I hope everyone had a lovely holiday stuffing themselves to the brim with an obscene amount of food and sweets. I know everyone is borderline sick of cookies, and I won’t bother you with a fancy holiday one, but this one came from one of my christmas presents. It’s one last cookie for the year, and I sort of just really had to try it. Just, you know, before those pesky New Years’ resolutions kick in. And because yoga pants really have a way of masking the several pounds we’ve all gained this holiday season (especially the ones with the foldover top). But we’ll all have to put on real pants soon enough, and you want to get this cookie out of the way prior to that happening.
So, new year, new cookbooks! And evidently new challenges, which I welcome with open arms (most days). One of the new cookbooks I received this year was the Momofuku Milk Bar book. Not one person had heard of it prior to me getting it. As the day wore on, however, it got passed around to each member of my family, with random exclamations of “ooohhhhhh…” and “what is THAT?!?” and “whoa. ohmygoodness. that looks so GOOD WHAT IS THIS BOOOOOOOK????“
So. We had to make something out of it, right away. Before someone died of excitement.
The sneaky thing with this book is you really can’t make one thing. Since Christina Tosi uses basic recipes as building blocks to form other recipes, you generally have to make/bake a batch of one of the ingredients in order to do the recipe you’re wanting. By the way, this is completely fine by me considering that, as far as i can tell, I’m going to love every single thing out of this book. So, on deck first? Cornflake Crunch. as pictured above. And wow is it just delicious on its own. We’re lucky we had enough left for the cookies. And super simple, so no need to worry.
On to the cookies. And honestly, it’s mostly just like making a regular cookie recipe, no extra trouble or special things to worry about. I like her attitude regarding flour and not having to sift it. I never sift flour, except in cake recipes where I’m too chicken to not sift. Otherwise, I’m a spoon-in-and-level-out sort of girl. Also, I liked her creaming technique: you’ll see in the recipe that although it’s more time, it’s absolutely no more work for you. It actually gives you a nice break to prep the rest of the ingredients.
Now: here’s where my train went a little off the tracks, and I’m going to ask for your assistance on this one. Everything went fabulous until the baking part of things. As you can see, my cookies were less than, shall we say, photogenic. Delicious and packed with crazy flavor? Yes. Yes yes yes. Kinda ugly? Also, yes. So I made the cookies a project and experimented with baking times and temperatures, as you can see from figures 1-4 below.
The original recipe calls for baking at 375˚F for 18 minutes. Here’s what I tried:
- figure 1: oven at 375˚F for 16 minutes. crispy and tasted very good, almost toffee-like. But hey; not that cute and where are those marshmallows?
- figure 2: oven at 375˚F for 14 minutes. better. less toffee-like and a little softer. I tasted the chocolate and the cornflake more. Some marshmallows escaped complete annihilation.
- figure 3: oven at 350˚F for 14 minutes. getting there! Less toffee ooze, even softer, and definitely more cookie-shaped.
- figure 4: oven at 350˚F for 12 minutes. SUCCESS!!! This one is what I think it should look and taste like. Soft but with a satisfying crunch, more cornflake and less toffee taste, and the flavors really worked together. like in a miraculous, almost otherworldly way. Now I get it.
This is the first time I’ve just blatantly asked for input (although I welcome it anytime) but please; if you make these cookies, will you let me know how they come out for you? I don’t typically have to alter cooking times this much on anything, so I’d love to hear how others fare with this particular recipe. That said, I loved my results. Even more, I loved the challenge. So much that I may make this entire book, just to see if I can do it. It’s a sick character flaw, I know, but I embrace it.
I’ll be working more on these and trying to figure out how to make them better. In the meantime, here you go: enjoy. One thing: I like to get the crunch in the oven, and then prep my ingredients (measuring and so forth) for the cookie. Once the crunch is done, it’ll need to cool, so I like to start actually making the cookies at that point. By the time you get to the crunch addition, it should be ready to go.
Both recipes adapted from the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook by Christina Tosi. My new baking idol.
Cornflake Crunch + Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookie
for the cornflake crunch:
- 5 cups of cornflakes
- 1/2 cup of milk powder
- 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 9 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
for the cookies:
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 cups cornflake crunch (or 3/4 of a recipe, which leaves some for you to snack on. yay!)
- 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips (or, having none, i used 3/4 cup regular chocolate chips)
- 1 1/4 mini marshmallows
First things first: Crunch time.
Preheat oven to 275˚F.
Pour the cornflakes in a medium bowl and crush them with your hands to one-quarter of their original size. Add the milk powder, sugar and salt and toss to mix. Add the butter and toss well to coat. The mixture should form small clusters.
Spread the clusters on to a parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, until toasted and buttery-smelling. and delicious.
Cool the crunch mixture completely before adding to your cookie mixture. It cools pretty fast, so while you’re waiting on this to finish cooling, begin assembling your cookies.
Now for the cookie dough.
Line a sheet pan which will fit comfortably in your refrigerator with parchment paper. Combine butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat on high for 7-8 minutes. I mean it.
Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than one minute. Do not overmix.
Still on low speed, mix in the cornflake crunch and chocolate chips just until incorporated, no more than 30 seconds or so. Add the marshmallows and mix again on low just until incorporated, about 30 seconds. If you feel like it’s uneven, use a spatula or large spoon and sort of fold them in the rest of the way.
Using an ice cream scoop equal to 1/3 cup measure (thereabouts) portion out the dough onto your prepared sheet pan. Push the tops of the cookies a little flat; not all the way smooshed but just so they’re less roundy and more flat on top. Wrap entire sheet in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour (I say at least two hours) or up to one week.
Finally! We bake the cookies.
When you’re ready, preheat oven to 350˚F.
Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Don’t ignore this instruction: it will mean you have to do several batches in and out of the oven, but it won’t work putting them closer together. I use half-sheet pans, and I did six per pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, watching carefully after the 10-minute mark. When done, the cookies should be golden but not all disfigured like my figures 1 and 2.
Cool the cookies completely (they’re very breaky when still warm) on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or container for storage. At room temperature, they should keep for 5 days. Freezer? One month.