Last summer we went to New York where I made a special trip to Milk Bar to try some of their famous cookies. Out of the three I bought — Compost, Peanut butter and Cornflake Cookies, my favorite was the Compost Cookie which by now you probably know includes potato chips, pretzels and coffee grounds. Mmmmm, coffee grounds. It was then that I decided Christina Tosi, the pastry chef at Milk Bar, was a genius.
When I got back to Austin, I tried to clone the cookie. The clone was tasty, but not as special as Milk Bar’s. Rather than obsess over cloning a bakery cookie (a problem that always results in wasted money and stomach upset) I resigned myself to the idea that Milk Bar’s C. Tosi had special ovens, different ingredients, and no doubt a few tricks she’d developed and/or learned from Wylie Dufresne and David Chang. I could monkey around with the recipe for weeks and probably never get it right, so I put the cookie out of my mind and moved on.
So I’d forgotten about Milk Bar, then this weekend I got an email from a reader telling me to watch this old video of Milk Bar’s pastry chef making Blueberry-and- Cream Cookies (Martha’s favorite) on the Martha Stewart Show. The recipe had a lot of comments, but reviews were mixed. Some people thought it was too complicated, others complained about the 2 teaspoons of salt (I’m pretty sure they were using very coarse, large Diamond crystal salt) and most people used something other than glucose for the glucose – one of the secret ingredients in the Blueberry Cookie that the Christina Tosi said gave the cookie an interesting mouth feel.
Watching the video and looking at this recipe was an inspiration. It’s really fun to learn about baking techniques that go beyond creaming the butter and sugar and it was generous of Milk Bar share the recipe on Martha Stewart’s website. To show my appreciation, I decided to round up the ingredients (glucose, milk powder, dried blueberries) and make the cookies myself.
They’re different alright. The cookie itself has a milky white chocolate flavor and a creamy but firm center and a crunchy edge. It’s on the sweet side, but I think that might have to do with the dried blueberries I bought which were sweetened and just not very good. The overall texture was fascinating.
Overall it was a fun experiment and I would love to hear about other home bakers’ experience with this recipe. If I had more time and didn’t need to keep the kitchen tidy (we’re in transition), I’d probably get creative with ingredients and play around more. At least I now have some glucose to mess with.
By the way, I found the glucose in the cake decorating aisle at Michael’s craft store. It’s a popular ingredient in the UK where I believe it’s derived from honey, but the kind I bought (Wilton) was derived from corn (of course) and VERY sticky, and much thicker than corn syrup.