So you’re in jail and one of your buddies is either having a birthday or getting out. What do you do? Why, make them Correctional Cake, of course! This no-bake delight, made with cookies, peanut butter and M&M’s is easy to prepare and sure to please.
The writer of this recipe made sure to put “celebrate” in quotes, lest the inmates forget their decidedly uncelebratory environs.
This recipe is a bit confusing. I’m pretty certain that I got the wrong kind of cookies. I bought off-brand Oreos, but on second read, the recipe seems to call for the off-off-brand Oreos that have one chocolate cookie and one white cookie with cream in between.
I didn’t know where to get peanut butter in a tube, so I used a hearty scoop of peanut butter from a jar that I bought at the 99 cent store. Using the organic, GMO-free beurre de cacahuète that I had in my cupboard did not seem appropriate for Correctional Cake.
I scraped the cream from the cookies using a spoon. This task was therapeutic in its repetitiveness. A knife would have gotten the job done much faster, but they don’t sell knives at the jail commissary.
Crushing the cookies inside a plastic baggie was fun until the cookie shards started to poke through the plastic and make a mess.
The peanut butter and white cookie cream blended together very easily and made a smooth, rich frosting.
The instructions say to put a layer of dry crumbs on the plate and then spread the peanut butter and cream frosting on top of it. This was completely impossible. The crumbs stuck to the frosting, the frosting stuck to my spoon and the whole thing got on my nerves. I left the frosting as a lump in the middle.
Next, I took the remaining cookie crumbs and put them in a plastic bag. I crushed them a bit and added water. The cookies got soggy and turned into a batter of sorts, which I poured over the dry crumbs and glob of frosting. The “cake” really came together at this point. I did my best to mold it into a circular shape by pushing any errant splats back into the middle with my spoon.
The recipe did not specify how the M&M’s are to be crushed. I considered employing the “boot and concrete” method we learned while making the Sweet and Spicy Coke Ramen, but then decided to instead use my jar of peanut butter to smash the little suckers on the counter.
The M&M pieces settled nicely into the wet cookie batter, as if they’d finally found a home where they belonged.
Note: I realized after I’d done this that there are probably no birthday candles in jail.
The Verdict: Because there is no baking involved, the flavors of the ingredients remained largely unaltered and this dessert tastes as you’d expect. It’s cloyingly sweet with a mushiness that’s pleasant at first but quickly becomes boring. The crushed M&Ms bring interest to a dish that’s otherwise texturally one-dimensional.
There are serious flaws in the construction and presentation. The frosting was impossible to spread onto the layer of dry crumbs. I would suggest combining the crust with a bit of water and microwaving it to form a more cake-like base for the cream.
The cookie and water mixture was the best part of this dish. It was a very close replica of brownie batter; something homesick inmates are sure to miss. If it were my jail birthday, I’d skip the crumbs and frosting and just eat wet cookies and crushed M&M’s out of a plastic bag.
Stay tuned for more Jail House Cooking on Monday, when we’ll be making a savory pie.
All dishes in this series come from this PDF Document, anonymously put together using recipes created by inmates.