cranberry + orange milk crumb cookies (a spin on the momofuku blueberries + cream cookies.)

cranberry + orange milk crumb cookies.

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.

cranberry + orange milk crumb cookies.

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.

cranberry + orange milk crumb cookies.

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.

Adapted from the blueberries + cream cookie, found here on the blog, and originally in The Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook by Christina Tosi.

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.


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  • Reply Emma November 13, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Hey, it’s me, I’m just sitting here thinking about cranberries and orange and how nicely they pair together. Just had my morning scone and it was miiiiighty fiiiiiiine.

    And these – these look even better!

    • Reply Emma November 13, 2013 at 10:55 am

      Why are there no grocery stores out here where I could buy the ingredients for these, NOW?!

      • Reply shannon November 13, 2013 at 11:31 am

        Are you in the woods right now? Of course you are. Does this mean a special trip somewhere for ingredients? worth it. i promise.

        • Reply Emma November 13, 2013 at 12:03 pm

          You silly, I’m not allowed to leave!

          If only this weren’t true…

    • Reply shannon November 13, 2013 at 11:30 am

      I want your scones so badly it hurts, Emma. I bet it was incredibly delicious.

      i don’t know if they’re better, but they’re the dessert to your breakfast, i would say. That’s way more accurate. And yours have bonus cinnamon in them.

  • Reply Deb November 13, 2013 at 11:32 am

    My Momofuku cookbook is languishing on the shelf! You post is a tasty reminder to try a few more of those challenging recipes! And these irresistible Cranberry + Orange Milk Crumb Cookies would be a delicious place of beginning!

    • Reply shannon November 13, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Pull that book out, Deb! I think most of us go through cookbook phases, right? I know i do…this book has been tucked away for far too long while i play with my newer ones, but it’s been fun to get it back out.
      I loved these cookies: i think they’re almost better letting them sit for a day? Something about that lets the flavors develop a bit. A pretty fun holiday/winter cookie, i hope. 🙂

  • Reply Brianne November 13, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Cranberry + orange is my fave! Did I tell Emma that? I can’t remember. Those dang blueberries and cream cookies have been on my to make list for months, but I’ll tell you what: dried blueberries are freaking EIGHT DOLLARS a bag, and I can get like 3 bags of dried cranberries for that price. So…guess what I’m probably doing this weekend? Crossing milk crumb cookies off my life list with these delicious things. Sweet!! You never cease to amaze.

  • Reply shannon November 13, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Dried blueberries are ridiculously expensive, i know! i wanted to create a blueberry granola with them a few months back, but jeez…SO much cost, and i hate doing things knowing that people won’t make it specifically because of that. cranberries remain my go-to fruit for things like that, because of cost.
    oh yay! if you make them, let me know how they go for you; i really liked them. if you want more tangerine flavor, use the zest of two little ones versus one. I liked them subtle, but some people prefer more of a kick. i think you can taste the orange more as the flavors develop post-bake.

  • Reply Jennie @themessybakerblog November 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I just picked up my very first bag of fresh cranberries the other day. I love cranberry and orange together, and can’t think of a better combination for a cookie. These look delicious. And, is that your picture over there on the left? It must be new, because I didn’t notice it on Monday or Tuesday when I was stalking your page (yup, I stalk your page. Guilty). It’s a lovely photo. I love how daring you’re becoming. Cheers, my friend.

    • Reply shannon November 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      i just bought my first two bags yesterday! well, my first two bags for this year, heavy emphasis on “first.” because there will be more.
      ding! you’re the first one to notice it and say something, and i maybe put it up a few hours before you wrote this, so yes: that is me. I had headshots done a few months ago for the Feast blogger spotlight and just never got around to throwing it on here. Or, more honestly, i do not love photos of myself ever, as a rule, but my photographer did a fabulous job, and it should be on here somewhere. if you noticed, i tucked it riiiiiiiiight under where the page normally opens up, so i didn’t have to see it staring at me all the time. i’m getting used to it.
      you may stalk my page anytime; you know that. 🙂

  • Reply Sarah @ The Cook's Life November 13, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Love, love, love orange and cranberry together. Still jonesin’ for cranberry muffins or bread, but once I get those, I will be looking into these cookies.

    I asked for baking supplies a couple of Christmases ago and my parents got me all kinds of dried fruit. A huge bag of Craisins, several containers of dates and a big bag each of dried cherries and blueberries. Well, they were big for dried cherries and blueberries. Check Sam’s for prices. I am now out of my dried fruit bounty, except for the dates. I might have to ask for that again this year.

    And I noticed your glamour shot when I first clicked through to the page. Lovely!

    • Reply shannon November 17, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      i love that you love the combo! I’m into it all the time, but especially when it’s cold: it’s nostalgia and just really good flavors all mixed together.

      your dried fruit stash is awesome! and cherries and blueberries are SO expensive, so any size of those is fun to have. I’ll have to go check it out, because i hate spending tons of money buying the normal size bags for big holiday baking projects. thank you for the tip!

      GLAMOUR SHOT omg. you are TRYING to make me take it down, aren’t you. *blushing*

  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats November 13, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    I’m so happy you made this flavor change! I love fresh blueberries but I could do without blueberry-flavored things, if that makes sense…all I can think of is the flavor of Quaker Blueberries ‘n Cream instant oatmeal and it kind of makes me nauseous. Cranberry/Orange, on the other hand, is one of my most favorite autumn/winter flavor combos (I was telling Emma the same thing when I saw her tasty scones!). And since I still have YET to make a momofuku recipe, despite the fact that I absolutely love their cookies, I will be making these soon for sure 🙂

    • Reply shannon November 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      no: no that doest not make sense. 😉
      i’ll say i feel bad, because the blueberries and cream (or anything and cream) quaker oatmeal tastes like plastic blueberries would. like i always equate Quaker flavors to the scents of the old Strawberry Shortcake dolls when we were kids: that really fake chemical compoundy scent unknown to nature. i’m pretty sure they modeled their oatmeal off of those dolls. i’ll say if you ever DID want to try the blueberry version of the cookies, they really are good. promise.
      don’t emma’s scones look so delicious? I’m making those the first chance i get, because they’ll be a great addition to our holidays this year. You’ve got to try a momofuku recipe soon: in getting out the book again, i realized that there’s lots in there i’ve yet to make, and i need to get on that. speaking of, if you want to have an excuse to make a few quick momofuku things? i have a recipe coming up that i think you may love which involves some momo-components. i think it’ll be not the next one, but maybe the one after that. stay tuned.

  • Reply Faygie November 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I love the blueberries & cream cookies, and this sounds like a great spin on them! I, too, think that cranberry & orange is a perfect pair (I’ll give you one guess as to which flavor buttercream I topped those cranberry cupcakes with the other day 😉 ). And I think it was the Milk Bar cookbook that introduced me to your blog. I thought it was the Pi Pie, but I realized that after I borrowed Milk Bar from the library I did some google searching to see what people (bloggers) thought of the recipes in the book. I’m pretty sure that your blog was one of the ones that popped up, and I continued following your blog because I loved it so much! So it’s all the Milk Bar cookbook’s fault that we’re friends now! 🙂

    • Reply shannon November 17, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      i was HOPING you were making them with the orange buttercream! i was excited when i saw that, since that buttercream recipe was one i’ve been meaning to try (although i was thinking of maybe throwing that and a dark chocolate cake together for a spin on an orangette).
      *as i write down an idea i just had for the top of said cake/cupcake* *thank you* 🙂
      I think you’re right about that: i think it was my plethora of Milk Bar recipes that drew you in, b/c i think your first comment was on one of them. that’s right! i just remember one of our first actual conversations was about your pistachio layer cake, b/c i hadn’t made that one yet. I think i had just done the carrot cake one.
      stuff like that makes me super happy i just make what i want, no matter how weird. I’ve gathered myself such a fantastic group of people. i love that, because i love that we’re friends now, and all because of giant weird cakes. 🙂

  • Reply Mary Rose November 13, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    It’s difficult to imagine an improvement on any Momofuku recipe, but you do a great job! I absolutely love the addition of tangerine rather than plain orange. Like all the other Momofuku recipes you’ve posted, I’ll be trying this one. Thanks again!

    • Reply shannon November 25, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      Thank you, Mary Rose! I don’t know if i’m improving on their recipes, but i’m definitely trying to make them my own, and they’re so much fun to play with, i can hardly help myself. I think the Milk Bar cookbook does such a great job with solid mother recipes that it makes it easy to branch out. You are so welcome! Let me know how it goes. 🙂

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats November 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    So the blueberry and cream cookies were my favorite when I went to the milk bar in NYC…. and my neighbor has a tangelo tree… so, I feel like these are basically inevitable in my home. Even though I have no nostalgia surrounding orange/cranberry combo, it sounds like an amazing combo and I might have to create that scent/flavor tradition in our house … starting this year!

    • Reply shannon November 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      do it! tangelos would be so good in this! and you get to pick them right from a tree? EXTRA FRESHNESS POINTS.
      i’m still a little bit disturbed by your lack of orange-cranberry nostalgia, but i will get over it. scent it up! kick it old school like my mom, who used to get out one of those random tiny crock pots and simmer water with orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and other things in it to scent up the whole house. I can’t TELL YOU how many times we left and came home to find holiday-scented sludge in the bottom of that thing. moral of the story: TURN OFF THE CROCK.

  • Reply john@kitchenriffs November 13, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Lovely combo of flavors! These look like fun – we definitely need to get that cookbook. Thanks.

    • Reply shannon November 17, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      It’s an entertaining cookbook, to be sure; it’s certainly one that will expand both your baking skills and your patience. I highly recommend it, and i like the way it’s built: lots of “mother recipes” and variations on a theme. so, for example, one you master one cookie, you can do any of them with ease.

  • Reply Abbe@This is How I Cook November 13, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    You make me want those crumbs like right now. They are so good. And these are perfect for the holidays. Perfect-just like that photo!

    • Reply shannon November 17, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      thanks, abbe! they’re really fun for the holidays: i like to do twists on classic flavors, and this one is definitely that. i froze most of them in anticipation of my mom’s arrival a week from now. 🙂

  • Reply Ashley November 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Please continue to not leave well enough alone. I am loving the results!!!
    And you’re totally the reason I tried any (and will try more) Momofuku recipes. You made them much, much less daunting and infinitely approachable. I can’t wait to try this one!

    By the way, you’re obviously thinking the same sort of thoughts as Deb P. Did you see those breakfast rolls with cran + orange???

  • Reply movita beaucoup November 16, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Awwwwwwwwww, yah! I would totally stuff these in my teaching bag and munch them whilst inspiring/yelling at my students. Or keep a batch in the car to chew on whilst driving back and forth from work and holiday errands. Or keep some in my bedside table for… well, for just in case.

    Also, I’m headed to NYC in December. I”m thinking I might need to hit the Momofuko Milk Bar…

    • Reply shannon November 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      you know, they’re large, so you could lob them at students like frisbees; it would totally work. they keep well in the car, especially at colder temps like we have now. you’ve really planned this out, and i’m impressed. such good uses for them. SO practical.

      REALLY *squeals* !! please do go…just for me. take a photo. it’s like i can be with you.

  • Reply Monica November 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    I’m intrigued by orange extract. I’m always looking at random extracts and trying to find an excuse to buy them. When it comes to orange, I’ve always held back since the zest alone just gives off so much flavor (I baked something today that totally reminded me of that) but maybe I’m missing out on another layer of flavor. I bet your cookies are chock full of flavor and texture. And I remember the Milk Bar cookbook – checking it out from the library and returning it right back. It was like some science textbook. I’m glad you’re here to break it down…

  • Reply Wendy November 21, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Winter Break is a big mom-and-son baking time at our house. When my son is home from college in the summers he cooks but rarely bakes. It must be the cold weather that makes December time for our bake-a-thon. Last year we tackled (amongst other deliciousness) the Momofuku cornflake chocolate chip cookies. OMG , if they weren’t so involved, we would make them constantly! Time to tackle another Momofuku cookie and your change up of flavors makes these way more appealing than the blueberry. I love cranberry anything. 🙂 I started a new pinterest board, “Winter Break Baking” and this is the first pin. Thanks, Shannon. 🙂

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