As I mentioned, I’m going to try my hand at baking horse cookies over the winter. I’m reading through recipes I find online, applying my own knowledge of baking techniques, and taste-testing them on the horses in the barn
Test #1: Peppermint Oatmeal Cookies
Tristan’s favorite flavor in the whole world is peppermint, so I thought I’d start there. Many of the recipes online seemed to be based on an oatmeal cookie recipe, and I have one that I love, so I went over its ingredients and modified them slightly.
Chiefly, I swapped in crushed starlight mints for the white sugar, took out the cinnamon and vanilla, and halved the recipe (since it makes close to 100 cookies).
I first tried crushing the peppermints with my immersion blender’s processor attachment. No dice. It wasn’t nearly strong enough; it mostly bounced them around and chipped them a bit. Duly noted.
Go ahead, be jealous of my c. 1975 food processor. It was new in the box when my mother gave it to me; my grandmother had bought it on sale, stored it, and promptly forgot about it. It is retro and it worked much better than the immersion blender.
This was about the consistency of the crushed peppermint; in retrospect I might’ve done them a little less.
Swapping in the peppermint for white sugar.
All mixed up – I don’t know if it comes through here, but the dough ended up almost pink, and much more moist than it usually does for these cookies, so this was where I started to worry.
Baked! The crushed mint melted a bit, which surprised me. Not too badly, luckily, but those white spots you see on the edges of the cookies are melted peppermint. It did make the pan a bit sticky to clean.
So: the taste test!
Tristan chewed his cookie and then spat it out. So I stuck it back in his mouth. And he spat it out. Whoops. He repeated that three or four times and then I gave up and dropped it in his bucket, just in case.
I got worried, and promptly tried feeding them to several other horses. Luckily, Tristan was the outlier. Here’s how it worked out with the other horses:
Justin, Willow, Twinkie, Prince, Carousel, Brody: LOVED IT. Carousel in particular whickered at me for the rest of the time I was at the barn.
Rain, Skip, Monty: Meh. They ate them, but they weren’t enthused.
With the horses that either really didn’t like it (Tristan, the goober) and the rest that were kind of meh, it seemed to be a texture issue. These cookies were chewier than I had hoped for, which is a great quality in a human cookie, but not in a horse cookie.
My final test is to see how they store; they’ve been in a sealed container in my kitchen for a week since this initial baking and taste test. I’ll do a second round of testing and then report back.