When I was growing up I read a series of young adult mystery books about a girl who saw ghosts and solved mysteries as a result. The girl was named Nina Tanleven (she goes by Nine) and I loved the books, though I can’t tell you much about them today, since I haven’t cracked one of them in about 15 years. One thing I do remember from them is that Nine and her father (her mom had died, I think) liked to make cookies that they called slopnuggets. Slopnuggets were basically cookies made without a recipe. You just put things in a bowl that you thought should be in cookies, and stopped when it looked like cookie dough. Bake, and enjoy. Nine said that slopnuggets always turned out differently, but were generally delicious. And I remember that in the brief author biography of writer Bruce Coville, he noted that the books were fiction, but slopnuggets are real.
Since I read the books I’ve been wanting to try my hand at slopnuggets, and this week I finally did it. When my washer broke and I needed to use a neighbor’s I decided to make her cookies as a thank you, and didn’t have time to look for a recipe, so it was time to get sloppy.
Turns out, making slopnuggets is really fun, and has generally yummy results (I say generally because in my second batch I accidentally used salt instead of sugar…and that was an unfixable error). Here are my tips for making successful slopnuggets, a perfect treat for a day when you’re cooped up inside because of a hurricane or a heat wave.
Start with dry ingredients:
You’ll probably want to use some kind of flour or oatmeal or a combination
Baking powder or soda
Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cocoa)
Sweetener of some kind (sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup, agave)
Fat and liquids of some kind (oil, butter, peanut butter, pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, milk, juice)
And extract (vanilla, mint, lemon etc, depending on your mood and what you have on hand)
Once it’s the consistency of cookie dough, taste, adjust as needed, and add chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, and/or any other add-ins you’d like. Then drop by rounded tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at about 350F for about 15 minutes.
The con: you can’t give the recipe away when someone asks if you can share your maple walnut cookie recipe.
One of many pros: you never have to worry that you won’t have the ingredients necessary to make slopnuggets. It’s whatever you happen to have in the pantry.
A couple of hours ago I made a truly wonderful batch of peanut butter molasses cookies. I’m sure I could come up with a lovely fancy name for them, but I’m just calling them slopnuggets.