Because I can’t just leave well enough alone.
For whatever reason (and I’m still trying to figure this out), there’s been a reigniting of my love of Momofuku things. Perhaps it’s because I originally received the cookbook as a Christmas present two years back, and it’s that time of year again. It could also be that because of the Just One Question project, I’ve been thinking about how this blog started, and the Momofuku recipes I made for it really took off and helped shape this space into what it is now. I consider the Momofuku tutorials and projects I’ve done here as one of the major milestones in learning who I am as a cook and baker, so playing with these recipes again is probably just a natural progression.
I switched up the Momofuku blueberries + cream cookies, friends. Obviously blueberry things are good virtually any time of year, but when the cold hits, my interest in cranberries reaches a fever pitch. We don’t see the fresh ones in stores except for right now, and I need to grab about 93 bags of them to freeze. Thankfully, we always have access to the dried versions, and I throw them in everything, from granola to oatmeal to baked goods, and sometimes even savory things. I know I’m not the only one who’s thinking about them right now, so I thought I’d throw this cookie at you, just for fun.
Cranberries paired with orange is a quintessential winter flavor combination for me. I blame nostalgia: my mom is a huge cranberry and orange fan, so I know we spent winters with the aroma of the two simmering away in our home, and their flavors tucked away into baked goods. My mom is coming in town for Thanksgiving, and she’ll be here in about 10 days; these cookies were baked and popped in the freezer for her arrival.
They’re absurdly good, and very subtle: it’s not overflowing with artificial orange flavor some weird “orange” baked goods are known to possess. Rather, you get the tartness of the cranberries, the soft scent and flavor of tangerine (versus navel orange), and the creaminess of the milk crumb. It’s a little like eating a cranberry orange muffin with a small glass of milk, all at once. Tangerines are lovely in this, by the way: they’re in abundance here right now, and they have a less acidic, almost floral orange flavor to them. When people start to arrive for the holiday, I fashion an tangerine mountain on a plate, sit them on my countertop, and watch them slowly disappear for snacks and dessert. It’s like being 8 again, and I love it.
So here they are, without further ado: you’ll have a bunch to read with the first Just One Question post later this week, so I’d rather you save your energy. Really sitting and combing through your answers this morning has been a pleasure, friends: truly, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do once things get rolling.
A little aside for those of you who are thinking of making these: these are not the difficult Momofuku cookies that everyone has trouble with: those are the cornflake chocolate chip cookies and sometimes the compost cookies, if only for their sheer amount of stuff. These and the chocolate crumb ones are probably the easiest to bake up.
Cranberry + Orange Milk Crumb Cookies
Yields 24 cookies
for the crumb:
- 1/2 cup milk powder
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup milk powder (for post-bake)
- 3 ounces good-quality white chocolate, melted (also for post-bake)
for the cookies:
- 1 cup dried sweetened cranberries (or use the unsweetened ones, but I like the original for this recipe)
- 1 small tangerine, zest and juice
- 1/4 teaspoon orange extract (negotiable, but I think it oomphs up the tangerine a bit)
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk crumb (which you are making with the ingredients above)
Note: don’t be disappointed if your milk crumbs are small: I’ve made all the Momofuku crumb recipes, and this one seems to always make true “crumbs” versus clusters or larger “gravel.” In this recipe, it’s fine, because you want them small.
Make the crumb:
Preheat oven to 250˚F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the 1/2 cup milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to incorporate. Add the melted butter and stir with a rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are evenly coated in butter: look for dry spots as you go. A “fold and press” motion works really well for this.
Spread the crumbs out onto the prepared baking sheet and place on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 20-22 minutes, checking at the 18-minute mark for doneness. The crumbs should be only very slightly golden, and they’ll smell a lot like butter. Remove from the oven and transfer the sheet to a wire rack to cool.
Once cool, add the crumbs to a large bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup of milk powder, tossing to coat. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler over just-simmering water or in the microwave (I’ll admit that after two years of exclusively double-boiling chocolate, I do sometimes microwave) using short, 15-second zaps until completely smooth, stirring frequently.
Pour the white chocolate over the milk powder-coated crumbs, and toss the clusters and chocolate with a rubber spatula until crumbs are evenly coated in chocolate. Set aside for 5 minutes, then toss again. Allow the crumbs to harden while you make your cookies, or even overnight.
Make the cookies:
Place the cranberries and the tangerine juice and zest into a small bowl, tossing to coat the cranberries in the liquid. Allow to sit while you mix your cookies so the cranberries can soak in some of the juice.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking power, baking soda, and kosher salt together until evenly distributed. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Beat on high for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs and stir on low until they begin to incorporate. Scrape down the bowl again and increase speed to high, beating for 7-8 minutes until very fluffy and light, stopping the mixer to scrape down the bowl at the halfway point.
Scrape down the bowl again and add the flour mixture in two additions, stirring on low for ten seconds before the second addition. Continue to stir until the flour mixture is just incorporated, no longer than a total of 30 seconds, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the milk crumb and the cranberry-tangerine mixture, juice and all, to the mix and stir on low for another 15-20 seconds. Remove the bowl from the stand and use your spatula to work through the batter and evenly distribute the cranberries.
Why do I not just run the mixer for this part, you may wonder. Well, it’s because that kicks up the gluten and can make the cookies tough. Besides, the one con to a stand mixer is that the paddle never truly seems to do the best job of distributing add-ins. Use a folding motion and run the spatula all the way down the sides and up from the bottom to make sure you have an even amount of cranberries in each cookie.
Line a lipped quarter sheet pan with wax paper or parchment, overhanging the sides so that the paper of choice can fold over the pan like tissue inside a gift box. Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, portion out the dough side by side onto the prepared sheet pan; you should be able to fit all the balls onto it comfortably. Fold the sides of the paper over top of your cookie balls, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or as long as a week, but make sure they’re really tightly wrapped.)
Bake the cookies:
When you’re ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line 1 or 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper. You won’t do more than 1 pan at a time, but if you want a faster turnaround, go ahead and prepare 2 so you can switch off.
Remove the cookies 4-6 at a time from the refrigerator and place them at least 3 inches apart on the baking sheet. 6 cookies is max capacity here: any more and they’ll run together, I promise you. Place in the oven and bake for 16-17 minutes, checking at the 15-minute mark for doneness. The cookies will be pale but just cooked in the center and only slightly golden around the edges when finished. Remove them and allow to cool on the sheet pan for at least 15 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
These store well in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or very well in the freezer for up to 1 month.