Once again, Kaitlin Steinberg is eating her way through Houston and counting down her 100 favorite dishes as we work our way toward our annual Menu of Menus® issue and culinary extravaganza. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most delicious, most creative and, of course, most indicative of our ever-changing food scene. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that are uniquely Houstonian.
Though pastry chef Rebecca Masson doesn't have a storefront--yet--her goodies are available at spots all over town. From Southside Espresso to Revival Market to Max's Wine Dive, Fluff Bake Bar's cookies, Cup|Cakes and macarons sure are treats when you stumble across them (or, as I do, seek them out) from area coffee shops and eateries.
One of the more unusual offerings on a menu of old school treats like hobnobs, fluffernutters and moon pies is an invention Masson calls the "Couch Potato." I recently brought some of these cookies to the office (mostly for me), and I attempted to share them with my coworkers. When I explained the ingredients to them, most turned up their noses.
"Potato chips...? In a cookie...?"
Yes, potato chips. And pretzels and marshmallows and chocolate chips and corn flake crunch (a Masson invention somewhat like a sweet and salty puppy chow with corn flakes). All packed together in one oversized cookie.
When she first invented it a few years ago, she wrote the list of ingredients on Facebook and asked for advice on what to call it. Someone suggested the "Couch Potato," because the cookie is filled with all things you might eat while sitting on a sofa chilling in front of the TV. Lance Zierlein, host of Sports Talk on 790 AM and Southbound Food on 740 AM, suggested they're called Couch Potatoes because they're cooked in a mold, resulting in a slight indentation in the center of each cookie, like one's ass might make in a sofa.
Whatever you want to call 'em, these babies are good.
As with most of Masson's desserts, there's an ample helping of salt in the cookies to pump up the flavor of the various ingredients. The pretzels, chips and corn flakes provide a nice crunch that doesn't diminish during the baking process, and the circular mold in which the cookies bake gives them a nice crust on the bottom as well as the sides.
But it's the mix of sweet and salty that I love best in these cookies and in all of Masson's delectable desserts. I, for one, can't wait for the Fluff Bake Bar storefront to debut. Champagne and cookies for everyone!
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For now, you can find Couch Potato cookies at Revival Market and Inversion Coffee House.
Note: Full disclosure, Rebecca Masson is one of my dear friends, but we became friends because I developed an obsession with her baked goods. Regardless of your relationship with Masson, there's no denying her cookies and cakes are some of the best!
See the full list of favorites on the next page.
The list so far: No. 75, Fried Chicken Ballotine for Two at Provisions No. 76, Parrillada Platter at Tinto's Grill No. 77, Spaghetti Carbonara at Coppa Osteria No. 78, The Outdoorsman at Pi Pizza Truck No. 79, Campechana de Mariscos at Goode Co. Seafood No. 80, Whole Fried Fish at Churrascos No. 81, Daughter-in-Law Burger at Natachee's Supper 'n Punch No. 82, Chiles en Nogada Tradicionales at Pico's Mex-Mex No. 83, Porkobuco at Brooklyn Athletic Club No. 84, Chai Pie at Pondicheri No. 85, Tacos at Taqueria Maya Quiché No. 86, S'mores at 13 Celsius No. 87, Calamari at Lillo & Ella No. 88, Pulled Pork Nachos at Way Good Food Truck No. 89, Garden Sammie at Local Foods No. 90, Barbecued Salmon Salad at Brooks Family BBQ No. 91, Smoked Salmon Waffle at The Waffle Bus No. 92, Chirashi Lunch at Sushi Miyagi No. 93, Finocchiona Sandwich at Siphon Coffee No. 94, Combo Catracho at Mi Bella Honduras Restaurant No. 95, Tamal de Puerco at Andes Cafe No. 96, Cheeseburger at Sparkle's Hamburger Spot No. 97, Mi Quang at Simply Pho No. 98, Helado de Lúcuma at Pollo Bravo No. 99, Fat Fries at Fat Bao No. 100, Fish Bánh Mì at La Baguette