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Monday 14 December 2009

Mushroom Cookies

I remember consoling myself when I found out that Father Christmas wasn't real, that at least there was still the Tooth Fairy. Then when Mum told me, in the same breath, that, actually, she wasn't real either (the Tooth Fairy. Of course my mum is real!), I was really fraught. All this took place in the bathroom by the way. Strange, the details you remember. She had yellow rubber gloves on and was cleaning. Again, my mum, not the Tooth Fairy.

The biggest shock of them all though, which has haunted me for a great many years (and get ready if you don't know, 'cause this is big), was discovering that BETTY CROCKER IS NOT REAL.

I know. I'm sorry. The shock. The horror. But it's the truth. You need to face it. On the bright side, there's a bad joke in there somewhere: 'What do Santa, the Tooth Fairy and Betty Crocker have in common?' Ha.

I just didn't get it. How could nobody write the greatest cook book in the world?

That's this book, unless you didn't know
where I was going with that... And that's a first edition!

I don't want to dwell too much on the negatives; we must pull ourselves together. The fact is, you still get Christmas presents without Father Christmas, the money for teeth has kept coming to all the children in my family with or without fairies, and you can still bake Betty's cookies, even if someone else wrote the recipes for them because Betty herself was just made up by cold and calculating company executives.

Now, quite aside from reminding ourselves that there is no Santa, all of this is very seasonal. Honest! My Mum had Betty Crocker's Cooky Book when she was younger, and now I have it (one word: Theft). And there's a recipe that I have wanted to make from it for years and years and years. And years. It is for Chocolate Crinkles and it is on page 23, right next to the recipe for Snickerdoodles, which we made lots when we were children.

Now you may ask why I haven't made these cookies before. Well, there are two reasons. And here they are:

  1. The recipe makes 6 dozen cookies! That's about 3 million more than I need.
  2. The recipe contains vegetable oil. That's fine for carrot cake, but the idea of using it cookies makes me feel a bit sick. Tell me you don't feel the same.

But then recently, when I was looking through the Cooky Book, it occured to me that if you are the type who makes cookies to give away at Christmas (and I am), having 6 dozen of them made in one sitting is pretty good going. You can see where this thought led.

But there was still the problem of the icky-sicky vegetable oil. What to do? Well, I'm glad you asked. Here's what I did: I allowed myself to be inspired by Betty 'I'm not really real' Crocker, but decided to see what Martha 'I'm real and can be held accountable if the cookies are horrid, just like when I was held accountable for lying about a stock sale and had to go jail' Stewart had to say on the subject. Turns out that Martha makes the same cookies, only she adds more chocolate (hurrah), doesn't use oil (swell) and calls them 'Chocolate Crackles' instead (not sure about that one).

This is irrelevant though, because I have named them Mushroom Cookies. This is because when we were making them, Mr. Other P, who sometimes joins me for a bit of kitchen ker-plutzsky, especially when I offer to make him a Snowball if he does, said that they looked like mushroom tops. He was right; they do, and I am now dying to make them in different colours, so that they look like toadstools. Don't even try to tell me that you too don't want to see that. I will consider it my sacred duty to do so, and report back.

He has a point, no? Mushrooms.

Because it's the Season of Good Will and all that, I have taken it upon myself to metricate Martha's recipe (and alter it, slightly, to use the sugar that I had in the house). Consider it my gift to all non American cup-measuring mankind; just call me 'The Martha Metricator'. (I love Martha. She's fierce!)

I didn't get 6 dozen cookies by the way, but that's because I made them big. I think we got about 50. Cookies, not dozen. And they were chewy and rich and tasted GORGEOUS!

Mushroom Cookies

You will need:

225g plain chocolate
225g plain flour, sifted
30g cocoa, sifted with the flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
115g butter, at room temperature
225g sugar (180g muscovado sugar, 45g granulated white sugar)
2 eggs
80ml milk
granulated sugar
icing sugar

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a basin of hot water. Allow to cool. Make yourself a Snowball. It's Christmas, and you'll want something to drink while making these.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars until smooth and light. Then add chocolate and the eggs, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add sifted flour and cocoa, as well as the baking powder and salt. Add the milk. Mix well. Chill the dough for an hour or so. We left it over night. Don't worry. You can have another Snowball tomorrow.
  4. Set the oven to 180°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Put some granulated sugar in a bowl, and some icing sugar in another.
  5. Roll pieces of the dough into balls the size of a walnut, and then roll them first in granulated sugar and then icing sugar. Place well-spaced apart on baking sheet, and bake for 14 minutes.
  6. Cool on a wire rack. Pack and give away, if you can bear to.


  1. Firstly,

    O.M.G Betty Crocker ISN'T real?!?! :o Thinking back to the times I bought all those boxes of Devil's Food cake mixes and buttercream frosting tubs, I feel cheated. :(

    After hearing this shocking news mushroom cookies are the only thing which would make me feel better. You should SO make them red! Like red velvet mushroom cookies... they would be SO adorable- Like those German toy ornaments I saw at the market! (And toadstool from Supermario, of course!)

    You are gonna have some happy friends when you deliver these!

  2. what a fun post and wow these cookies are so cool love them

  3. Sanjana and Chow - you are literally here posting comments after, like, two seconds. Did you smell the cookies baking? :)

  4. Well done as usual! I would love to have that cookbook. My first cookbook was a Betty Crocker cookbook. Memories..........

  5. I'm like a police sniffer dog. I raid UK homes to catch those in posession of baked goods such as these. Apologies.


  6. It's been a long day, but I really expected your cookies to contain mushrooms. Maybe the magic kind? Then we'd have to re-name Betty's book the Kooky Book. Ok, sorry, did I already say it's been a long day.

  7. Lol, that was a surprise to me too when I found out Betty Crocker isn't real!

    The cookies look delicious, I'm going to have to make these sometime! And the measurements? I prefer weighing by scale then cups. Waaay more accurate. So it's great that the recipe is in weight measurements. :) Thanks for sharing!

  8. okay, I'm making these, I love them! I needed a new cookie recipe this season and I think this is it. And I'm very jealous over that cookie cookbook!

  9. Hey Mr P, that's an interesting post & so funny! I love to cook but wish I can bake too :<

  10. You made me look! Now I'm smiling...I seriously want to try to make these in time for the holiday.

  11. They really can pass off as mushrooms! So cute, thanks for sharing.

  12. The cookies really look like mushroom :) Always love to eat cookies, yours are great!!

  13. You know, for a moment when I saw the title of your post I thought you were going all "vegetal" in your baking (like a certain nemesis of ours whose name shall not be mentioned here). But anyway, they look delicious (x3). xx

  14. I kinda always known that Betty Crocker was a brand... Sorry... Maybe it is because I am way overseas from her? Dunno. I think you should make pink Mushroom Cookies (dunno why pink, just came to my imagination) and I agree with Sanjana, Red must look good...
    I love your writing style, always brings a smile to my face :)

  15. What? Betty Crocker isn't REAL!?!

    I love the mushroom-looking chocolate cookies. It's like the chocolates had to go incognito.

  16. Sanjana - I'm going to have to change the locks.

    VM - 'Betty Crocker's Kooky Book' does have a certain charm to it, I think. Maybe someone could photoshop that for us? Someone with time on their hands!

    Lisa - I think they print facsimiles. But they won't come with stained pages, like my Mum's copy. Good or bad, you choose.

    Sarah and Molly - You have both said you'll make them. I am holding you to that! It's worth it. Report back if you do :)

    Blackswan - Really glad you enjoyed!

    Kathy -you can also consider yourself instructed to get baking! ;)

    Cheah - Thanks for taking the time out to comment! :)

    Lia Chen - Whare are ya? Shall I send you a box? There's one in my freezer?

    Kalamari - SHE would. I never will. Not even going to mention her name. Stupid.

    Viviane - As I said, sacred duty. It'll happen. Promise!

    Shelly - Yeah, like they were scared that they'd go the same way that all the other chocolate does at this time of year...

  17. ok these cookies are known as chocolate crackle cookies to me! I never knew they were called mushroom cookies in the first place.

    and hold up Betty Crocker does not exist?? that's insane!

  18. Yes, I agree that you have to do the red velvet version and then make stems for these!

    Love the photos :)

  19. Love the mushrooms! They're way too cute =D.

  20. That's interesting name for cookies but they do look like mushrooms....beautiful. I would love to make them to have coffee time with my friends. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Adorable mushrooms. Very sad to hear that Betty Crocker is not real. All these years I made cakes and brownies from Betty Crocker mixes thinking what a great baker she was. Also you do have a way to make people laugh with your writing...Looking forward to more of your funny incidents followed by great recipes.

  22. Cookies really do fix just about anything, don't they? (And, just so you know, there is a tooth fairy but, as are so many fairies, she's kinda creepy and mean. Maybe you ought to have a glass of wine with the next cookie....)

  23. I made these a couple years ago and they were awesome. After testing it once, the only thing I did different was to add about 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper to the dry ingredients. The ancient Mexicans were on to something. Cayenne just seems to make chocolate "pop" a bit in any recipe.

  24. MP - please go on!I want to know who she is!

    Mike - that sounds like a great idea. Check back for the real mushroom-alike cookies! Will flavour them up some.

  25. My Grandma has that same cookbook!
    I bet ginger would make a mushroom colored cookie.

  26. That book! That book is the exact book that my mother had in the 60's & 70's and I remember very clearly, looking at that book over & over again. The photos of all the cookies lined up at the bottom. You just gave me a warm fuzzy feeling when I saw the photo of that book. What a good memory.Mmmmmm. I can even remember the smell of the pages.

  27. Hi, these cookies are awesome :D

    It's funny though, because in Australia, chocolate crackles are rice bubbles (umm, i think you'd know them as rice crispies) mixed with cocoa, icing sugar, coconut and vegetable shortening (called Copha) and refrigerated in little patty pans.

    They're AWESOME, although not especially classy ;)

    I figured though, since you did the lamington special a little while ago, you might be interested in something else Aussie :D



  28. wow. My favorite cookie in my favorite cookbook. I have three copies of it: a 1st edition, a paperback and a recently re-released version. Using oil is not a bad thing, and, if you use olive oil they taste quite good (although if you don't like the flavor of olive oil...)

  29. I just came across this blog, can't wait to try loads of your recipes out!! One question with this recipe... what do you do with the 80ml of milk?

    1. Eek. Corrected! Add it with the flour. :)

      Thanks for letting me know. I'm embarrassed. This has been posted for years!

    2. First batch is done! I cheated a bit and used the only type of brown sugar we had in the house, which was really soft and light so they sunk a bit, but taste lovely!! I rolled some in sprinkles and edible glitter instead of sugar and they look fab! http://i475.photobucket.com/albums/rr111/InsanePictureFrame/Cooking/mushroomcakes.jpg

      From a fellow Welshie from up the valleys!


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