola!

See my reflection in the spoon? I just had a Polishmomphotographer moment!

“Cereal!” My husband exclaimed. “We could eat it as cereal and just add milk.”

Cookies and milk. Cereal and milk.

I leaned in to kiss him. “You’re a genius!” The love of my life ate failed cookies for breakfast the next morning as homemade cereal and reported back it tasted “great!” He even asked me to make more of it when he ran out. How bout’ them apples?

Thinking outside the box, huh? Oh yeah. The Quaker Oats oatmeal box.  ha! ha! :)

Please tell me I’m not the only one. Let’s hear some of your “failed” kitchen experiments. Were you able to save any of them and still eat them— able to claim zero waste by not chucking them out?

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32 responses to “The failed cookie experiment I turned into cereal.

  1. that’s genius; I love your style. I’ve resurrected many a disaster in a similar way. Always have on hand jam and cream for rescuing anything LOL!

  2. Having animals is great in this respect as there is no waste. Dogs eat most things…then there’s the goats and the donkey. You’d be surprised at what they will nibble on. Our neighbours even bring their stale bread for our animals.

  3. I think that you are very brave being an experimental cook..I have enough trouble following a recipe, and even those go wrong….

    so carry on trying and one day you might even become famous as the person who made the calorie free thick chocolate digestive biscuit..whooa!

  4. goo-goo-cookie…it takes a man with a sense of humor to taste the experimental culinary art..
    much of what passes as contemporary art was the result of such experimentation..and it is appreciated by many..
    look at the things the great chefs put on restaurant plates, you’ll identify your creations in their success. maybe that how the palates are educated over time? you are an innovator–never fails.

  5. Thanks for the encouragement, you two!
    Mr. Green–Cream and jam can fix anything, huh? I’ll have to keep that in mind.
    Misswhiplash–The calorie-free, thick chocolate digestive biscuit—whooa indeed!

  6. You know, I don’t know why Americans say: “It’s American like an apple pie”. It should be “as “chocolate chips oatmeal cookies”. Apple pie was much before America was discovered but I am not sure if I can say the same about oatmeal cookies.
    So, when I’ve decided to bake my first American cookies ever that was a dissaster. I baked them for about 30 minutes because “they were soft every time I touched them”. I have some crappy recipe that didn’t say they should be that way. So I baked them and baked them and then baked them a little more. We ended up with rock-like HUGE cookies that look ok at the first glance but they didn’t want to come out of the baking sheets.
    There is an album on my fb “My cookies short life story” – these are those cookies. They weren’t with oatmeal just peanut butter and nuts from what I remember and we would break all our teeth if we tried to eat them or what was left after I spent the next our trying to get them out of the baking sheet.
    But my husband was really encouraging as well. He said that they smelled and looked nice and that they actually might have been good at some point. I felt terrible.

  7. Lol- it does look like tasty granola- you can just pretend you meant to do that! ;) I don’t like to follow recipes either, probably just because I don’t like to be told what to do! haha Asian stir-fry and soups are my specialty and luckily those you can change it a lot and not really follow directions and it pretty much turns out no matter what- so those are my go to. Then again my family will never let me forget how I messed up Easy Mac….like 3 times…yeah. Not as easy as it looks! hahaha ;p

  8. Beth, yeah, yeah, it was granola! :D
    I think you hit the nail on the head. We don’t like following recipes because we don’t like being told what to do. “Forget that! I’ll figure it out myself!”
    Easy Mac, huh? :D LOL!

    • Yep, I don’t need no recipe, I can do it myself! ;) hehe Seriously, Asian stir-fry- I just go to the store, buy the meat and veggies that sound good at the time and throw it together and make it up as I go- surprisingly works out almost always. I got some help, my ex-fiance’s brother-in-law owned a restaurant when they lived in Cambodia, and he was an amazing cook! I definitely spent time trying to recreate his recipes- and he did the “just put some of this, little of that”- no measurements, just all in his head. Mmm…now I am craving some Cambodian food just thinking about it!

      And, yes. Easy Mac- I am reminded of it constantly! I can’t remember how all I messed it up, but usually stupid things like not reading the directions and dumping the cheese powder in before you microwave it and not measuring the water and making it all gross, or maybe it was setting the microwave for 30 mins instead of 3…one time I lit a potato on fire in the microwave that way! lol Although, my friend recently made us some at her house and messed it up with way too much water and made soup, so then I felt better because I’m not the only one who messed up Easy Mac! hahaha! Somehow, it’s always the really simple cooking that I mess up, but complicated recipes for me are much easier- don’t know why?!

      • @ Beth–Easy Mac soup. If she called it that you would have never known she messed it up!
        So, if I have some cut up steak, a few carrots and turnips, how could I make it into a killer Cambodian stir fry? Just tell me what to add. I’ll do the rest!

      • Mine are all pretty similar- but the big ingredient is fish sauce- that one is definitely an acquired taste, but I LOVE it. It smells horrible (honestly kind of like feet), my sister is always afraid to eat the stuff I make because she can’t even stand the smell. It will give it that characteristically Southeast Asian flavor though. Then always garlic and onions sauteed before you throw in the veggies, then meat (I like to use beef and keep it rare so I put it at the end- you can put it first if you like it well done). I also put some oyster sauce (or maybe a lot), a little soy sauce, sometimes hoison for some sweetness and I just really like it. I really like it with tomatoes because the juice adds a lot of sauce which I like to pour onto my rice. Lets see…and a sprinkle of black pepper usually. And always after it is done cooking I squeeze some fresh lime juice on it after you take it off the heat. Oh and I shake up a little water and corn starch to thicken the sauce at the end. I don’t know how “authentic” my versions are- but they are tasty! :)

        Also, they have this dip to go with almost everything- it’s a mix of fish sauce, fresh lime juice, chopped garlic, and a touch of sugar- one of my favorites. Or really good for dipping steak- just lime juice, salt, and pepper- my ex-fiance thought lime, pepper, and salt were a perfect combo for pretty much anything. If you asked him how to cook stuff- he just said you need lime salt and pepper- for fish, for beef, for chicken, for ice cream…yeah, he probably would actually eat that. lol

  9. @ Mom Photographer—will try that recipe out next time. Because mine…didn’t work!

  10. My most creative moments are born of kitchen errors, but I cover my tracks by making it look intentional. Great writing. Reads like a comedy sketch.

  11. Well, the cabbage rolls were a flop – they didn’t roll and didn’t stick together and tasted bland – as for cookies – what went wrong with this recipe, IMO – besides not mixing properly (tut tut you lazy thing) was substituting the brown sugar – for Splenda – you’d be better off using half brown sugar and half honey or syrup of some sort. possibly molasses – though you’d need to be careful about quantity because of the flavor. so maybe 1/3 molasses, 1/3 honey and 1/3 sugar – of course the molasses will overpower the honey so you may want to leave the honey out and just go for more molasses and have a darker cookie.
    The sugar sticks things together when it gets wet (mixing) and melts (cooking) …sugar is sticky…very very sticky.

    • @ Alison–aha! It was the sugar I needed for the sticking agent. NOT liquid! Even as I poured it in, I thought, maybe I should have just added another egg. I was so off! (And I probably should have mixed more, but the consistency never changed. I thought, maybe the flax seed was killing it.)

      @ Jittery Cook—I’m so glad it came off funny! That’s what I wanted! :D

  12. Your cooking experiment pretty much describes me any time I try to cook anything. I have a tendency of substituting ingredients for first-time recipes. Legend lives on with the Lemon Soup experiment and the Horseradish-base meat recipe.

  13. @ Beth–thanks for the recipe. I’m still on the fence about the fish sauce, but I can’t say no until I’ve tried it…

    @Celestialgiraffe—I could just hug you! I have never liked to cook. This whole experience only entered the picture when I got married 2 and 1/2 years ago. I feel like a baby learning to walk! It is, however, much more fun than I thought it was going to be. But I fall down all the time. Lucky me. I have a husband who will eat whatever I cook. If he were picky, I do believe we’d starve! LOL!

  14. This week I decided to grind my own oat flour and use it to replace the all purpose in some chocolate chip cookies (not tollhouse – these are decadently delicious, normally…) They were edible, but I managed to make a chocolate chip cookie that tasted like it came from bag – which we think is entirely unacceptable.

    Interesting tidbit – I have a chocolate chip package from my grandmother – the toll house cookie recipe was originally a teaspoon of dough per cookie and made 72 cookies! Could you imagine getting your one cookie for an afternoon snack after school?

    As far as your cookies, I think you’re right – they need the viscosity from the sugar – replacing some of the sugar with honey would have helped.

    • Thanks Frugal Hausfrau!
      Honey instead of more milk! ha! WHAT was I thinking? Yes, that would make it stick.
      And I like your oat flour idea. So, you say they were edible? I might have to give it a try!!

  15. *Laughs!* Edible, but not great.

    • In case you’re wondering, the cookies were a little drier than if I’d used flour, and heavier – I’d say “sturdy” would describe them, and they were a bit gritty because homemade oat flour isn’t very fine. Next time I might use 1/2 oat flour and 1/2 regular. If you try grinding the oat into flour, you have to let it go in the foodprocessor for a few minutes, pulsing now and then.

      • Frugal Hausfrau, A sturdy cookie. That made me laugh. Your experiment sounds like mine! I love it! Keep it up. We’re going to come up with an amazing discovery one of these days and go down in the books! ha!

    • @ Frugal Hausfrau–you’re so cute. You remind me of myself in the kitchen. I use the word “edible” all the time!! :)

      • Coming back to the party late, Jennifer! You’d love my brother then – he says food doesn’t have to taste good to eat, it only has to be good for you! *g* He was the picky one when we were growing up…

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  18. What a great site and I just love this recipe and the way your mind works!

  19. @ Frugal Hausfrau–I too was the picky eater growing up. Must be something about that…..your brother sounds like my kind of cook! ha!

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