An endorsement for the Milk Bar Cookbook
I was introduced to Milk Bar cookies a couple of years ago when a box arrived at our door as a gift. Individually wrapped in cellophane were cookies named Compost, Corn, Blueberries & Cream and Cornflake. These were familiar names for things such as muffins and breakfast cereal, but these were very exotic flavors for cookies.
Perplexed, Billy and I inspected each cookie carefully before tasting. “Hum, feels soft and chewy… What’s this on the ingredient list? POTATO CHIPS??? Huh? …” Well, we were sold after the first bite. All the flavors were strangely familiar and comforting. The Compost cookie was a perfect combination of sweet and savory. The love child of the classic chocolate chip and of any and all (it seems) the snack foods you could think of. Chips, pretzels, butterscotch, even coffee! The Corn cookie tasted like what cornbread would be if it were reincarnated as a dessert. We finished half the box in short order and froze the rest for special occasions.
When we ran out of cookies, I looked for the Compost Cookie recipe online and made a batch. I portioned and froze half the dough so that I could bake a few at a time in my Breville oven when the craving struck. After piece-mealing Milk Bar recipes from here and there, and finding that they produced cookies as good as the ones from the bakery, I decided it was time to buy the book…
Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook is a revelation. Christina Tosi, author of this book as well as chef, owner, and founder of Momofuku Milkbar is a mad, mad genius. The cookbook is full of wonderful desserts that could’ve come from the imagination of a child wearing a unicorn t-shirt on a Lucky Charms sugar high. Her monologues are friendly and whimsical and recipes exact—down to the gram—with thorough directions. There’s a whole section of what specific ingredients to buy, and where, as well as an equipment guide. A technique section: “the ten minute creaming process, or why milk bar cookies are so damn good.” Ms. Tosi is a woman after my OCD heart!
I’ve had a great time learning and baking from this book. It’s really inspired me to use unusual ingredients, to be more inventive and has improved my baking. Outside of a minor conversion typo—gelatin sheet to powder—which caused a runny banana cream pie and a loose batch of panna cotta (in book 1 1/2 sheet silver gelatin= 3/4 tsp. powder. Should be 1 1/2 tsp.), the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook is a joy. I’d recommend to new and experienced bakers alike.