Although I’ve made plenty of chewy cookies, I am actually a bigger fan of crispy, crunchy cookies, and an even bigger fan of one brand of crispy, crunchy cookies — Famous Amos. There’s just something about biting into a FA cookie. Other than the crunch, there’s an amazing toasted flavour, almost like caramel and coffee. And of course, there’s the smell — your nose will know when there’s a Famous Amos stand nearby. (Disclaimer: I’m not sponsored by Famous Amos!)
The FA cookie recipe is a closely guarded trade secret, but it’s become the stuff of Internet legend with so many different copycat recipes floating about. Anyway, I thought it would be cool to see if I could reverse engineer FA cookies.
I actually embarked on my quest ever since I began making my own cookies, and (I think) I got pretty good at tweaking cookies recipes to create certain textures and tastes. But nothing came close to my holy grail cookie.
So, a couple years back I first tried this recipe for FA cookies. The story is that a disgruntled FA customer paid far too much for the secret recipe and decided to release it for free in retaliation. So the result was this:
I remember being really excited while the cookies were baking, because the smell coming from the oven was the FA cookie scent. They smelt like FA cookies, the colour was right. But alas, the cookies didn’t have the right crunch or taste.
Recently, I stumbled across yet another recipe that claimed to be a pretty close match to FA cookies and from the pictures it looked really promising. But I decided not to follow the recipe completely because some parts of it just didn’t make sense to me. (Like infusing only the egg with vanilla and coffee oil. I want all of the dough to have those flavours!)
I also knew I wanted a super crunchy cookie, so I swapped out some of the flour for cornstarch which helps to dry out the cookie without adding more gluten that can make cookies tough. I also took a cue from biscottis, so I baked my cookies twice to get the crunch. And I’m glad to report I’m pretty happy with the result!
- 250g unsalted butter
- 200g soft brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp coffee oil
- 1 egg
- 50g oats (any kind, from rolled to instant)
- 80g ground almonds
- 260g all-purpose flour
- 40g cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 bag (340g) mini chocolate chips
Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
Step 2: Cream the butter, sugar and salt together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, coffee oil and egg, and beat those in.
Step 3: Run the oats and almonds through a food processor until they’re ground fine. Sift them along with the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and baking soda, and add everything to the creamed mixture. Stir everything till combined and mix in your chocolate chips. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight to let the flavours mingle and deepen.
Step 4: Dollop tablespoon-sized portions of the dough onto the sheet trays about 2 inches apart. (Using a disher is a real time-saver.) Bake each tray for 20 minutes, then let them cool to room temperature.
Step 5: Now you can stop right here and you’d get a serviceable chocolate chip cookie. But if you want a FA dupe, then bake them for a second time for added crunch and colour.
This time, set the oven to 200°C (400°F) and bake each tray for 10 to 15 minutes. (You can pile more cookies on one tray as they’re not going to expand anymore.)
I’d say this recipe gets you pretty close to FA cookies. They’re a deep golden brown, crunchy, and have a nice toasted flavour.
There are some failings, I’ll admit. The look of the cookies is not quite Famous Amos because my OCD side prefers to have round uniform cookies rather than formless lumps. (Of course, you can totally do that if you are hell-bent on replicating FA cookies exactly.) The scent wasn’t the same as the first recipe. And the taste, although much richer than the first recipe, still wasn’t quite Famous Amos. And the colouring of the cookies from the first recipe was much better than the second.
I definitely have a few more tweaks in mind, so it’s back to the drawing board for now. But this is still one super yummy crunchy cookie! A keeper, for sure.