It is official: making ugly treats is a foolproof way to annihilate Adultitis. Indeed, forgoing the stress that can come from trying to create a confection that might make Martha Stewart weep tears of joy is not nearly as fun as concocting something that would have her wailing and gnashing her teeth.
Although we have extolled the virtues of cooking up ugly cakes and cookies for some time, we had not actually undertaken the task — until now. We used the latest Small Rebellion, aka The Ugly Treat Initiative, as a fitting excuse to jump right in.
It’s easy to be intimidated by some of the giants who have come before us, with cakes so ugly they’d make Sloth from The Goonies recoil in horror. But engaging in some ugly treat frivolity needn’t be a burden. We went a simple route, which proved to be quick and easy without shortchanging any of the fun.
We started with a regular bag of chocolate chip cookie mix. Add eggs and butter and you’re off to the races. For the time being, everything appears normal.
Normal came to a screeching halt when we started to collect the ingredients that would ugly up our mild-mannered cookies. If you want to play at home, raid the cupboard for anything edible that has something to bring to the party: taste, texture, color. If you’re interested in eating your results — which is part of the fun — I recommend using things that are sweet or salty, but don’t be afraid to reach for combinations that may seem unorthodox. We threw a bunch of stuff in a bowl: Peeps, jelly beans, gummy worms, pretzels, cheese crackers, M&Ms, peanuts and Nerds.
This project proved to be a good way to recycle some Easter candy. I also pulled out some bacon bits, because of course, everything is better with bacon.
I also threw in some pickles, creating a combination that I am convinced will become all the rage in the foodie scene. (It’s the new chocolate and peanut butter!)
After plopping some of the prepared dough onto a greased cookie sheet, we just started placing our ingredients randomly on top. Lucy used some colorful sprinkles and Lucky Charms marshmallows to make this cookie magically delicious.
This is a great activity for little helpers, since there is no regard for aesthetics whatsoever. In fact, by watching them carefully, you can discover ways to make your cookies even uglier than you ever before imagined.
This Peep got impaled by a pretzel. No one said this was pretty, folks.
Then it was time to put our creations in the oven. One neat aspect of this approach is the experimental element. The little mad scientist in each of us was eager to see what sorts of results we’d get once the heat was applied.
The gummy worms melted very quickly and the Peeps started to balloon up like floater found in a lake on CSI.
Meanwhile, we decided to add some frosting to the show. A can of store-bought vanilla — quick and easy, baby — was mixed with food coloring. I can’t give you a specific recipe here as we gave Lucy full control over this part. I CAN say that she used all four colors and she used a LOT of it. Probably enough to exceed the most lenient FDA recommendations and give us all cancer. But it resulted in this nice putrid green color.
Pulling the cookies out of the oven is a big part of the fun. As you can see, the gummy worms melted into quite an unrecognizable mess, while the jelly beans and Dots oozed a little color into the cookies but maintained their shape
IN subsequent batches, we added the gummy worms later in the baking process, as seen here surrounding a pretzel covered in bacon (naturally).
This touching piece is entitled, “Peep Mourning Over Fallen Comrade.”
The fun doesn’t end when the baking does, my friend. Oh no, this is when you utilize your frosting and various accoutrements to take things to a whole new level. This is the time to turn things up to 11.
Sprinkles make a wonderful little garnish…
…and add the color that will make your cookies almost appear appetizing.
So that’s about it. The whole process takes less than an hour and is quite creatively gratifying. Rest assured, our first foray into ugly treat making will not be our last!
We’ll be formally posting some of the wonderful ugly treat contributions made by other mad scientists soon, but you can get a peek at some good ones over here. I hope all of these examples will inspire you to get your ugly on, resulting in lots of laughs and a good memory with some people you care about.