Beth published this recipe a while ago and since then I have printed it down and thought about it a surprising amount. The name seemed so authentic and the recipe seemed so American, I felt that they must be the original cookies that Americans dream of, that they were, if you will the “cookies d’antan” (free pretention available here) and I wanted them. The biscuit aisle in the supermarket held no allure for me, I wanted Grandma Lucille’s monster cookies.
I emailed Beth. What is Karo? Corn syrup came the speedy reply. I was no wiser. What is corn syrup? Amazingly, Mr. Waffle found a bottle of Karo in the weird foreign products aisle of the supermarket nestling between cans of Spanish squid and British marmite. Incidentally, the recipe calls for a teaspoonful, so if anyone has suggestions of what to do with a pint of Karo, less a teaspoon, I would be grateful.
Most of the remaining measurements were in cups. I don’t know how much a cup is. I have generally used English recipe books before and, aside from Nigella Lawson, the quantities are always tiny. Nigel Slater is the kind of cook who would confidently suggest that a baked potato topped with cheese would make a nourishing meal for a starving family of four. I say this, so that you can understand where I am coming from.
So I got together my ingredients. A cup is 250 mls, it transpires. Dear God, that is a lot. There was more peanut butter in this recipe than was in the jar we bought in the supermarket. As I started measuring out my quick cooking oatmeal (4 and a half cups and, my sister told me that I had to use regular porridge and ready brek would not do) I realised that, if I continued at this rate our entire stock of porridge would be used up and our children would have to go hungry for the week. So I settled at three cups. A stick of margarine. How much is a bloody stick? Further call to sister in Chicago. 110 grams, in case you ever need to know.
My feeble European mixer (free with supermarket points) whined alarmingly as I tried to beat my thick paste thoroughly. As it began to squeal in pain, I decided enough was enough. I looked at my baking tray and I looked at the enormous mass of cookie dough. I put some out on the tray. I got another tray and another. I filled my whole oven with cookies. 15 minutes later I had 3 large cookie cakes; they spread and two tablespoons of baking powder is a lot. I wish my sister had told me before I started that the standard batch in American cookies is 4 dozen. 48 cookies, people. However, I confirm that despite a lack of peanut butter, mixing and porridge they are indeed the ‘cookies d’antan’. Should you wish to create your own cookies, may I direct you here.
Haven’t the foggiest what cookies d’antan means, poor ignorant American I. However, should the need arise I would be happy to send you some monster cookies as I have a quart of peanut butter in my pantry (946 ml, I looked it up). Also, most cookie recipes are 6 dozen (which thank goodness does not convert to metric), so this one is really a bit skimpy.
Tiger Lamb Girl says
I’m American – living in UK (having lived in the Middle East for years) – and I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) to adapt many of my recipes to whatever I can find locally.
I substitute Golden Syrup in every recipe that calls for Karo syrup. Golden Syrup does the trick nicely;) and has never failed me once.
You can use the rest of the Karo syrup as you would Golden Syrup.
I would suggest Pecan Pie. It’s gorgeous — similar to the pecan tarts I find in England, but it’s a pie (deeper)! Serve with fresh whipped cream (unsweetened). Oh, and use real butter when making the pie.
An American ‘cup’ is the 8oz mark on a measuring jug/cup. If that’s any help.
Ooh, those sound good. Now I have them bookmarked and I’m sure I’ll spend a lot of time thinking about them too. When I’m dieting (as I often am) I bookmark dozens of recipes to make “later”. . .”when I’m not dieting.” Ha ha ha. But I do cook when I have guests, so these will go on the list of things to make, right after the Barefoot Contessa’s “outrageous brownies.” Been wanting to make those for a while now.
By the way, do you use cane syrup? I’ve used it for an Australian cookie recipe and I got the impression that it’s common in the UK as well–I had to go to a British specialty store to find it. Anyway, corn syrup (Karo) is basically interchangeable with cane syrup, as far as I can tell. Cane syrup is slightly more sticky and has a more complex flavor, but I would venture to say that Karo would be a fine substitution if you do any baking that calls for cane syrup. Of course, the most American way I can think of using Karo syrup is in a “snack mix” made out of Chex cereal, but I don’t suppose you want to go searching for another American ingredient to use up the syrup. Let me know if you do, though–I’ll send you the recipe! 🙂
here’s a useful website: http://www.onlineconversion.com/
Now you know why they’re called MONSTER cookies. Because they invade. Maybe they should be called Alien Cookies. Believe it or not, I used to eat a monster cookie and a lowfat(!) yogurt every day for lunch in high school. Thank heaven for that peanut butter or I probably would have died of malnutrition.
I was going to suggest pecan pie, too, but I see another has preceded me! And then you will need to start doing a Scarlett O’Hara impression, as pecan pie is quite the fixture of the American South and is probably responsible for the accents and everything else.
Ha – too funny. I googled pecan pie recipe and the Karo Syrup website comes up – they have a lot of suggestions for how to use it: http://www.karosyrup.com/pecanPie.asp
I love fudge pecan pie even more than regualar pecan pie. I actually don’t make it much, because I can buy it cheaper and better! Hope that helps.
Um, let’s just suppose for one second that I don’t like pecan pie….I know, we foreigners are just plain weird.
My grandmother made the most wonderful cookies They were always soft and I remember as a little girl she said putting in some Karo syrup made the cookies soft. SHe is gone now and at the time I was just a kid and it kind of went in on ear and out the other but now I am longing to know how much she used and she used Karo syrup in every cookie recipe . You say one teaspoon in your recipe I thank you so much I will try ti God Bless
Sonja Woolford says
Interesting, thank you! I spent my childhood in Yorkshire in the UK, and I’ve been trying to find a recipe for this delicious pie I remember eating all the time, but can’t remember what we called it!!! Do you know a famous pie recipe from Yorkshire?
Sorry Sonja, I am a broken reed…