Cooking in front of millions of viewers would be nerve-racking for most chefs, but not for Kalamazoo, MI, culinary instructor Cory Barrett. Cory appeared on Iron Chef America nearly 20 times as sous chef to Michael Symon before clinching the Spring Baking Championship title last May. The only tricky part was getting used to the new set: “The first episode I was a mess — I didn’t have a feel for where anything was,” he says. But Cory won the second episode, and his success continued through the rest of the season, including a team challenge with chef Kevin Dillmon. The two came up with a “mookie” — a lemon and blueberry muffin-cookie combo that won over all the judges. Here’s a recipe inspired by their treat.
Make the muffins: Preheat the oven to 350˚. Brush 20 muffin cups with vegetable oil (use two 12-cup muffin pans). Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg until smooth. Whisk in the buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla and lemon zest. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until combined but still slightly lumpy (do not overmix).
Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling them one-quarter of the way. Bake until beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in the pans, then transfer the muffins to racks to cool completely.
Make the filling: Combine the cream cheese, mascarpone, confectioners' sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer on low speed, gradually increasing the speed to medium high, until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use. Meanwhile, pulse the cookies into coarse crumbs in a food processor.
Assemble the mookies: Remove the domed tops of the muffins using a serrated knife. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag and pipe a ring on half of the muffins. Spoon about 1 teaspoon blueberry jam into the center of each ring. Top each muffin with another muffin, cut-side down, to make a sandwich. Roll the edges in the cookie crumbs, pressing to adhere.