Momofuku Milk Bar’s Compost Cookies

I’ve been lucky enough to dine at a few of David Chang’s eateries over the years – Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Milk Bar, and Momofuku Ssam Bar.  All were very memorable experiences in their own way, and I’m excited for Majordomo to open up in LA soon!  I loved the Milk Bar concept and still dream about that cereal milk soft serve.  My sister-in-law loves salty snacks and cookies, so I wanted to make a crowd-pleasing sweet and salty treat that wasn’t the usual Brown Butter Sea-Salted Rice Crispy Treats for the family get-together.  I remembered the Compost Cookie from my first visit to Milk Bar in New York and wanted to recreate it.

I followed the recipe exactly as written the first go around, and I thought the cookies were a bit too sweet for my taste and way too big.  The next time, I used a 1/4 measuring cup to portion out the dough and reduced the time in the oven.  I also used less butterscotch (which I thought overpowered the rest of the cookie a bit) and added pecans.  The original recipe came from an article in the Los Angeles Times if you want to use the original version. I’m sharing the recipe here with my tweaks:

MAKE THE GRAHAM CRACKER MIXTURE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter, more if needed
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  In a medium bowl, toss together the graham cracker crumbs, milk powder, sugar and salt with your hands to evenly distribute.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter and heavy cream. Add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. The butter will act as glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and mix it in with the crust base.
  3. This makes about 2 cups crust base, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. Eat the base, or use as desired in other recipes. Store in an airtight container for up to one week at room temperature, or for one month in the refrigerator or freezer.

MAKE THE COMPOST COOKIES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons glucose or light corn syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mini butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup (1/4 recipe) graham crust
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground coffee
  • 2 cups potato chips
  • 1 cup mini pretzels
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugars and glucose on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for an additional 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute, being careful not to overmix the dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. Still on low speed, add the chocolate and butterscotch chips, the graham crust, oats and coffee and mix just until incorporated, about 15 seconds.

    Add the Sturdy Add-Ins
  4. Add the potato chips, pretzels, and pecans and beat, still on low speed, just until incorporated, being careful not to overmix or break too many of the pretzels or potato chips. I found that giving the stand mixer a “pulse” or two to incorporate the chips and pretzels was enough to incorporate them but not break them up too much. (LA Times says you deserve a pat on the back if one of your cookies bakes with a whole pretzel standing up in the center.)

    Add the Salty Add-Ins
  5. Using a  1/4-cup measure, portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing each portion roughly 4 inches apart.  I fit four per baking sheet after learning from this little disaster:

    When You Try to Cram Too Many on a Baking Sheet
  6. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, up to one week. Do not bake the cookies while at room temperature because they will not bake up properly.

    I used a 1/4 Measuring Cup
  7. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  8. Bake the cookies, one tray at a time on the center rack, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating the cookies halfway through baking for even cooking. The cookies will puff, crackle and spread while baking, and should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if needed.
  9. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage. At room temperature, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; frozen, they will keep for up to 1 month.

NOTE:  If you plan on freezing the extra dough, portion out the dough before freezing it or it will be very difficult to scoop into the measuring cups later.  Once the dough is cold, it really is hard to deal with!

Momofuku Compost Cookies
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Pistachio Macarons

Leslie and I went through a serious macaron obsession in the early 2010’s (is that what you call that decade?).  I mean – a SERIOUS obsession.  I’ve had them from just about everywhere in LA, several places in New York, and even hot off a plane from Ladurée in Paris.  I took a couple of classes to learn how to make them, since these are not for the weary at heart.  They are a lot of work!

Fortunately, Leslie shared my fondness and my wedding gift to her and Tri was a couples cooking class to learn how to make these as well.  She invited me over to help give these a whirl at her house, and I have to say – it was a lot easier making these with a partner than by myself.  We made these about 3.5 years ago, so this post is a wee bit overdue.

Pistachio Macarons
Pistachio Macarons

Here is the recipe Leslie found as adapted from All Recipes!  Because there is so little room for error in the chemistry of macarons, you should definitely use a kitchen scale to measure out your ingredients.  Weights are included in the ingredient list below:

INGREDIENTS:

Macaron Cookie

  • 1 1/4 cups (220g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (125g) almond meal
  • 100g egg whites
  • 1/4 cup (60g) caster sugar
  • 20 drops green food coloring (optional)
  • 30g unsalted blanched pistachios, ground

Pistachio Ganache

  • 40g caster sugar
  • 40g unsalted blanched pistachios, ground
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100ml heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 20g butter, softened
  • 5 drops black food coloring (optional)

NOTE: You can grind the pistachios in a food processor, but just pulse a few times until you get the desired consistency.  Don’t overdo it or you’ll end up with pistachio “butter”.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. MACARONS: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the pistachios and almond meal then sift in the powdered sugar.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff then add one tablespoon of sugar. Continue to whisk then add the remaining sugar while whisking on high speed.  I recommend using a stand mixer, as long as the whisk attachment and bowl are completely clean and dry.

    Stiff Peaks!
    Stiff Peaks!
  4. Carefully stir the almond mixture into the egg white and gently fold with a spatula.  This is where having a partner really came in handy! Add the green food coloring (optional).

    Gently Fold!
    Gently Fold!
  5. Put the mixture into a pastry bag with a round nozzle. Pipe 2″ mounds onto the prepared baking tray ensuring there is about 1.5″ of space between each.

    Quickly Pipe 2" Mounds
    Quickly Pipe 2″ Mounds
  6. Tap the tray on a table or a work surface to remove any air bubbles and set the macarons aside for 30 minutes, which will allow a crust to form on the macarons. Leslie ground some extra pistachios to sprinkle on top of some of the macarons as an embellishment before we let them sit.  Bake in the preheated oven for 14 minutes.

    Panache Before the Ganache
    Panache Before the Ganache
  7. To see if your macarons are ready press lightly on top.  If they are still soft and moving, then they are not cooked through yet.
  8. PISTACHIO GANACHE: Mix the sugar with the pistachios.
  9. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat then add the pistachios and vanilla. Bring to the boil then add the eggs and cook keeping a 185 degrees F, if you have a candy thermometer.  If you don’t, just keep a close eye on it so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.
  10. Remove from heat, stir in the softened butter and food coloring then refrigerate.

    Ganache - After
    Ganache – After
  11. ASSEMBLY: Peel the parchment paper off of the cookie (instead of the other way around). Take one macaron and spread the pistachio ganache on the flat part with a butter knife then “twist on” a second macaron on the ganache.  Think of it as the opposite of twisting apart an Oreo.  Repeat until no macarons are left.

    Peel Parchment Off of Cookie
    Peel Parchment Off of Cookie
  12. If you somehow manage not to eat all of them immediately after, you can refrigerate these in an airtight container for up to three days.  Just let them come to room temp again before you indulge.

We were so proud of ourselves for the way these turned out.  Delish!!!

D*ck Cookies (Brownie Roll-Out Cookies and Basic Sugar Cookies)

Yes ladies and gentlemen. You read that right. D*ck cookies. I tried to think of a less crude, less NSFW, cuter name to call them.  But there’s no getting around it.  I made d*ck cookies. And I made them twice.  You now can freely lower your expectations for the content on this blog.  As cutesy and wholesome as my last post was, this next one is not going to be pretty.

One of the societal rites of passage for men is the coveted bachelor party.  It’s the infamous night (or even a weekend) whereby guys, scared shitless by the prospect of dedicating the rest of their life to a girl (a girl that they picked in most cases), give themselves free reign to consume near-fatal amounts of tequila and will actually pay money for a nude stranger to give them a boner in the presence of their closest guy friends.  For women, the bachelorette party often constitutes much of the same in the way of drinking, but activities with a nude stranger are often replaced by lots of giggling at fake penises (penii? …no, I’m pretty sure it’s penises).

I don’t think I’ll ever understand the obsession with penis decorations at bachelorette parties, but I’ve been coerced into making d*ck cookies two summers in a row for such events.  Shirley purchased d*ck cookie cutters last summer for Leslie’s bachelorette, which I used to make chocolate brownie cookies using a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Refridgerated Dough and... Cookie Cutters
Refrigerated Dough and… Cookie Cutters

They actually turned out to be quite delicious.  While I would like to think I’m not so superficial as to think less of a dessert just because it looks like a big chocolate… you know, I just couldn’t bring myself to eat as many cookies as I wanted to.

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 C lightly salted butter, softened (I used one stick salted, one stick unsalted)
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.
  3. Roll out cookie dough on a floured surface. Cut into desired shapes, brushing the extra flour off the top (it disappears once baked).

    Yup. This Happened.
    Yup. This Happened.
  4. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffy.
  5. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Hearts make it all less naughty, right?
Hearts make it all less naughty, right?

Knowing how enthusiastic Shirley was about all the penis decor at Leslie’s bachelorette, I broke out the d*ck cutters again. This timing using Martha Stewart’s Basic Sugar Cookie recipe and adding some red food coloring to make them pink.  The bridesmaids unanimously voted that more of a “fleshy” color would be appropriate.

Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe:
Ingredients:

  • 2 C all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Cgranulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional food coloring (I used 4-5 drops of red food coloring to get this shade of pink)

Directions:

  1. In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic; freeze until firm, at least 20 minutes.

    And it happened again...
    And it happened again…
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. Remove one dough disk; let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Roll out 1/8 inch thick between two sheets of floured parchment, dusting dough with flour as needed. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Using a spatula, transfer to prepared baking sheets. (If dough gets soft, chill 10 minutes.) Re-roll scraps; cut shapes. Repeat with remaining dough.
  3. Bake, rotating halfway through, until edges are golden, 10 to 18 minutes (depending on size). Cool completely on wire racks.
For Shame...
For Shame…

Since these were standard sugar cookies, I rolled them out at 1/8″ (per the recipe).  However, seeing as how those little peckers bubbled up a little bit (probably due to re-kneading after the first cut), I would probably roll them out somewhere between 1/8″ and 1/4″ next time and really knead them more.  I didn’t have that problem with the brownie roll out cookies – probably due to the less delicate texture of those.

Shower Favors – Potato Chip Cookies

Shirley wanted a sweet-and-salty dessert for her bridal shower favors last month, so I made a couple batches of the Potato Chip Cookies that I had brought to her Super Bowl party back in February.  I made all the cookies the night before, and dipped them so the chocolate and crushed potato chips would have time to set overnight.

Potato Chip Cookies
Potato Chip Cookies

I got the kraft boxes and pink bakers twine from good ol’ Paper Mart, and lined each box with parchment paper so that no grease stains would show through the box.

Shower Favors - Potato Chip Cookies
Shower Favors – Potato Chip Cookies

Joanne created really cute tags for the boxes, and I assembled everything the morning of.

Ready for the Shower!
Ready for the Shower!

Happy Shower, Shirley!

Happy Shower, Shirley!
Happy Shower, Shirley!

Martha Stewart’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Twist

I’m several months backlogged on posts (literally still trying to catch up on Christmas baking), but here’s a little something from February…

I’ve never been a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies.  I’ve made them before, but they’re always too sweet for my taste, and they tend to be redundant after a while.  Feeling intrigued by the “Ad Hoc at Home” Chocolate Chip Cookies I made last December in Seattle which used two kinds of dark chocolate, I decided to give it a go again with my own taste buds in mind.

I like cookies the same way I like brownies – slightly crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle.  I found a recipe for Martha Stewart’s “Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies”, and decided to give it a whirl for Valentine’s Day.  I added a wee bit more salt than what Martha’s recipe called for, and also added a cup of pecans which complimented the chocolate and cookie dough nicely.  I also used two different levels of dark chocolate, rather than the combo of milk and dark that Martha recommended.

Here’s my take on Martha’s recipe:

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (53% dark)
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (65% dark or higher)
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

1.  In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high until light and fluffy, 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Mix in dry mixture just until incorporated; fold in chocolate chips and pecans.

Cookie Dough
Cookie Dough

3.  Drop dough onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in 2 rounded tablespoons, leaving 2 inches around each cookie (trust me – they will spread). Refrigerate 1 hour – this is necessary for the chewy outcome of the cookies!

Ready for the Oven
Ready for the Oven

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Bake until the edges are light golden brown, 17 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Martha Stewart's Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Twist
Martha Stewart’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Twist

This is definitely my new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I love the crispy outside and chewy center, with the rich dark chocolate chips.  It’s definitely not too sweet, but not bitter at all since it still uses relatively low levels of dark chocolate.

MS Cake Stand Showcasing My MS Choc Chip Cookies!

Thank you again, Melo, for my cake stand!