Who doesn’t love sampling something delicious for a taste test? Momentarily throwing daily calorie counting to the wind, for science of course, to issue an expert opinion on which option really is the best? The time honored tradition, from the simple bake-off to the meticulously conducted research testing new candies, continues to elevate everyday eaters to connoisseurs willing to share their opinion with the broader public.
Today, National Corn Growers Association staff selflessly participated in just such an experiment for Director of Biofuels Pam Keck. An accomplished baker, Keck decided to combine her interest in Distillers Dried Grains, an ethanol co-product popularly used in animal feed, with her culinary craftsmanship whipping up a batch of oatmeal cookies. Splitting the ingredients into two distinct portions, Keck then added a fiber and protein packed punch to one set by mixing DDGs into the dough.
This morning, Keck placed her handiwork in a prime location- directly across from the office coffee service. As coworkers sauntered in to prepare their caffeine fix, they caught site of the treat. As anyone who has worked in a similar environment knows, home-baked goods never last long when craftily situated so close to the java. So, the test began.
As DDGs are not yet widely used in foods produced for human consumption, Keck clearly labeled each batch, knowing that her peers clearly understood the safety and dietary benefits of her addition. By mid-morning, the piles both dwindled rapidly and, while some voiced a preference for the traditional batch, many found that they preferred the new concoction.
Both varieties of the oatmeal and craisin cookies offered a moist, mildly sweet background punctuated by tart berry bursts, but the version containing DDGs also left a wholesome-tasting nutty flavor with a pleasant chewy texture. Keck’s culinary acumen certainly played a large role in determining the quality of the cookies, but, without additional alteration to the recipe, the power-packed batch baked to a fantastic finish as well.
The real message of the taste test came across loud and clear to the corn-conscious crowd. In an era of false food-versus-fuel debate and fever-pitched skirmishes over almost every aspect of nutrition, simple answers still await those willing to explore the possibilities. An ethanol co-product that packs a nutritional punch into crave-worthy craisin cookies? It is time to wake up and open our eyes to the possibilities just waiting for us, sometimes right next to the coffee.