I don’t think I need to tell you I’m in love. I believe knowing that I’ve made three batches of cookies from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook in less than a month should indicate more than just a brief infatuation. I think it’s the challenge; this book plays hard to get. It’s never just a dry ingredients into wet ingredients square dance, oh no…these recipes are full-blown projects. And I mean that in the best way possible. Don’t you ever get weary of just cranking out a batch of cookies you could make in your sleep? I do.
I think that’s why this book has been so much fun so far. you really have to work at it. And i don’t mean in a difficult, aggravating way. I mean in the way that makes you truly appreciate everything that goes into a fabulous baked good. For instance, take these blueberries and cream cookies. Are they just your normal attempt at blueberry cookies? No. No they are not. So let’s talk about what makes them magnificent.
Magnificent Thing #1: the crumb.
This recipe calls for the Milk Crumb, which is one of several crumb recipes housed in the book. The milk crumb plays the role the Cornflake Crunch did in the cornflake + chocolate chip + marshmallow cookie; it provides the foundation and an almost illegal amount of flavor. What I like best about the crunches/crumbs in these cookies so far? The saltiness. It’s like a little tang in the middle of intense sweetness that’s irresistible.
Magnificent Thing #2: the creaming process.
If you purchase this book (and I suggest you do, immediately, why are you still sitting there?), read it. Not skim, read. I geekily read through almost every cookbook I have upon purchase because, simply put, it’s good to know why you’re doing things. Not just what to do, but why you should do it a specific way. There’s a detailed explanation in the beginning of this book regarding the creaming process associated with their recipes, and I love it. They do it a different way (a longer but not difficult) way that makes the fluffiest, dreamiest, whippiest butter/sugar/eggs mixture I have ever laid eyes on. Look at it: my photo doesn’t do it justice, but it’s practically levitating the spoon.
Magnificent Thing #3: the chill time.
Before you say it, no; chilling cookies isn’t a groundbreaking thing for baking. However: you typically see refrigeration called for in sliced cookies (like vanilla wafers) or ball cookies without chunky ingredients. These are very much like chocolate chip cookies, and you don’t normally chill those before cooking. Having some chill time here makes for a perfectly rounded, even-temperatured cookie because there’s no gooey perimeter and cold center. Bonus points for those of us who like the idea of taking a break mid-creation to do other things, like laundry and wooden block castles with the toddler.
And poof: there it is. A round-as-can-be, perfectly golden cookie, speckled with fruit. It’s like a big blueberry sunshine. On an added note, unlike the cornflake + chocolate chip craziness and the compost cookie, I didn’t need to alter the temperature. The book said 350˚F, and that’s what worked. I did, however, alter the time down from 18 minutes to 13 minutes, which worked perfectly for my oven. As always, I suggest either doing a test batch or checking them at the 11-minute mark to see how much longer they will need.
Oh, and Magnificent Thing #4: how these taste.
it almost defies description. We all know what a blueberry muffin tastes like, and it’s similar to that, but with a good classic cookie texture. They’re tender (but not gooey) on the inside and the outer golden edge has a slight crunch to it; totally satisfying. Somehow the dried blueberries surrounded by the creaminess of the milk crumb makes the blueberry flavor stand out even more than you’d expect, and gives it that nice, salty undertone I love so much in a sweet thing.
I know what you’re thinking: dried blueberries. I wonder what they’d be like with fresh blueberries? Well, I beat you to it. I grabbed some fresh ones at the market to experiment with. I took a portion of the dough before adding the dried blueberries and made a tiny, half-dozen batch using the fresh fruit.
And this is how they turned out. Pretty, right? I think so. These taste more muffin-ish than their dried blueberry counterparts, so if a muffin is what you’re after, then use fresh berries. They do take a little bit longer to bake when you’re using the fresh fruit, so give them a minute or two more, maybe 14-15 minutes versus the 13 minutes. I also found the results, especially after one day, to be messier when you use the fresh ones. Less cookie-ish. And they fall apart a little.
Have fun with these while I find 59 other ways to use milk crumb.
Adapted from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook by Christina Tosi.
for the milk crumb:
- 1/2 cup milk powder
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup milk powder (for post-bake)
- 3 ounces white chocolate, melted (in a double boiler, please. it’s the best way to do it)
for the cookie:
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (or 1/4 cup glucose, which i am ordering this week)
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 recipe Milk Crumb (above)
- 3/4 cup dried blueberries
first, the divine crumb:
Preheat the over to 250˚F. Combine the milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl, stirring with your fingers until fully incorporated. Add the melted butter and toss, using a spatula until the mixture comes together and forms small clusters. I used a “lift and smush” technique and it worked very well at getting the stray dry mix.
Spread the clusters on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy the smell. Cool crumbs completely on pan.
Once cooled, place back in medium bowl and toss with the remaining 1/4 cup milk powder until coated, crushing any large crumbs with your fingers. Pour melted white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until covered in chocolatey goodness. Toss once every 5 minutes or so until crumbs are cooled and chocolate coating has hardened and not sticky. The crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month, but they’ll never make it that long. you’ll eat them.
on to the cookie part:
combine the butter, sugars and corn syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes until fluffy like a creamy cloud.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture (i add half, beat for 5 seconds or so, then add the other half and beat for maybe 30 seconds longer), beating for no longer than a minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again with a spatula.
Still on low speed, add the milk crumbs and mix until incorporated, no more than 20 or 30 seconds. Add the blueberries, mixing them in for no longer than 30 seconds. I mixed for 20 seconds, removed the bowl, did a little spatula mixing to make sure everything was even (maybe 15 lift-and-smushes).
Using an ice cream scoop equal to 1/3 cup measure (I approximate and freehand scoop) portion out the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet which will fit comfortably in your refrigerator. Wrap the pan in plastic and let chill for at least 2 hours. I say that because you want a nice, cold cookie.
When you’re ready, preheat your oven to 350˚F.
Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of four inches apart (not kidding, and yes: there will be multiple batches. it’s worth it.) on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, checking after the 11-minute mark. Mine took exactly 13 minutes, and my oven runs slightly hot. Remove from oven when they are faintly browned on the edges and still bright yellow in the center but not wet-looking.
Cool completely on sheet pans before transferring them to a plate or airtight container. As with the other Momofuku cookies I’ve done, this is a serious instruction. Do not try to remove cookies when hot or warm because they will break on you. Unless you want one to break on you, in which case you are obligated to eat it.
Cookies will keep fresh for up to 5 days and frozen for up to one month.